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Aug 2, 2007

Everyone's A Little Bit Racist

I've been reading over at Mocha Momma. She is a fabulous writer and I stop by on a regular basis for a refill of her wit and candor. Most recently she has been discussing racism. Go read. It's good stuff.

I am always flummoxed by this discussion and topic.

As a white woman, brought up in a blue collar family, in a mostly white suburb of San Francisco, by parents who are now entering their 70's, I was exposed to racism. I can, in fact, recall dinner conversations where the "N word" was used. My grandfather was insistent that the "Asiatics" (that's Asians) were taking over the world or at least San Francisco. Equal Opportunity threatened to take my father's job away from him- or at least that's how it was discussed at dinner.

I can remember using racial slurs in grammar school and making fun of the dyke's who lived down the street. Never to any one's face, but I had a circle of friends where this was acceptable or at least tolerated with each other. One of my friends was from the Philippines. I wonder now what he remembers about that time, what he thinks.

Today, I like to think of myself as not racist. I know I don't use derogatory terms other than dyke, but that's generally a word I use to describe myself or perhaps others of my ilk. (Which is another whole subject... along the lines of is it okay for black people to use the "N word"). I don't behave in any kind of racist manner. But, I think the reality is I am racist. I am a product of how I was raised. The kicker is, I also think EVERYONE is racist.

Each of is brought up differently. Religion, Race, Politics, Money, Work Ethic, Speech, Manners, Food, Music, Speech, Sexuality, Education, the list really is endless. If we tried harder to respect one another, tried a little bit of humanity, and dignity... (thanks for those words Mocha) There is so much I don't know, maybe if I said that, openly, clearly, respectfully, I could learn. We could learn. There really is way more to someone than their skin color.

A few years back I was fortunate to see Ave Q on Broadway. I think they covered it well... A bit of a humorous approach- obviously.


Everyone's A Little Bit Racist -lyrics-

Princeton:
Say, Kate, can I ask you a question?

Kate Monster:
Sure!

Princeton:
Well, you know Trekkie Monster upstairs?

Kate Monster:
Uh huh.

Princeton:
Well, he's Trekkie Monster, and you're Kate Monster.

Kate Monster:
Right.

Princeton:
You're both Monsters.

Kate Monster:
Yeah.

Princeton:
Are you two related?

Kate Monster:
What?! Princeton, I'm surprised at you! I find that racist!

Princeton:
Oh, well, I'm sorry! I was just asking!

Kate Monster:
Well, it's a touchy subject.
No, not all Monsters are related.
What are you trying say, huh?
That we all look the same to you?
Huh, huh, huh?

Princeton:
No, no, no, not at all. I'm sorry,
I guess that was a little racist.

Kate Monster:
I should say so. You should be much more
careful when you're talking about the
sensitive subject of race.

Princeton:
Well, look who's talking!

Kate Monster:
What do you mean?

Princeton:
What about that special Monster School you told me about?

Kate Monster:
What about it?

Princeton:
Could someone like me go there?

Kate Monster:
No, we don't want people like you-

Princeton:
You see?!

You're a little bit racist.

Kate Monster:
Well, you're a little bit too.

Princeton:
I guess we're both a little bit racist.

Kate Monster:
Admitting it is not an easy thing to do...

Princeton:
But I guess it's true.

Kate Monster:
Between me and you,
I think

Both:
Everyone's a little bit racist
Sometimes.
Doesn't mean we go
Around committing hate crimes.
Look around and you will find
No one's really color blind.
Maybe it's a fact
We all should face
Everyone makes judgments
Based on race.

Princeton:
Now not big judgments, like who to hire
or who to buy a newspaper from -

Kate Monster:
No!

Princeton:
No, just little judgments like thinking that Mexican
busboys should learn to speak goddamn English!

Kate Monster:
Right!

Both:
Everyone's a little bit racist
Today.
So, everyone's a little bit racist
Okay!
Ethinic jokes might be uncouth,
But you laugh because
They're based on truth.
Don't take them as
Personal attacks.
Everyone enjoys them -
So relax!

