some kind of

“So how’s our new family?” I asked the director, excited and sorry I hadn’t met them. “Well,” she began slowly, and I waited for the caveat. “They’re very nice – according to Elsa.”
“You didn’t meet them yourself then?”
“No.”
“Then what did Elsa say, exactly?”
“She said,” the director sighed, began organizing the new file in front of her, “that the lady was very nice and was some sort of mixed, and that the man was very polite and some kind of black.”
“She – um, what? Did you just say ‘some kind of black’ or is it the fan?” She gave me a long look. The fan was not that loud, really. “No. It isn’t the fan. That’s what she said.”

I chewed the inside of my cheek (gently) and thought. “I’ve got it!” I said, sitting up suddenly. “You had this conversation in another language! Something in which ‘some kind of black’ translates to dark-skinned gentleman, right?” She shook her head. “Or – or – you’ve never wanted to tell me but Elsa’s native language isn’t English!” She sighed. “No, Lola. Her mother tongue is English and the conversation was in English and she said exactly that: ‘some sort of mixed’ and ‘some kind of black.’ ” I slumped in my chair. It was hard and wooden anyway. “Don’t tell me she was scared, too?”
“Oh no – not remotely. She was excited. Said something about how exciting it was to have parents from Hawaii.”
“And how does she know they’re from Hawaii? When did they say this?”
“She said mixes are from Hawaii.”

I put my head down on the desk, on top of the papers. “I just can’t believe . . . I don’t know what to . . . ”
“I don’t either, Lola. Like I told you – a college education isn’t what it used to be.”

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4 thoughts on “some kind of

  1. No, you know what a college education is nowadays? It’s searching everything for the most possible evidence of racism, colonialism, sexism, antifeminism, homophobia, transphobia, whatever they call hating disabled people, etc. etc. You sit around being directed by some wanker grad student to do these crazy exegeses of any book, story, film or article whatsoever and just plumb it for nothing but evidence that our entire society is built for the sole purpose of crushing and belittling minorities. Basically, that whatever you’re looking at can be accused of being “counterrevolutionary.” And this academic monomania becomes a whole culture outside the classroom, too. That’s why you get people who are outraged at someone’s seeming insensitivity towards different racial groups. The only intellectual activity any of these people pursue is the seeking of grievances. Like the biggest drunk redneck in a bar whose only chance at getting laid just walked out the door, they’re walking around with a hard on for any fight they can get.

    Now these people all get out of college not knowing how to do anything else. Not knowing how to spend time any other way besides hunting under every log for evidence of “privilege” and misogyny and heteronormativity and whateverthefuck else, and if they find even a sideways hint any one of these things, they immediately bird-dog it and scream like Donald Sutherland in BODY SNATCHERS. It is their duty to champion the cause of the marginalized, no matter if they want your help or not.

    It’s like when I’m walking down the street and random black dudes address me by saying, “yo, white boy!” I immediately reprimand them by saying, “excuse me, sir! That’s not very politically correct! I am a fair skinned gentleman!” And these black guys, having a deep understanding of what it’s like to be taunted for being a part of a marginalized group, quickly apologize. I’m just glad that the people coming out of these bastions of ivory tower, bleeding-heart liberalism sympathize with the plight of the working-class white man – I’m glad they champion our cause, too.

  2. This is a well written description of a sad encounter … least to do with college education.

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