Friday, June 24, 2005

The name on everybody's lips...

Is gonna be... Roxey. Or in the alternative, this post could be called I'm Not a Racist! Last night I met up with Roxey, dear chum from college days, fellow Bergen County representer, probably my long-lost twin sister, and protector of all things liberal, for dessert. We wound up at the new Thai Chef in Riverside Square Mall, where we both had their famous chocolate soufle. It was delicious, although not as good as the Montclair version.

This is all beside the point. I've been thinking a lot lately about racism, mostly because of Crash. I asked Rox if she had seen it - indeed she had and she enjoyed it very much. I told her what a friend of mine said - that in a post-Rodney King world, the movie's opinions on racism were obsolete.... that no one in a major city like L.A. would possibly say such things out loud. Roxey laughed - "Megan, you wouldn't believe some of the stuff people say to me. And we live on the east coast." She went on to tell me that while watching the news about the conviction of Edgar Ray Killen in Mississippi, a man on the street said he hoped black people would not remember the people of Mississip as only a bunch of former lynchers and racists.... "I mean," the man remarked, "Some of my best friends are black." Roxey fell over laughing. We recounted stories to one another regarding friends who have wondered aloud why black people don't just go out and get jobs? Indeed, I think Crash is more authentic these days than many white people want to admit, and thus offer you these two thoughts.

Ralph Nader, bastion of all things progressive, dropped the "N" word last week. Al Sharpton told him to watch it. You can read about the incident here. As Sharpton said, "Nader is not a racist by any stretch of the imagination. He has a good track record. But he ought to be sensitive that he does not sanitize that word." I certainly don't think of Nader as a "racist" but the fact that he felt like saying such a charged word was appropriate is a little disturbing.

I've been reading Malcolm Gladwell's excellent Blink, which is about the immediate decisions we make before we actually think something over. In other words, it's about the unconscious thought processes that occur in milliseconds. Gladwell talks about Harvard's implicit association study, which you can take on the computer. When Gladwell, who is half black, took the test, he was disturbed to discover that he had a preference for whites. Take the test - it might be an eye-opener for you.

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