I was staggering toward the UCen yesterday after leaving a political science discussion on the overthrow of Chilean President Salvador Allende and wondering what to fill my cavernous belly with when I saw a person holding a clipboard and pens behind a table with a sign that read: “End Racial Profiling.”
End racial profiling? Is some really wealthy person finally coughing up the money to pay signature-gatherers to put something for the equitable and just treatment of all people on the California ballot? (These people almost always get paid by the signature.) Impelled by this curious circumstance, I spun this person around and asked to look at the petition. Let’s see … “Prohibits state and local governments from using race, ethnicity, color or national origin to classify current or prospective students, contractors or employees.”
“If you’re registered here, I just need you to put down your address,” stated the petitioner.
“No … ” I replied, backing away from the table. Of course, what I really wanted to say was, “Sure, I’ll sign it, just as soon as I poke my eyes out with this pen so that I can really be color blind.” The petition basically seeks to eradicate decades of hard-fought and hard-won victories for anti-racist legislation in housing, education, jobs and other fields.
The irony! This person was gathering signatures for a petition to pretend that racism does not exist on the day after the official recognition of Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, Jan. 21 (which is really on Jan. 15). The logical blow almost struck me senseless. Then an epiphany hit me!
These petitioners are following the great example, not of some mental lightweight like Dr. King, but the example of our great leader, George Bush Jr.! This petitioner was saying something and advocating just the opposite, just like President Bush! If Bush can sign a proclamation in King’s honor while approving the detainment of over 350 Arab immigrants based on their national origin and while continuing to ignore the 26,000 ballots cast by a mostly black population in Duval County, Florida in November of 2000, then isn’t this petitioner merely following in his example?
Oh, to follow the Gospel of a great man like Bush Jr.!
I walked away and pledged to myself that I would convert others to the practice of such a loyal American as this petitioner. Talking to friends that night after dinner, I found out that other petitioners were equally as ingenious and patriotic as the one I had encountered at the UCen; telling Latinos at the supermarket that the petition to prohibit data collection on race or ethnicity was a way to reduce discrimination on the job. Whoa.
Euphoria. How else could I describe the overwhelming sensation of beautiful fireworks going off in my head as I realized how blessed I am to have all around me these legionnaires of Bush’s holy vision?
I fell asleep and I had a dream: the Santa Barbara police meeting black men to apologize to them and to give them the patrol car keys; Arab men in turbans casually munching fried chicken as they stroll through LAX; Latino girls and boys receiving awards from white teachers for their dedication to learning Spanish; director Wong Kar-Wai walking onto a stage to receive his Academy Award.
Then I woke up.
Thomas Weng is a junior global studies major.