So I'm in Brooklyn, on a block where all the shop signs are in Polish, almost everybody speaks Polish and--for the most part--kinda looks Polish. And I'm hanging with a married couple who've recently moved here. She's American and, like most Americans, she's got ancestors from every corner of the planet. And he's English, so he's a total mongrel too. And they both have very have very pale pink skin. Kinda like me. And John McCain. And all the thousands of Polish-American folk who also live in this area.
"When we first moved here," says the husband, "we had a Mexican guy say to us: 'You're the first white people to move into this block for ages.'"
Bad-um tish. Welcome to post-racial America, where we keep being told that in just a few short years people white people will be in the minority. And no wonder if entire immigrant groups like the Poles have defected to the other side.
The only solution of course, is to make Latinos white--same as we did the Jews and the Irish. I actually made that suggestion to an American friend yesterday.
He frowned and said--"Yes, but they're not white."
Which is odd, when you consider that many Latinos are so very pale pink they could work as extras in a Viking movie. And that many of those with darker skins are no darker than a lot of the "white" folks you'll find in Southern Europe.
Race is a joke. Just not a very funny one. I give you The Whitest Kids U'Know and Stuff White People Like and all the endless soul-raping stand-up comedy routines about the difference between white people and black people. The trouble with almost all racial humor in America is that it's actually about class--but the people who are making the joke are too stupid to realize it.
Which brings us to the best joke about race told in America in 2008. I'm talking about John McCain's concession speech.
Delivered to a baying mob of very pale pink skinned pigs, McCain's speech has been universally hailed as the very model of grace and reconciliation, especially when one considers that the entire Republican electoral machine spent the last few weeks of the campaign hammering the race button like rabid hyperactive Nazi lab chimps on crack.
And for sure there was a whole load of feel-good blather in the speech about how wonderful and historic Obama's election was. But there was also this line:
"Let there be no reason now--let there be no reason now for any American to fail to cherish their citizenship in this, the greatest nation on Earth."
Did you get that, poor people in America? All you fucked over wage-slaves? All you bottom-of-the-pile losers desperately scrabbling just to put food on the table? All of you who live in the really shitty, dangerous, run-down, neglected parts of town where--well fuck me but that's an amazing coincidence--everybody else just happens to be black as well?
Did you hear what John McCain said? Did you get the message? If not, here it is again--in slow motion this time:
"Happy Xmas. Class war is over. Peace out. Now shut the fuck up complaining. If you are poor, if you live in a shit hole, if you are without health insurance, if you work every goddamn hour God sends at two maybe three jobs and still hardly make enough money to make rent--the election of Obama proves once and for all that it's all your own goddamn fault."
Are you listening poor white people? Are you listening poor black people? You must not fail to cherish your Americanishness. By, I dunno, maybe suggesting that the rich should stop ass-raping the not-very-rich. Or that maybe everybody should have free-ish health care, same as in every other goddamned advanced industrial nation on the planet. Or that we could make this very wonderful country even more very wonderfuler by introducing (off the top of my head) fairer labor laws, equal rights for gay Americans, a living minimum wage, a massively better-funded and federally controlled public school system and--ooh let's see--a decent public transport system, a green tax on gas, a ban on torture, paid maternity and paternity leave and the same amount of vacation time as the workers in every other goddamned advanced industrial nation on the planet get.
Wanting any of these things makes you a BAD AMERICAN. Actually asking for any of these things makes you A NON-AMERICA CHERISHER. Actually campaigning for them makes you A COMMUNISS.
You gotta love the modern Republican Party. They've been on the wrong side of every single issue in modern American political history: civil rights, the environment, reproductive rights, workers' rights, women's rights and now gay marriage. And the lesson they learn from the election of the first non-very-pale-pink-skinned president in American history?
That everybody who currently struggles to make America a better, more moral, liberal, enlightened and progressive place, should shut their pie-hole and instead concentrate full time on how utterly spiffing it is to be part of the big cuddly ball of glowing wonderfulness that is America--the bestest, sweetest, nicest and most Americanest country in the whole belongs-to-us-anyway wide world.