Citizen of the Month

the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Oh no, am I a Racist Blogger?

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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.

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50 Comments

  1. Does this mean you will be deleting the white people from your blogroll?

  2. Thank you… good to know that apart from Bruce Lee, Jacky Chan and Chow Yun Fatt, even Asian bloggers are getting recognized!! ** Kiss **

  3. did I mention I’m black?

  4. “who really thinks about what anyone else looks like?” I certainly am Neil. There is a strict policy : I do not read ugly girls.

  5. Heck, Neil… I’ve been reading you for some time now, have you linked on my site and have not made it to your blogroll. And I’m a “white” female.

    So there goes your theory.
    Namaste.
    ~HDJ

  6. “I’d like to teach the world to sing
    in perfect harmony –”

    No. Scrap that.

    “I’d like to teach the world to BLOG
    in perfect harmony…”

  7. HDJ – I didn’t even realize. But don’t worry. I have you on a special “personal” blogroll of the women I’d most want to shag.

  8. Gee… thanks. I think.
    I’ve always wanted to be thought of purely as a sex object. Just don’t photoshop me into any lewd Disney flash cartoons, OK?
    ~HDJ

  9. Oh, and does the fact that today is “BLACK Friday” have anything to do with the topic of your post?
    ~HDJ

  10. No, but it explains why I’m up at 5 in the morning so I can go to Macy’s and buy some sneakers for ten bucks before they run out. (to those in other countries: “Black Friday” is what they call the day after Thanksgiving when all the department stores open early and have big sales to start getting everyone into a crazed consumerized mood for our overly-commercialized American holiday season that lasts for more than a month for the purpose of selling iPods to teenagers and Transformers to children).

  11. Where is that “personal” blogroll? 🙂

  12. Don’t forget “Jewish People Are So Smart,” one of my all-time favorite posts about race relations:

    http://www.citizenofthemonth.com/2005/08/09/jewish-people-are-so-smart/

    (I can’t wait to see how you’re going to categorize your blogroll. You may be asking for trouble…)

  13. Blacks, Jews, Asians, Latinos, Crazy People…

  14. Don’t worry Neil. I’m from Chicago so I’ve known many racist liberals. And the fact of the matter that I find most california drivers assholes so feel free to call them such because I do. As a matter of fact, I might just get a bumber sticker that reads:

    “If you are reading this and my care is moving then you are driving too close so back the fuck up asshole”

    I though philly and new york drivers were bad.

  15. Thanks, James. I’m finally feeling free to speak my mind to everyone without regard to race or creed. So, let me be honest with all my black friends, both in real life and online — OJ did it!

  16. There’s an…eccentric little group of African Americans in NYC who street-preach every Sunday with over-amped microphones, claiming to be the “real Jews” and insisting that the white man is the devil. I know there are real African Jews…but I doubt these are the ones.

    As a liberal guilt-ridden Jew, I wouldn’t confront them, but I refuse to add them to my blogroll.

  17. I am so tempted to finally start my own blog so I can be outraged of what category Neil will place me on his blogroll.

    Or may be with Sophia’s help he could do the right thing and place me in the one-and-only category of Jews Without A Trace Of Guilt.

  18. So, will you be reorganizing your blogroll by race? I’m Spanish, Filipina and German, by the way, so please put me in every category.

    Oh, and if someone acts like an asshole, it has nothing to do with race…it’s because that person is an asshole. Ignorance is color blind.

  19. Just put me under crazy people.

  20. Cool to know I am once again in the teenager category… I just bought an ipod nano 🙂

  21. Well Neil good luck with where you put me because I am not black enough for black people, too black for white people and I don’t look jewish enough for Jewish people so I don’t have a bloody clue where I am supposed to be. Maybe crazy and neurotic?

  22. Well, Neil–it sounds like you are off to a enlightened first step to include more people of African-American and Asian descent on your site.

    But, I’ll really be convinced of your commitment to inclusiveness when you remove the “Irish need not apply” sign at the top of your blogroll.

    People with last names that begin with ‘Mc’ need to feel the LOVE too…

  23. Your post reminded me of something that crossed my mind a few days ago. In PC fashion, you refer to your new African-American bloggers. But what about international readers who are black? Does anyone call him or herself an African-European? Or is that too un-PC to ask? ;]

  24. Oy. Maybe I should just have two categories:

    1) Women

    2) The Unimportant Blogs That I Never Read

  25. FYI, I’m 14/16 Italian; 1/16 French; 1/16 Jewish. I was born in the US. I live in NYC. I call myself Caucasian, but in some locations south of D.C., I’ve been informed that “I-talians” are not white. I was raised Catholic, but am no longer practicing. Schuey comments on my blog now and again, so I guess that would make me “not ugly”. Any other categorizations that may be of help in reorganizing your blogroll, feel free to ask. You know where to find me.

