Ahh, race. That shifty concept has done nothing helpful since it came about. It's a remnant, you see, of our tribal mentalities, from when we were Huns and Slavs and Jews and stop me if you get the point.
We all know how prevalent the concept of race is in society. From murder to slavery to civil rights to census polls to nondiscrimination laws to presidential candidate, we still cling to the concept of race as if it's somehow important. I realize that probably sounds arrogant and snide from a "middle-class white boy," but you don't know me. Not really. So let me tell you a story.
When I attended UVM I had to take a new required class that year on racism. On the very first day of class, the professor came in, put his bag on his desk, said hello to us all, and then said, and I quote, "All of you white people are racist." True story, and by the definition of racism he proceeded to give us, he was correct. He defined racism as prejudice + power. Black people, therefore, could not be racist, because the power in the United States is held primarily by white people, and has been, historically. Other races could be prejudiced, but only white people, you see, could be called racist.
So, seeing completely red at this, I raised my hand. "Professor," I said, "Why are you judging me on the color of my skin?"
He started to explain about the "prejudice + power" concept again and I stopped him.
"No, sir, you misunderstand me. Why do you insist that I am white?"
Don't think that didn't get his attention.
"My grandmother was born on a Reservation. While I'm half french, I'm Iroquois, too, and a little Spanish as well." (I'm also a little English and Irish, FYI.) "My grandmother told me stories of what she remembered of the Reservation, and how her birth certificate was marked white on purpose, because 'you tried to hide it back then.' I've never even considered myself as "white." I don't have a single race."
"Also," I said, pointing to my friend Jenny to my right, "Jenny is a mutt like me, as are a couple of the other "white" people you just pointed to. Now I grew up consistently told that race wasn't something you used against other people, and if you think that just because you can see my skin and call me white that you can call me racist, you can fail me right now. That's the power you have."
That was the first and only time I ever stopped a professor in his tracks. And I got an A+ in that class, too.
The point, I guess, is that we all bleed red and our brains are grey. We breathe the same air and fart the same noxious bean farts. Some of your ancestors were in warmer climates or colder climates or more fertile climates or whatever. And now that we all live together, if we can make it long enough without killing each other, we're going to become more and more homogenous over the next few centuries. What the hell do are we doing still fighting about race?
So it was that when I read of "the race card" once again today, I had to hang my head in shame. Like two old biddies gossiping about each other in the nursing home, they both go negative, one candidate bringing up race without bringing up race, the other bringing up race by being the first in this round to actually utter the word "race."
Doesn't that strike you as really, really stupid? With a war going on, economic downturn, banking crises, etc, etc, etc? And we're supposed to vote for these people?