Racism paranoia: I know I link to Language Log...

but this silliness is really worth highlighting. Making a joke about Apple employing child labor is not racist!

Racism is real, and hasn't vanished. I once had an Englishman tell me to my face that "The Irish are stupid," before, in hindsight, he processed my last name, and tried desperately to suck his words back into his mouth.

But a brittleness that sounds alarms at every possible whiff of recognizing the reality of race is not the answer. To get past racism, we have to be able to laugh at it. I am reminded of sitting at a bar in Brooklyn. My friend who was tending bar said, "You guys are okay if I go out for a smoke?"

I replied, "That would be excellent: 'Cause I was thinking about running out without paying you, and that would be my chance."

The black guy sitting next to me, who also knew the bartender, looked at me and shook his head, and said, "Don't even try it, 'cause I can run faster than you with a plasma-screen TV on my back."

That is how we get past racism: when we can sit together sharing a drink (or a meal, or a sporting event, etc.) and laugh about our lingering stereotypes.


  1. The are stupid. I should know. I'm one of them.


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