Saturday, August 22, 2009
A Practical Guide To Racism
First off I am asian, my senior thesis class in college was on celebrated black author James Baldwin, and my best friends are jewish, white, asian, pirate, and robot. Second off, my favorite authors are Douglas Adams and Kurt Vonnegut, which has influenced me to say whatever the hell I want when I want. Third off, if you're sensitive to race or humor in general, I highly suggest you listen to the song Everyone's A Little Bit Racist from the broadway hit Avenue Q here. Fourthly and this is the most important thing, this is my site and if you don't like it, blow me <3.
So when I was a young man, I was traveling through Spain with some friends. In one city, an old gypsy woman tried to grift me by putting sage leaf in my hand and telling my fortune in spanish. I of course had no money, so she in turn spat at me and cursed me with impotence, madness, and whatever the hell gypsies like to curse people with. So since then, I've disliked gypsies as shifty untrustworthy carnie folk. You might even say I'm a little bit...racist.
But racist, in the 21st century? Haven't we moved onto Star Trek-ish ideals where we can all tolerate one another in peace and harmony? Beautiful as that may sound, we're all human, and humans are stupid. It takes human stupidity to look at another human and dislike them for having a darker tan than you. Dave Chappelle had the right idea, race is an absurd perception, and stereotypes are funny because they're exaggerated truths. It's a quaint notion to think that we can move from hating people for what they look like to hating people for just being assholes but I digress.
So here comes A Practical Guide to Racism by C.H. Dalton. It is as the title; a practical guide. But racist? Not really. Sure there's a section on every ethnicity in the world as well as subgenres of every ethnicity, but racist, hardly. Sure it points out stereotypes, but stereotypes while racial in nature are rarely more mean spirited than any other complaints. Is it offensive? Yes, but like I said, it's only offensive to people who can't take a joke or can't see subtext; in other words it's offensive only to stupid people, which should be considered a race and have it's own chapter in this book. But reading this book, I learned so much about how awful Merpeople (people who live under the sea) are, and how the black man's greatest natural foe are ravenous sexually predatorial white women, also known as succubae. I also learned that you can even poke fun at dead races like the Babylonians and the Phoenicians too.
So is the Practical Guide to Racism Practical? Sort of. Does it inspire hate crimes? Hell no. Is there any real racism in it? Well there's a glossary of racial epithats, but you can find the same terms on urbandictionary.com so the final verdict is no. Worth reading? Yes it's worth reading. If anything it'd be great to leave on your coffee table to see people's reactions.