Five Things I Learned in 2020, Part 1: EVERYWHERE IS RACIST

Yeah so 2020, amirite? It sucked, blah blah blah. Here’s some stuff I learned:


Before 2020 hit, I, like most normal people, thought that racism (the everyday conversational kind, not the institutional kind) was mainly confined to the usual places. You know, like Michigan and Missouri. Oh, and also Ohio. And let’s not forget Kansas and Arkansas. Oklahoma too. And we can’t leave out the South. Basically, before 2020 I used to think that racism mostly existed in the 95% of America that isn’t the west coast and maybe New England. Is Nova Scotia ours? If so, maybe count them too.

Turns out? Turns out racism is everywhere, and it just took people being pushed to their breaking point for it to be revealed. Just go to my own birth-town, Huntington Beach, CA, and talk to someone who was just ejected from a Whole Foods for not wearing a mask and you’ll find all the proof you need that racism isn’t just for the inbred and toothless. The Botoxed and spray-tanned love it, too.

Not only is racism not simply geographical, it’s also not simply a matter of political affiliation. Sure, when a middle-aged white guy carpet-bombs his casual conversations with N-words you can be pretty sure which political party he is aligned with, but that doesn’t exonerate the “other side,” it’s just more subtle on the blue side of the aisle.

Instead of just coming out and saying that black people are poor because they’re lazy or criminals because they’re naturally uncivilized, the espresso-sipping Ivory Tower elitist and MSNBC pundit may wonder aloud whether institutional racism is really the negative force that some say it is, while bemusedly wondering why “these people” aren’t more grateful that those racist institutions will now be run by other black people. I mean, healthcare during a pandemic would be nice, but it pales in politically-correct significance to being denied it by a female person of color, right? If only she were trans. . . .

Likewise, it’s wonderful to affirm that black lives indeed do matter, but then to drone on about how looting is violence and that nothing will be accomplished by “burning down your own neighborhood” only betrays an ignorance to poor people’s plight that may not be racist, technically speaking, but which is pretty tone-deaf nevertheless.

So congrats on not dropping N-bombs, really. But if your answer to the systemic racism in this country is either “Shut up and dribble” or “Get out and vote,” you’re not really helping.