Welcome to Post-Racial America

By Steven Wells
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 13 | Posted Feb. 27, 2009

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What? There's a connection between food and sex? (From the Food Network.)

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.

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COMMENTS

Comments 1 - 13 of 13
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1. kyree said... on Jan 20, 2009 at 12:26PM

“good article”

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2. The Guardian Sucks said... on Jan 20, 2009 at 06:23PM

“We introduced the minimum wage in 1938. Britain introduced theirs in 1999. For the math impaired, that's a 61-year spread in the area of progressive labor rights. Score one for the Septics! What else? Oh right, you mention torture. You mention torture a lot. Coming from an Englishman, that's kinda funny. I'm going to be polite here and not even mention your television shows, which are total shit, and focus on torture of another kind. Ever hear of Long Kesh? I bet not. A lot of English torture went on at Long Kesh, Mr. Wells. Hooding, sensory deprivation, starvation. Detainment without charge. And a lot of other unmentionable shit that has since fallen into the memory hole. So really, you should probably shut your gob about that subject. Another thing. Black Americans have a higher standard of living than blacks anywhere else on the planet. Yeah I know. That's racist. Disgustingly racist. 'Cause we're all the same. Which is why you, Steven Wells, have decided to live in North Philly. And send your kids, if you have any, to North Philly public schools. 'Cause we're all exactly the same. Right? Not even black people believe that rubbish. Oh and one other thing. Richard Nixon, a Republican (I think), signed legislation creating OSHA and the Endangered Species Act, the latter described by some as the most important environmental law in American history. Of course you can't be expected to do your homework and actually know shit about the country in which you currently live and write about. 'Cause you work for the Guardian and know everything you need to know about Septic land. Isn't that right?”

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3. the Steven Wells said... on Jan 20, 2009 at 08:32PM

“Yo Guardian, How was today for you?”

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4. The Guardian Sucks said... on Jan 21, 2009 at 01:39PM

“Ha. I forgot to mention sumfin. Seems our new Prez doesn't like the English very much. (Come closer, Barack, and whisper sweet nothings into my ear.) In fact, the Limeys tortured Obama's grandfather back in Kenya. Now that would fucking piss me off. Wouldn't it piss you off Wells? According to the Times of London, Obama's granddad "said they (the British) would sometimes squeeze his testicles with parallel metallic rods. They also pierced his nails and buttocks with a sharp pin, with his hands and legs tied together with his head facing down." Those British. So creative in the field of torture. I can see why you keep writing about how we need to be more like them. We're like soooooo far behind you in the "information extraction" business. Anyway here's Obama on the English: "ill-dressed, pasty-faced, and racially arrogant; cramped, spotty, and joyless." You know, I like this guy more every day. Don't you Wells?”

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5. Steven Wells said... on Jan 21, 2009 at 03:13PM

“Oh yes indeedy. But do you have a point?”

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6. The Guardian Sucks said... on Jan 21, 2009 at 04:42PM

“Not exactly, aside from reminiscing about when England Was Truly Great. But hey, maybe--just maybe--the Limeys could compensate Obama's family for putting Granddad's nutsack in a vice and squeezing hard. Or maybe Barack could find the British prick who performed this handiwork and put him in charge of our new and improved healthcare system. I'm sure he wouldn't mind squeezing concessions out of doctors and drugmakers.”

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7. the Steven Wells said... on Jan 21, 2009 at 06:14PM

“So you actually have no point?”

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8. The Guardian Sucks said... on Jan 21, 2009 at 07:55PM

“Of course there's a point--that the British are in no ethical position to judge others. That's ALWAYS the point. Are you too thick to get it?”

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9. the Steven Wells said... on Jan 22, 2009 at 08:10AM

“How very interesting. You should start a website. So no person you define as British is allowed to have an opinion about anything? Does this mean you dismiss all of the writings and statements of all the founding fathers, most of whom self-defined as English and/or British? And Ii thought you only obsessed about the English? Not the Scots, Northern Irish or Welsh. Could you define your terms please? You appear to be wandering all over the place, One last thing: How do you feel about Christopher Hitchens, now a US citizen. Is he in an ethical position to judge others, despite being born in Britain? Did he achieve that position the moment he achieved US citizenship?”

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10. The Guardian Sucks said... on Jan 22, 2009 at 01:25PM

“I have a few questions for the great upstanding moralist Steven Wells. What did you think about British torture of IRA suspects? Did you speak out against it? Or did you, like 99% of the people in Limey land, say it was a good thing? And furthermore, did you say that Americans who took an interest in this matter should fuck off because we were naive and didn't understand the issues? I think I know the answers to these questions.”

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11. the Steven Wells said... on Jan 22, 2009 at 02:21PM

“Re torture in Northern Ireland and British policy in the six counties in general. Like many people on the left in the UK, I protested it. Marched against it. Signed petitions. Campaigned for the withdrawal of British troops. Supported a united ireland. What did you do? Your apology is accepted Now are you going to answer any of my questions? Go on, get out of your tribal/racist comfort zone, stretch that brain a little bit.”

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12. The Guardian Sucks said... on Jan 22, 2009 at 07:06PM

“Obviously you have the right to hold opinions but my sense is that you have no sense of history. Either that or you're just a flat out hypocrite. Sure you can bang on about Guantanamo (soon to be closed) but are you shocked that someone's throwing Operation Demetrius in your face? You shouldn't be. Hitchens, at least he's witty and scholarly, with an admirable sense of history. He turned all neocon after 9/11 unfortunately, as I found him more entertaining when he was a Trotskyite. But even in those days, he was somehow less crude and much more nuanced than you are. So what I'm saying is, it's not a matter of left-right politics, it's a matter of style. Yours is lacking I'm afraid. As for our founding fathers, I can't speak for them all, but Jefferson loathed the British. Hated them and their Tory symps to the core. "In spite of treaties England is still our enemy," Jefferson wrote late in life, and truer words were never put to paper. As for the whole England/Britain/UK debate, yawn and double yawn. The English constantly try to trip people up on this issue, probably because over there, this passes as interesting conversation. Kind of like their endless discussion about the weather. The British Empire consisted of Brits, and they have a lot to answer for. To the extent that Scottish and Welsh people applied electrodes to Irish and Kenyan prisoners, yes, they have much to answer for.”

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13. the Steven Wells said... on Jan 23, 2009 at 06:52AM

“A refreshing change to your dumbed down "great shitting" persona. Notice how your writing improves when you force yourself to examine your own prejudices regarding race and nationality? (Which, you might remember, was the topic of the column in the first place.) You've made real progress this week. Well done. Now don't let us both down by slipping back into your bad old ways. you hear? (By the way, claiming that Jefferson hated Washington, Paine, Franklin, Adams et al is ridiculous, but at least it's out of your infantile one-note comfort zone. Again, well done.)”

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