Monday, March 28, 2011


According to the San Jose Murky News, the zip code I live in is one of the most diverse in the Silicon Valley -- if you pick any two random people, there's an 80% chance they'll be of different ethnicity.

Last weekend one of my neighbors had a birthday party for her daughter, complete with one of those bouncy thingies in the driveway. The party guests were white, Hispanic, Indian/West Asian, and East Asian. My neighbor (and her kids) is Chinese. Her next door neighbor on the other side is Hispanic. The neighbors between them and me is white. My next door neighbor on the other side is Hispanic. And nobody thinks anything of it. Because this is Santa Clara, CA, a sleepy suburban city of about 110,000 people where the entire murder rate in 2009 consisted of one laid-off Indian tech worker going nuts and killing his entire extended family and then himself (yep, every single murder that happened in the city that year was that one single event). My particular street is a bit downscale, but what that means is that the people on my street are mostly the book-keepers and salesmen rather than the tech workers. We ain't talking ghetto gang-bangers by any means.

But mention the fact that you live in a multi-ethnic community to someone in the so-called "Heartland", and what's the first thing they do? Why, they counsel you that you should move to a safer neighborhood! Uhm, excuse me? Unless I happen to marry a crazed laid-off Indian tech worker, somehow I can't think of any safer place to live :). But these self-proclaimed "small government libertarians" simply cannot conceive of any possibility that brown people aren't evil vicious beings out to kill all white people. It just doesn't fit into their neat little culture of perceived victimization where "they" (anybody not a tighty rightie whitie) are out to "get" those poor victimized tighty rightie whities...

So it goes. And the tighty rightie whities will swear up and down that they're not racists. But if that's true, why aren't any of them living on my street?

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin


  1. Boy, nothing gets you attacked as a racist these days like calling out racism. They bus Righties in from other sites to attack you when you point out racism, then attack all future posts that even hint of racial awareness.

    Here's a result of mine, from a Righty blog. 2nd comment:

    They are both trying to own the word racism, and destroy its meaning.

  2. It is agonizingly slow, but across the generations, we are making progress.

    My granddaughter Alexa is centered in the picture you can find here.


  3. I think I told you about the relative from the "heartland" who came here and we were walking in a neighborhood of San Francisco where the homes are all $1M+ and he was freaking out because all the people walking on the street were brown-skinned. "Let's get out of here, this is a bad neighborhood!" he told me. I looked at him like he was crazy and said "You gotta be kidding, every person here on this street makes more money in a month than you make in a year, they probably think *you* are the criminal, acting all shifty like you're going to mug them." Didn't reassure him though, because in the Republican "heartland", "brown" = "criminal". I was afraid he was gonna have a panic attack and stroke out right there in the middle of one of San Francisco's most exclusive neighborhoods... because Fox News tells him every day that brown people want to kill him and take everything he has, and of course he believes them because how would he know any different? After all, the only brown people in his area live in shotgun houses in the slum. Or with his daughter-in-law as the father of her children, but hey, that's different, because that's a brown person he knows personally as a "good n*****", somehow he manages to keep the two notions ("brown people bad", "daughter-in-law's husband good") together in the same head without the two ever rubbing together. Odd, hmm?

    - Badtux the Baffled Penguin

  4. Because fear stops them of course, lol. Mixed neighborhoods are wonderful if they can get over that bit. And then they realize that the only color that matters in the burbs is green.

  5. Idiots live everywhere and I don't think it is honest nor proper for you to generalize all of us who live in the MidWest just 'cause some of your own relatives are racist pigs.

  6. So, Purple, if you walk out your door and see a random neighbor mowing his lawn, what is the chance of him being a different ethnicity from you? It's 80% here in my neighborhood. What about in your neighborhood?

    - Badtux the Questioning Penguin

  7. Or with his daughter-in-law as the father of her children,

    That's why I say the change is across generations, and the hope is with the kids.

    Most people, beyond some age (12? 18? 5?) become ossified and unreachable. Pretty sad.


  8. Since we're all different & unique snowflakes, I'd say there would be a 100% chance my neighbor ain't the same as moi...or as you.

    How many times have you visited the MidWest that wasn't a family trip? 'cause it sounds like you're projecting your own relatives beleif's on everyone else in the region. Despite what you (and Limbaugh) keep claiming, not everyone in Madison WI thinks alike...

  9. In other words, he'd be a white guy like you. Because the coloreds live in colored town.

    But you're not racist. Why, your sister-in-law's husband is black, even. Or something like that. You choose to live in a segregated neighborhood because, well, because that's what's done, yo. Because neighborhoods with lots of coloreds in them are bad neighborhoods, everybody knows that, right?

    - Badtux the Snarky Penguin

  10. It's not racist to live in a white neighborhood, but if you are racist, you do.

    A large part of this issue is that the heartland has not caught up with the coasts in terms of non-white immigration. That is changing really fast. Change is scary for some people who see color before they see people. Sad, really.

    Michelle Bachmann's district is 98 percent white. This is not because her district is racist, it's because it's in northern Minnesota. Her district has racism because they have not enjoyed a diverse population...yet.

