the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Tag: race relations

My African-American Friend


“Derrick?  This is Neil.”

“Well, this is a surprise.”

“Listen, I know we haven’t spoken in a long time.”

“I’m not apologizing.”

“I know.  I know.  It was my fault.  It’s OK that you went to Jennifer’s party and didn’t tell me about it.  I don’t want to lose your friendship over something stupid.”

“Well, thank you.  I’m glad to hear that our friendship means something to you.”

“It does.  I’m a firm believer in diversity and whenever I have a heated conversation about race relations, I like to say that “some of my best friends are African-American.” And yesterday, I was online arguing with this woman about the lack of diversity in the parenting blogging community, and I was about to say, “Some of my best friends…” when I realized that YOU were my ONLY best friend who was black, and since we weren’t talking, I couldn’t honestly say that “some of my best friends are African-American” anymore because I am all about authenticity. And that hurt.  It also makes me look bad not have a black best friend.

“So, are you saying that you want to become friends again, so you can tell others that “some of your best friends are African-American?”

“Well, it’s not the only reason.  But the main one.  Is there a problem with that?”

“That is disgusting.  Is this what the entire civil rights movement means to you?  Just so you can prove your liberal credentials to your lily-white ass friends by trotting me out like… some… some… accordian playing monkey?”

“I would never call you a monkey.  That would be racist.”

“What do you mean by that?”

“I mean that your roots are in Africa.”


“So, I mean you have some sort of psychic connection to the jungle.”

“I’m from Queens.  I’ve never been hiking.  Who wants to go to the f*cking jungle?  How would you like if I called you a kike?”

“Are you calling me a kike?”

“Yeah, maybe I am!”

“What exactly is a kike?”

“I have no idea.”

“When I first heard that word, I thought it was “kite.”  Which was odd.  Why would you call a Jew a kite?   You rarely see Jews flying kites.”

“That’s not true.  Remember we flew kites once at Jones Beach.”

“That’s true.”

“We were terrible.  We had to ask that old guy to show us how to fly a kite.”

“So, are we friends again?”

“I don’t know.”

“You need me.  As much as I need you.  Without me, you can’t say that “some of your best friends are Jewish.”

“That’s not true.  Half of my friends are Jewish.”

“They are?”

“I work at school in the Upper West Side!”

“I forgot.”

“Am I really your only black friend?”

“Well, right now you are.  No, wait.  There is this black guy in Redondo Beach.  But I don’t really like him that much.  He’s a little boring.  Always talking about his car.”

“What type of car?”

“1965 Mustang.”


“You wouldn’t like him though.  He doesn’t like the Simpsons.”

“No?  Nah.  I probably wouldn’t like him.”

“Even though he’s black?”

“Even though he’s black.”

“OK.  So where do we stand…?”


“I take that as a yes.”

“OK.  We’re friends again.  You can go tell your white friends that you have a black friend again.”

“Thank you, Derrick!  Nice to have you back, African-American friend!”

Note:  Sigh!  I hate saying this, but just to protect the innocent from overly-literal readers:   Truth Quotient:  4%

Battle of the Races


For the first portion of the 13th edition of “Survivor,” which premieres Sept. 14, the contestants competing for the $1-million prize while stranded on the Cook Islands in the South Pacific will be divided into four teams — blacks, Asians, Latinos and whites.

It was announced today that General Motors has ended its sponsorship of CBS’s hit series “Survivor.” Some are wondering if this has anything to do with Survivor’s decision this year to divide the contestants by race and ethnicity, rather than the usual cheap gimmicks of gender and age.

Honestly, do these divisions even matter to the show, considering how the producers always seem to “keep around” the young girls in the bikinis for as long as possible, while kicking the old, demographically-wrong broads off as fast as the next promo break?

GM says the new gimmick has nothing to do with their decision to leave the show. Others continue speaking out about the show’s lack of good taste. For instance, a group of New York City officials has criticized the new format, saying it promotes divisiveness. They have asked CBS to reconsider its plans.

“How could anybody be so desperate for ratings?” City Councilman John Liu asked last week.

Show creator Mark Burnett pooh-poohs the criticism.

“By putting people in tribes, they clearly have to get rid of people of their own ethnicity,” Burnett, who also created NBC hit “The Apprentice”, told a group of reporters on Tuesday, Variety reports. “So it’s not racial at all.”

The big question is — will this be a fascinating sociological study or does this mean that Survivor, after 12 seasons on the air, has finally “jumped the shark.”

But excitement for the show runs big on the Vegas strip, as the professional gambling community debates the odds of which ethnic group will win.

“I put my money on the Asians” said Murray “The Greek” Solipikis. “They are smart and wise, like Mr. Miyagi.”

The following are the current odds, according to Las Vegas Reality Show Oddsmaker (LVRSO). (as always, remember to gamble responsibly!