  26. So you’re on my blog roll, because I’ve just started reading you (and stealing your ideas), but I’m not on your blog roll and I’m a black female (gasp!). Until you wrote this, I would’ve never thought twice about it, I still don’t. I have blogs that I’ve been reading for awhile that I have yet to put on my blog roll. I don’t think race is a problem, you just get busy and forget about it. And honestly does anyone pay attention to these things?
    So no, I don’t think you’re a racist. And if you never put me on your blogroll I might cry, but I’d be able to go on with my life and all would be well.

  27. Heather — You’re black too? Jeez, maybe all my readers are and I never knew. Uh, are you single also?

  28. Okay–hang on,

    I have blonde hair and blue eyes.

    My great-grannie was Jewish, my grandfather was black and the Hubster was born a Brit by Dublin/Irish parents.

    Will there be cross referencing in the blogroll?

  29. where’d you find that cute little cornucopia of ethnic playdough people, Neil?!!! … Too cute!

  30. Does this mean that you’ll be disappointed to find out that I’m just a white girl?

  31. Neil is sneaky. He kept commenting on my blog until I put him on MY blogroll. Now he ignores me. I feel so NEGLECTED.. I am just loved for my female blogger status. Is that discrimation too 😉

  32. Men! They’re all the same… whatever color…

  33. You have been talking about reorganizing your blogroll for ages. Boy-girl, east-west, shag-no shag, what’s it gonna be? You will never be able to make up your mind.

    No doubt Sophia will actually reorganize it for you.

  34. i love the honesty of what you wrote. great post. i used to think that “guilty white liberal” meant “i’m sorry my ethnicity is better than yours.” now i realize it means “i’m just pissed cuz i can’t stay out in the sun longer.”

    i’m so kidding. i’m an ethnically ambiguous white guy with an olive-ish complexion by the way. i fit well in the “freak” category.

  35. irish is the new black.

    oh wait, i was thinking of something else…..

    😉 sizz

  36. If you are asking yourself if you are then the answer is….NO.

    Most folks whom I’d consider Racist either will admit they are OR are oblivious to the fact they are.

  37. This is weird. Anyway, where would my blog be? I’m 1/2 white and 1/2 black (and a little Portugese too). Or would you put me under “crazy”? Liberals..gotta love them!

  38. Are you really going to have a category marked just “Women” or were you planning on breaking it down — “Barely Legal,” “Mature,” “Big Breasts,” “Lesbians,” etc.

  39. I actually find it interesting that this post all of sudden became about making “categories” on my blogroll when I never mentioned that in the original post. Maybe I’ll do it by height.

    Honestly, my orginal concern in the post was about my inability to call people of color “assholes.” Hopefully, through your support, I will be able to soon overcome this neurosis.

  40. HA! yes I’m black and yes I’m single. Maybe if you read my blog you’d know about that..;-) KIDDING!

  41. Hmmm, I figured you hadn’t made fun of conservatives because I was the only one you had and you wanted to keep me around as a token so you wouldn’t lose that big government blogging contract.

    Go ahead, make fun, my guess is I will laugh louder than anyone on the blogroll 🙂

    Say hi to Sophia for me. She sounds like I sound when I drive – LOL

  42. put me on your mutherfuckin blogroll.

  43. I KNEW IT, MARIA!!!
    My name is really Isaac Liebovitz. You knew it, didn’t you??
    ;P
    ~L.

  44. ooh. thanks for putting me on your blogroll! asians represent. boo-yah, or whatever.

  45. I’m 100% Czech American. I don’t know why I decided to confess finally and get it off my 44C chest. But damn, it feels good. Oh yah, I’m a white girl but I tan enough in the winter to make me look more Native American than Czech American.

  46. I’m a liberal and I call black drivers who cut me off “assholes”. I even call black drivers who drive who drive slowly in front of me “assholes”.

    All from the safety of my own car of course.

  47. Conservatives think of everyone as an individual? Conservatives as a role model for ridding ourselves of racism? Neil, seriously, put down the vodka and take a deep breath.

  48. This is a funny post. You have endeared yourself to me. LOL

  49. BTW, for this, I am adding you to my links!

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