So, a guy accused me of being a racist the other day…
Spoiler warning: I'm not.
There’s a popular scam in my area in which sympathetic young people go door to door selling bogus magazine subscriptions. Basically, you give them money, and in exchange you don’t get magazines you didn’t want.
There are various versions with some claiming that you will be supporting a worthy-sounding group, some saying you’ll be helping the efforts of the people selling the subscriptions to build a better life, or maybe to just party like it’s 1999 when people still bought magazine subscriptions.
I mean really, they’d be better off selling subscriptions to Disney+ or Substack (ahem).
In any case, while there may be legitimate magazine subscription drives out there, they don’t exist here that I know of.
In any case, a neighbor of mine recently came across a couple of these young people in the neighborhood and told me she had wanted to help them out. However, she Googled the outfit they said they were with and discovered it was a scam.
“Of course it is,” I replied, as she relayed the story.
She was disappointed because they “seemed so nice.”
In any case, they were working the neighborhood and eventually came to my door.
Before we go further, I should note that I had not inquired as to what race they were. It’s not like I forgot, the thought just never occurred to me. Likewise, my neighbor never thought to volunteer it.
I know it’s out of fashion now, but that’s what being not-a-racist is. Race is totally irrelevant. The anti-racists will routinely conflate culture with race, suggesting that ignoring one is to ignore the other, but that in itself is a racist attitude. Just because you are of a certain race does not mean you are genetically encoded with the culture of that race, or for that matter, the political inclinations. (That’s something Joe, “If you have a problem figuring out whether you're for me or Trump, then you ain't black.” Biden would do well to consider.)
When I opened the door there were two young black people, one clearly a teenage boy and the other a man who was probably in his twenties. I note their race here because the older one was about to make it an issue.
As he launched into his pitch, I politely declined to subscribe to the magazines I’d never get in support of a worthy cause that didn’t exist.
Okay, that’s what I was thinking, but instead I simply said that I wasn’t interested. There was a brief back-and-forth on that point at which point the older one, who was doing all the talking, said,
“Yeah, we’ve been getting a lot of lame-ass excuses like that.”
I don’t recall reading that in Zig Ziglar's Secrets of Closing the Sale but my mind does tend to wander at times, so maybe I missed that part.
I responded by saying, “oh, nice,” but that did not deter our committed salesman. He was clearly trying to establish an emotional connection.
“I guess you never had to struggle.”
There’s nothing quite like insult and presumption to build a rapport.
He started to walk away, mumbling some unintelligible insults, I said, “good luck with your scam” which was admittedly gratuitous but there was a hint of sincerity to it. My neighborhood is littered with “BLM” and “In our house we believe…” virtue-signaling placards hastily purchased last spring in the wake of the George Floyd protests. I was surprised he wasn’t specifically targeting those, but perhaps he’s learned through experience that their virtue often begins and ends with a $15 yard sign.
“You can go choke on your food,” he added, still walking across the yard.
“Passive-aggressive” doesn’t quite capture it, does it? I’ll also note that his verbal aggressiveness increased with physical distance.
I can’t imagine what he’s like on Twitter.
His voice grew louder, mainly because he was getting pretty far across the yard.
“It would be different if I were white.”
White people prefer to be scammed by other white people. Everyone knows that. Keeps the money in the community you understand.
It was then that he realized he had walked into a corner of my yard where there was no obvious exit. He was going to have to walk down a small incline covered in ground cover and shrubbery if he was going to continue down the street. He turned to his ward, and said,”
“Go ahead, step on his sh#@.”
Yes, he was going to fight for social justice by assaulting my vegetation.
No justice, no creeping juniper!
Upon “stepping on my sh#@,” he promptly fell straight down on his rear.
In a moment of uncommon good judgment I resisted saying, “Watch your step, it’s slippery.”
No sense agitating an already agitated person. Who knows what he might have done? Maybe suggest I slip on a bar of soap or fall off a ladder.
He managed to get to the sidewalk where he started singing in a falsetto (possibly brought on by the fall) that incorporated the phrase “white cracker.”
This exchange was absurd of course, comical even. Still, no one likes being falsely accused of being a racist, so I gave it some brief thought and realized something.
The only reason that young man accused me of being a racist was because I was white. As far as he was concerned, I wasn’t turning down magazine subscriptions because it was a scam or because I simply didn’t want any, but because I was a white.
In other words, in accusing me of being a racist, he demonstrated he was one.
Keep that in mind the next time someone makes that kind of assumption about you, based solely on the color of your skin. It’s always a bad thing, always.
Also, “white cracker?” That’s still a thing? I guess it’s in keeping with the retro theme of selling magazine subscriptions. Maybe next time they’ll try selling me long distance.