Getting down, and getting funky
I remember the day when I, as a child, saw my first African-American.
Though I lived in an all-white neighborhood on the near Southwest Side of Chicago, the public school I attended from Kindergarten through Fourth Grade had a center for hearing-impaired kids, who came from all over the city. Some of them were black.
Eddie Chin, a Chinese- American, was a classmate of mine, so the notion that others might have skins which were a different color was not a shock. But the idea that there were dark brown people was. I ran straight home after school, and blurted out, "Mom! I saw a chocolate boy today!"
My parents were not paragons of racial enlightenment. But they struggled, by their lights, to be decent, tolerant people. Wisely, my mother seized upon my characterization to explain that yes, there were vanilla people like us- but there were also chocolate people, strawberry people (Native Americans), coffee-mocha people (Hispanics), and butter pecan people (Orientals), and that no flavor was better than any other.
I do not want to recommend this article. I want to flee from it; to run away from it, screaming. There is enough of the white liberal left in me to be intensely uncomfortable with the author's use of the term 'inferior' to refer to his own race, even though it is used chiefly for shock value and soley in the sense of condition rather than ontological essence.
But it's a helpful article, and the more people like Shelby Steele and Bill Cosby speak up, the closer we all will be to dealing with our mutual shame: the ongoing division of our society on the basis of something which ought to be no more significant than the flavor of ice cream we prefer.