Saturday, September 29, 2007

Why does racial bigotry continue in America?

Friday I was walking with an office-mate from India, and she asked me a question that I could not answer. She says that in parts of the country she can walk into a store or restaurant and they ignore her or say that the store or restaurant is closed or otherwise make it clear that people of her color (about the same color as the typical Mexican) are not welcome there. Sometimes when she talks to them and they realize that she's not Mexican they'll serve her, but her question is, given that the state religion of the United States is commerce and the God worshipped by people in the United States is the Almighty Dollar, why would anybody turn down the chance to make money off of her just because of her skin color?

I threw out some speculations -- maybe they're scared of brown people (I pointed out that our television shows, which are what tells most Americans what they're supposed to think and feel, invariably demonize dark-skinned people as criminals or evil people), for example -- but by and by, I just had to throw up my hands and say, "I don't know!". I mean, it's not as if she's asking to marry their sons or anything. She just wants to buy a soda or get a meal. Why would they turn down her money just because of her skin color?


-- Badtux the Puzzled Penguin
[Cross-posted at the Medley]

1 comment:

  1. tux, i certainly don't know either. what i do know is that it runs deep here. even with 30,000 people in the streets of jena protesting the conviction as an adult of a black kid by an all white jury, white prosecutor, white judge in a town that's over half black the prosecutor writes in the new york times that there were no legal steps he could take against the white kids that provoked the whole thing by having a "white tree" at their school that they defended by hanging nooses. one of the things that disturbs me about moving back home to arizona is to experience the segregation that is here. i moved back from califonia where there is a decent job of mixing. yeah, l.a. has its enclaves and stuff but for the most part you can go where you wish with whom you want to be with. being a white looking guy who speaks spanish won't make latinos nervous in l.a. like it does in arizona (probably the only white folks they've encountered who speak spanish are immigration and cops).

    i spent the day yesterday with an african american man who is married to a vietnamese woman and their two daughters. the daughters had a big moment when they saw the family pictures i have, my irish da and my apache mother. they remarked about it and i told them that my dad was an immigrant from ireland and that my mother was born right here in arizona. they chewed on that for a bit and i told them that i figured it made me about as american as you can get. then i said "just like you."

    i don't know what to do about the race thing except to not fall into it myself. i tell people that i am mixed race, my children are mixed race, their children are mixed race and we are merrily fucking those assholes into irrelevance.


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