Over the last few months, I’ve made quite a few mentions that I was "liberal" while Sophia was "conservative."
Recently, a reader emailed me:
"You don’t seem very liberal. You make fun of liberals, but I never hear you make fun of conservatives."
I thought about that, and my reader-friend is right. For some reason, I find the craziness of the left more amusing that the insanity of the right. Maybe that’s why there are so many entertaining conservative talk shows, while leftist talk shows are a snooze. For all their good intentions, many liberals, myself included, are neurotic nuts, particularly in matters of race and ethnicity.
I might be wrong, but I always thought Dr. King’s vision was of an America where everyone treated each other equally. In an odd way, I think Sophia is the perfect role model for this vision.
Recently, we were driving on the San Diego Freeway, when a car cut us off so abruptly – we almost collided.
Sophia flashed her lights at the car and screamed out, "Asshole!."
"Don’t say that," I said.
"Why not? He is a f***ing asshole."
Exactly… why not?
Sophia looked at me, knowingly. She knew. She knew my wimpy, liberal, guilty, condescending face very well.
You see, the driver was an African-American.
Maybe I didn’t think about it consciously, but inside, my mind was blabbing on with all sorts of liberal mind games:
"He’s a black guy. Maybe he came from a broken family. Maybe he’s had it tough growing up in Compton. Maybe he got beat up by the LAPD. Maybe as a teenager in the hood, he was ostracized by his friends when they found a George Michael CD in his car."
Of course, it didn’t occur to me to look at the reality of the situation. We were driving a Hyundai. He was driving a Lexus. It’s quite possible that this guy grew up in Beverly Hills. He did cut us off. He was an asshole.
Would I have worried so much if this guy was white? Would I happily have called this guy the "asshole" he really was? I thought back to everything I read about the meaning of liberal in the 1960s and 70s. Wasn’t the original point supposed to be that we fuck each other (in a pleasurable way) and become one huge happy human family? Today, it seems as though liberals are the ones always bringing up race and keeping everyone apart. Why not take a page from the conservative book and think of everyone as an individual first?
I bring this up, because in the last two weeks, I’ve picked up a whole bunch of new readers. Many of them came from new friends who are black and Asian. At first, I didn’t even think about this. I mean, in the blogging world, who really thinks about what anyone else looks like? That’s what makes online friendships so cool. All that cultural stuff disappears. In fact, my real name could be Maria Gonzalez and you would never know the truth.
However, because I’ve been meeting so many new people, I’ve decided to revamp my blogroll and organize it in a new way. Look at it in the right sidebar — it’s a mess.
But then last night, I had some trouble sleeping as I began thinking like a guilty liberal.
"I wonder if all my new readers are wondering why I haven’t put them on my blogroll. Are they talking to each other? Are they saying, "He certainly has quite a few "white folks" on his blogroll. Why all of a sudden is there no room for African-Americans and Asians on the list? Does his "citizenship" of the month really extend to all groups? Or is he… a racist blogger?! In fact, the only times he ever mentions blacks or Asians is when he talks about corrupt Nigerian bishops and his obsession with Chinese food."
In the crowd I interact with, there is nothing worse than being called a racist. It is the worst insult possible, even lower that dissing a person’s mother. I could not face the barista in my local Starbucks where I sometimes write my posts if he thought I was a racist blogger.
So, to all my new African-American and Asian friends, let me make it clear:
I love you.
Be patient as I fix my blogroll. I am not a racist blogger. In fact, I look forward to flirting with women of all races on this blog.
I’m going to try to learn from Sophia and not be afraid to treat you any better or worse just because of your race or ethncity. In fact, that means I might actually call one of you an "asshole" very soon.
But, understand, I will be saying that with LOVE.