Princeton:
All right, stop me if you've heard this one.

Kate Monster:
Okay!

Princeton:
There's a plan going down and there's only
one paracute. And there's a rabbi, a priest...

Kate Monster:
And a black guy!

Gary Coleman:
Whatchoo talkin' 'bout Kate?

Kate Monster:
Uh...

Gary Coleman:
You were telling a black joke!

Princeton:
Well, sure, Gary, but lots of people tell black jokes.

Gary Coleman:
I don't.

Princeton:
Well, of course you don't - you're black!
But I bet you tell Polack jokes, right?

Gary Coleman:
Well, sure I do. Those stupid Polacks!

Princeton:
Now, don't you think that's a little racist?

Gary Coleman:
Well, damn, I guess you're right.

Kate Monster:
You're a little bit racist.

Gary Coleman:
Well, you're a little bit too.

Princeton:
We're all a little bit racist.

Gary Coleman:
I think that I would
Have to agree with you.

Princeton/Kate Monster:
We're glad you do.

Gary Coleman:
It's sad but true!
Everyone's a little bit racist -

All right!

Kate Monster:
All right!

Princeton:
All right!

Gary Coleman:
All right!
Bigotry has never been
Exclusively white

All:
If we all could just admit
That we are racist a little bit,
Even though we all know
That it's wrong,
Maybe it would help us
Get along.

Princeton:
Oh, Christ do I feel good.

Gary Coleman:
Now there was a fine upstanding black man!

Princeton:
Who?

Gary Coleman:
Jesus Christ.

Kate Monster:
But, Gary, Jesus was white.

Gary Coleman:
No, Jesus was black.

Kate Monster:
No, Jesus was white.

Gary Coleman:
No, I'm pretty sure that Jesus was black-

Princeton:
Guys, guys...Jesus was Jewish!

Brian:
Hey guys, what are you laughing about?

Gary Coleman:
Racism!

Brian:
Cool.

Christmas Eve:
BRIAN! Come back here!
You take out lecycuraburs!

Princeton:
What's that mean?

Brian:
Um, recyclables.
Hey, don't laugh at her!
How many languages do you speak?

Kate Monster:
Oh, come off it, Brian!
Everyone's a little bit racist.

Brian:
I'm not!

Princeton:
Oh no?

Brian:
Nope!

How many Oriental wives
Have you got?

Christmas Eve:
What? Brian!

Princeton:
Brian, buddy, where you been?
The term is Asian-American!

Christmas Eve:
I know you are no
Intending to be
But calling me Oriental -
Offensive to me!

Brian:
I'm sorry, honey, I love you.

Christmas Eve:
And I love you.

Brian:
But you're racist, too.

Christmas Eve:
Yes, I know.
The Jews have all
The money
And the whites have all
The power.
And I'm always in taxi-cab
With driver who no shower!

Princeton:
Me too!

Kate Monster:
Me too!

Gary Coleman:
I can't even get a taxi!

All:
Everyone's a little bit racist
It's true.
But everyone is just about
As racist as you!
If we all could just admit
That we are racist a little bit,
And everyone stopped being
So PC
Maybe we could live in -
Harmony!

Christmas Eve:
Evlyone's a ritter bit lacist!

2 comments:

Bacchus said...

First I love this song. I saw it at the Wynn in Vegas and I'm hoping to see it in San Fran.

Hubby and I have been talking about the subtleties of our own upbringing and experiences with racism. It can be a little upsettling.

Thanks for writing this.

Tracey said...

Those lyrics sound like they're for a really good play. And I agree, we are all racist to a certain degree. It doesn't matter how you were brought up, something will rub off onto a child from either family or society and they will accept it as fact, to some degree. Whether or not you "act" on it is a different story. You can unconsciously feel something, and then realize it, rationalize that that is the most RACIST feeling, and try and squash it, only to find the same thought resurfacing in a different situation. It's very frustrating. But all we can do is continue to pay attention to our reactions and thoughts, and the reasons behind them, and CHOOSE to act appropriately.