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Sunday, June 28, 2020

My Non-Racist Friend

You guys should really meet my friend Bob.  I've changed his name for this piece, along with the names of all the other specifics, but Bob is a real person.  I've known Bob for quite a while and lots of people, especially his liberal, college-educated friends, really like Bob. 

Bob is a white man.  He grew up in a white neighborhood and went to all white schools.  Not only did Bob attend a prestigious, mostly white university, he also graduated near or at the top of his prestigious, mostly white law school class, so he knows better than anyone about social justice and discrimination. 

Bob prides himself on being as liberal, as non-racist, as a white man could be. Bob can't understand why more white people aren't as tolerant as he is.  Bob wishes more people could be like Bob.  In fact, Bob wishes everyone could be Bob.

Bob always lets us know how non-racist he is.  You can tell by the way he greets every black security guard in any given office building by asking the guard about the chances of  the Chicago Bulls "going all the way" this year.  Somehow, Bob just knows that every black man is born knowing everything there is to know about the National Basketball Association.  Bob knows this, because Bob is a true friend of black people.  Bob knows how to talk to black people and is quick to point this out to anyone who will listen.  He's much better at this sort of thing than you are, because, well, you're not Bob.

Bob will tell you all about his friendship with black people.  He practically has them all catalogued by age, gender and socio-economic status, just in case anyone challenges his acceptance of black people into his life.  One merely has to ask him, and Bob proudly reads off his roster of non-white pals, displaying them like merit badges at a Boy Scout convention.

Bob takes special pride in explaining that "DWB" stands for "driving while black," probably because he's the only white man to whom black people have entrusted this closely guarded secret.

Yes, Bob is that special.

Bob is friends with all his neighbors, none of whom happen to be black. That's not Bob's fault, though.  That's due to America's centuries of systemic racism.  Oddly, Bob never thought about moving into a black neighborhood, which is too bad, because, you know, everyone there can tell you about "the chances of the Chicago Bulls going all the way."

Bob is also a friend to the Native Americans, although there really aren't any living nearby.  He did, however, see Dancing With Wolves a few times, enough to convince him of the injustices suffered by wise chiefs and pretty Hollywood squaws.  I'm fairly sure he isn't too familiar with the torture practices the Apaches used to terrorize and murder people of any color, the ferocity of which kept the Arizona territory untamed until its statehood in 1912, when it became the last of the lower 48 admitted to the union.

Bob feels sorry for me, as I am so unenlightened.  He wants to use his collegiate superiority to educate troglodytes such as myself about things we couldn't possibly understand, like white privilege and wealth.  These are matters best left to people like Bob, most of whose law school friends became filthy rich multi-millionaires while he didn't.

Hmmm.

Of course, for a guy who preaches racial tolerance, Bob himself isn't the most tolerant person in the world. Once, when he was pontificating over coffee, he challenged my social conscience by asking, "How many black friends do you have?" To which I could only reply, "Um, how many am I supposed to have?"  It didn't seem to matter.  I didn't vote for Hillary in 2016, so my fate had been sealed long ago. 

For the record, Bob's tolerance doesn't extend to asian women, because "they're all nuts."  I still can't figure that one out. 

Maybe he should ask more of them about the NBA.




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