  11. You assume that the neighbor mowing the lawn is a guy?! Sounds like something a sexist pig would say.

    Like I just said, my neighbors come in all colors and types. (Shall we compare how many LGBT's are in our two neighborhoods? If there are less in yours, does that prove you are "homophobic"?). I mean, you're talking to a guy whose roommate runs a recording studio out of the home, specializing in hip-hop, jazz and assured it ain't just "white folks" who enter my doorway.

    Honestly, you need to stop assuming that everyone in the Heartland is the same as your relatives. Your generalizations & stereotyping are just as offensive as theirs are...

  12. And how many black families do you think you'd run into if you lived in the North End of Boston? The small South Carolina town we lived in before we moved to Mass was much more racially diverse than any suburb of Boston, where the guy mowing the lawn might have brown skin, but he's going to hop into a truck and drive home to his 3-story walk up in Jamaica Plain at the end of the day.

    I'm with the purplepenguin - idiots live everywhere, even on the oh-so enlightened coasts.

  13. It's the white people who are evil vicious beings out to kill all not-white people.

    They all look alike to me.

    (Het Tux, been awhile)

  14. You hit it on the head. FNC has no qualms about running blacks-and-browns-want-to-kill-white-people stories. It's disgusting, and completely political.

    I lived most of my life in the Midwest. As an undergrad I was treated to the occassional question of "What sport do you play" by parents. Some clueless people wouldn't even flinch at the question, and sometimes I'd see other people around me squirming. When I told them I was there on an Engineering scholarship, you could see the confusion on their faces. That didn't compute for some people.

    Even years later, it's sad that some white people cannot accept the idea that there are minorities (in particular Blacks) that are as talented and successful as them. Can't accept that all black folks don't fit the hoodrat stereotype they expect.

    When I worked at another midwestern university, people would sometimes meet my wife and when they found out what I did, they'd assume I was a white guy married to a black woman. Than they'd meet me. Again, some people were surprised and others didn't bat an eye.

  15. I don't know you'd agree that Illinois is in the midwest (depends on who you talk to), but my neighborhood is very diverse. On my street we have a young, newly married white couple, an elderly couple of female partners, a professional tattoo artist and his exotic dancer wife, a widower, a long married black couple, two unmarried black women and their children, my husband and I, an Iranian family, a Mexican family, and a pair of men who share the last house. We have two block picnics each year, the kids all attend each others' parties, and the adults regularly get together just to gab.

    It's a nice lower middle class neighborhood. I suspect you can find them everywhere, but the emphasis is always on the people who want to divide us.

  16. Living in the upper Midwest, I can't say that I live in a terribly diverse neighborhood (or state for that matter), and god knows there's no shortage of racists and bigots here.

    That said, I find your broad-brush characterization to be unwarranted, and the knee-jerk characterization of purplepenquin as a racist to be, well...ignorant.

    I'm glad that your neighborhood has people from a broad array of backgrounds. That's a good thing. What isn't good is you acting like you deserve a cookie for it or something.

  17. I have been amused by a number of the responses here, including those crying, "I'm not a racist!". As I pointed out, my relative doesn't consider himself a racist either. How could he? After all, he has a black son-in-law and half-black grandkids!

    But be honest: If I tell you that I live in a black neighborhood, how many of you will assume that there's drug deals going down on the street, boarded up crack houses, drive-by shootings, and all that?

    And when I told you that the entire murder rate for 2009 for this majority-minority city of 110,000 consisted of one single event where a deranged Indian tech worker killed his family, his extended family, and himself, how many of you were surprised?

    -- Badtux the Questioning Penguin

  18. I suppose it is a bit much to ask you to respond to the substance of our criticisms, rather than with the ad hominem attacks.

  19. And it would be nice if you'd respond to my actual point, rather than to some notion that I'm calling you a racist because the first thing that comes to your mind if I say I'm living in a majority-black neighborhood is that there must be crack deals going down on the street corner. After all, your cousin is married to a black man and he's at your house regularly. You couldn't be racist, right?

    My point, BTW, is that most folks who live in the "heartland" live in mostly-white communities and see mostly-minority communities only on episodes of "Cops", and therefore think all minority communities are hellholes of drugs and crime. They're told by Faux News and by the media as a whole that all blacks that they don't *personally* know are criminals. So even if they do have black friends and black grandchildren even, if a strange black man is walking down their street, they observe him carefully to make sure he doesn't break into someone's house or rape someone or somethin'.... and a diverse community where lots of strange black men are walking the streets sends them into total paranoid breakdown, because Faux News tells'em that these black men are going to mug them and rape them *any moment now*.

    - Badtux the "You're missing my point" Penguin

  20. BT
    Hate to put a damper on it but I live in CA once again after 11 yrs in Columbus OH. I live near the coast and rarely see a black person. Plenty of Hispanic looking. But the dialects that I hear are from around the world. OK that's CA. But in OH sitting in the gym locker room I could hear 4 different languages besides american and spanish. Out of about 10 people. My neighbors were a more diverse group than what I see in CA. Now I agree that in the rural parts of OH the vast majority were white, with very little foreign languages heard. But much of the heartland is not near as whitebread as you make it sound.
    On the other hand if all you listen to is Faux news then you probably think that everyone you don't know is an axe murderer/rapist. And that doesn't matter where you live.


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