There’s been a plethora of coverage, both here and elsewhere, of the “Gates-Gate” affair currently choking the news cycle to death. Of course, most of these people are choosing to focus on “teachable moments” and the “status of black-white relations” and blah, blah, blah, blah. Sadly, what most of these analysts are missing is the good news underlying the affairs of the last week, and that is that racism, while perhaps not entirely dead, is on its last legs in the Northeast.
How so, you ask? For my first bit of evidence, I offer none other than Henry Lewis Gates himself, as examined and covered by Daily Show Senior Black Correspondent Larry Wilmore. (Partial transcript follows, but the whole bit is great.)
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c|
|Henry Louis-Gate – Race Card|
Wilmore: For God’s sake, John, they call him “Skip.” This tricycle riding caramel man took one look at that white cop and he became Blacky McBlack.
When the officer asked Gates to step outside, he said, “Yeah. I’ll speak with your mamma outside.”
He really said, “Your mamma?” Did he suddenly start channeling Rerun from Good Times? As Wilmore said, he must have been waiting to use that one since the Carter administration.
Our second example provides even more evidence, and comes to us from Boston, and the sad case of police officer Justin Barrett. (WARNING: I’m going to quote something Barrett said, so if you are easily offended, you might consider stopping right here.)
A Boston police officer who sent a racially charged e-mail protesting newspaper coverage of the arrest of Henry Louis Gates Jr. apologized Wednesday night and said “I am not a racist.”
Justin Barrett, 36, admitted using the term “jungle monkey” in writing about the arrest of the Harvard professor by a Cambridge police sergeant.
“It was a poor choice of words. I did not mean to offend anyone,” Barrett told NewsCenter 5’s Cheryl Fiandaca.
Now, when I first heard this, I thought, “Uh oh. This is bad.” And make no mistake… this guy has to be fired. Sorry, man, but you can’t say something like that and keep your job as a cop. You’re done.
But I was still left scratching my head, because something just wasn’t right with this story. “Jungle Monkey?” Is that what he said? That didn’t ring any bells. It was only after I finally recalled this classic 1970’s skit from Saturday Night Live between Richard Pryor and Chevy Chase that I realized what had gone off the beam.
Yes, Barrett was making his best effort to be an ignorant, bigoted racist, but he got the wrong animal. He meant to say “bunny,” not “monkey!” And even if he’d managed to get it right, I mean, come on man… “Jungle Bunny?” Nobody’s used that one in the last quarter century. Dude… attend a Klan meeting. Sign up for a Stormfront account. Do something. I didn’t think it was possible, but you’re being an embarrassment to all of the real racists in the country today. Do some research.
So, getting back to our original topic, why does this mean that racism is nearly wiped out in the Northeast? Because these people are absolutely terrible at it! Gates gets in a confrontation with a white cop and the best he can do is dredge up a tag line from an early Eddie Murphy movie? And the most definitively racist cop we can find can’t even keep his racial epithets straight? These people have no clue what they’re doing in the race wars, and it’s because they simply don’t have any experience at it.
And that’s why this story ultimately has a happy ending. The only race wars you can find these days in the Northeast are being waged by rank amateurs.
Copyright 2009 The Moderate Voice