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Race Relations in Seattle

So I’m waiting for my ride at 5th and Jackson, when my bus driver friend Gary (older black gentleman, very nice, but very formal) drives up in the #14. A lady with tattoos on her face staggers towards the bus as I’m talking to him, so I step back to let her on, rolling my eyes to let Gary know he’s got a real winner coming on board. She’s just trashed, and being Caucasian, I guess that makes her White Trash (in this part of town, it’s probably 50/50 odds the inebriated person is black or white. The Asians are rarely wasted, or they never show it, and I won’t even mention the Native Americans).

Anyway, after the drunk Caucasian lady stumbles past Gary, he looks at me and says, “That’s one of your people, Finnegan.” Then he closes the door and drives on up Jackson.

Maybe you’d need to know Gary, but it was funny as hell.

Now, if our roles were reversed, could I say the same thing, and would it be funny? Obviously no, and I think it could be justifiably considered a racist comment. Doesn’t that mean that Gary’s comment is racist as well? What’s fair (or unfair) for someone on the basis of race must be fair or unfair for someone of a different race, right?

Only if you’re an idiot. The manner in which people of different races, especially blacks and whites, view one another has a long history in this country, and ignoring it, or trying to ignore it, turns us into fools. People are different. We treat different people differently, and that’s just the way it is.

No, it doesn’t mean racism is a laughing matter. Neither, in most or at least many circumstances, are drunkenness and tattooed faces. And I’m not sure how well this story would play in front of a crowd, told by a comedian. In fact, this seems like a pretty good illustration of the difference between what’s funny for professional comedians, and what it means to have a sense of humor in the midst of whatever life happens to throw at you. The former can be enjoyable, but the latter is necessary so that life doesn’t become unbearable.

Comments

  1. Big Jon Bully says:

    I agree, which is why I’ve never had a problem with black people using the N-word. The words “only an idiot” could be used about so much these days that maybe the issue isn’t race (or whatever), but the plethora of idiots. Our poor kids! Great post!

    A real winner, eh? As they say, you get paid minimum wage to drive the bus, the rest is for driving the people.

    Soylent Green is made our of people, precious as they are.

  2. Big Jon Bully says:

    More proof of B.I.N.D. (blogging is not dead!).

  3. Big Jon Bully says:

    BIND the Facebook devil!

  4. Big Jon Bully says:

    For example, “only an idiot” could believe that climate change causes terrorism. Only a fool thinks that human nature is perfectible by economic redistribution and political control.

  5. Walker Percy said that slavery was America’s original sin (or maybe it was Flannery O’Connor (or maybe it was Faulkner (or maybe it was Tocqueville (or maybe it was…))))….

    But my judgment will not come down to how much I paid into the NAACP’s coffers – but how much I looked at all men as Christ in his infinite disguises…

    I can imagine saying such a thing to a black man as Gary said to Quin, if I knew the black man better and he knew me better than our politics knew either of us.

    Still, I don’t think Gary owes me anything and I certainly don’t owe him anything – except Christian charity. But we are no longer a Christian nation, if we ever were. So in an attempt to buck the whole liberal secular crapshoot, I try to deal with individuals as individuals (or more perfectly as members of families) not as a member of a “race.”

    But when the “race” hustlers – including the one currently taking up space and air in the Oval Office – indict white folk for what some of our ancestors did to some of their ancestors, I tend to get that glazed faraway look in my eye and wonder if anyone has attempted to extort money from the African chieftains who helped the slavers round up their quarry…

    No, these days, dividing the world into black and white leaves me grey.

    And this way leads to the whole reparations bullshit.

    Infinite regress, anyone?

    Someone will be looking to pay out to the dinosaurs before too long…

    Maybe that’s why gas prices have been so low lately.

    JOB

  6. Big Jon Bully says:

    The hustlers have a funny way of extorting people who will pay, you don’t see them showing up at a JOB’s house for some reason.

    That’s because they’re pathetic cowards who play a rigged game. Thanks, JOB.

    Yeah, after Obama, I don’t cut extra slack to anyone, Christian charity and basic respect is enough for me and should be enough for the other guy as well.

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