  • Good in athletics
  • Have “street smarts”
  • Can use “rapping” as a secret code between tribe members
  • Tribal Camp will have the best music
  • Can bring out “race card” if too many tribal members are eliminated


  • Men cannot swim
  • Wouldn’t be caught dead wearing a “Survivor bandana”
  • Can’t understand why “crazy white folk” ENJOY camping outside
  • “Eat bugs — are you out of your motherf***ing mind?!”




  • Others will be afraid that they might know “martial arts”
  • Math geeks will be good at solving “puzzle challenge”
  • Can make anything taste good by stir-frying it in a wok
  • Have actually eaten bugs as a delicacy
  • Japanese women thin enough to slide under obstacle courses
  • Asian cultural “group dynamics”


  • Too polite, let others go first
  • Mediocre at sports
  • Can build a microprocessor, but cannot set up a tent
  • Infighting between Japanese and Koreans
  • Sleepless nights as Japanese men rub against women while reading “Manga” pornographic comic books




  • Espanol has the best curses!
  • Women have nice big asses so fat deposits will help them survive longer
  • Men learned effective team management in Latin gangs such as 18th Street, MS13, and Pacatrece
  • When food gets low, have no problem sneaking into other camps as “illegal immigrant” tribesmembers
  • Women can distract men of other tribes by shaking “Shakira-style” during competitions


  • Have never actually watched this dumb show — Jeff who?
  • Churros not included in “food competition”
  • It is difficult to dance salsa in the dirt
  • No siestas allowed during the game
  • Can actually make MORE than a million dollars by selling vegetables on the freeway




  • Stupid enough to enjoy camping and “proving” oneself by eating live bugs
  • The network wants them to win
  • Were the only competitors invited over to Jeff Probst’s home for dinner
  • Have actually watched all previous 12 seasons of Survivor because that is what “white people” do on Thursday night


  • Zero street smarts
  • Boring as hell
  • Women anorexic before the game even begins
  • They take the game WAY too seriously


Which group are you rooting for?

(note:  thank you, Laurie, the phattest Southern belle knitting blogger in LA, for telling me that I was totally off-base with previously using the Crips and Bloods as Latino gangs. I am SO WHITE!)

A Year Ago on Citizen of the Month: Dude Thinks Like a Lady

Learning from Barbra Streisand


Do you notice that whenever there’s a Hollywood movie where there’s a white guy and black guy disagreeing about something, it always ends up in racial name-calling (Crash, 48 Hours, every movie by Spike Lee)?

Last night, I went to the movies with my friend J.  He is an African-American.  I am a Jewish Caucasian.  We decided to see the new nature documentary The March of the Penguins because penguins are both black and white, and we figured the subject matter was so uncontroversial that no racials tensions could possibly develop.

We met early to have some dinner.  As J. drove, we discussed what we wanted to eat.  J. wanted Italian.  I wanted Chinese.  Neither of us would budge.   Tensions rose and the racial epitaphs started to fly.  J. told me that when he came to my seder last year, that my mother’s gefilte fish "sucked."  I mocked his culture’s weird attraction to eating chicken and waffles together!  It got ugly.

I told him to stop the car immediately.  I knew we needed some help, and I knew there was only one person who could bring us back together — Barbra Streisand.

I took out my laptop (as a blogger, I always carry it around) and stole some wi-fi from some home in Beverly Hills.  I clicked on  Barbra Streisand’s website, where she publishes many of her political ideas (yes, Sophia, TWM, Rachel, and others — all very liberal).  I showed J. one of the posts dated June 18, 2003.

I see people trying to divide the unity of Blacks and Jews, in particular. We can’t allow this to happen, because we have too much in common to be divided. With a shared history of oppression and slavery, as well as a common ingrained culture of social justice, Blacks and Jews, over the years and still today, have been natural allies.

In fact, Blacks and Jews have a long and important history of working together… recently, Blacks and Jews worked together in Florida after the 2000 election when both groups were disenfranchised after their votes were disregarded – Blacks because they were wrongly purged from voter lists and Jews in Palm Beach County who had mistakenly voted for Buchanan due to a poorly designed ballot. It was wonderful to watch Jews and African-Americans come together at rallies during that important time in our history.

J. and I looked at each other, ashamed of ourselves.  Despite our differences, didn’t we learn anything from that 2000 election year?   

Suddenly, we understood what Barbra was saying to us.  Blacks and Jews have so much in common — both groups are idiots!  

Blacks forgot to register to vote and Jews were too blind to read the ballot.

J. and I compromised and we went out for Thai food.

(story truth quotient 8%) (chance that fellow blogger Alley is not going to realize that it’s a joke and lecture me about politics 100%) 

(by the way, maybe this is a Jewish thing, but I’ve always found Barbara Streisand incredibly sexy and beautiful — but I have a feeling James Brolin has one high maintenance woman on his hands)

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