After passing over the Brian Wilson biography (too expensive) and about a dozen awful looking hipster books that probably took 20 minutes to put together, I saw a book that I had vague memories of reading a review of. I picked it up, opened up the flap to read the blurb, and my heart sank. Because I hate black people.
Now don't get me wrong. I don't enjoy hating black people. I don't have a hood and robe in my closet or anything, and I've never screamed white power unironically. I have black friends, vote for black politicians blah blah blah, but there's a particular type of recent art that just...bothers me. Miscegenation art. This novel was one of a recent crop about a young black man basically whining about how difficult it is to live with a white woman. It's a fairly common theme these days, and there are several reasons why it rubs me the wrong way. First of all it is overwhelmingly minority male white female focused. You see almost no books or movies about how tough it is for a white guy to get along with a black woman (I can think of two examples, the excruciating Guess Who's Coming To Dinner remake starring Ashton Kutcher, and Something New, both of which were from the POV of the woman's family) To be fair this seems, from cursory examination, to be how it is in reality. Secondly, and relatedly, there seems to be an element of co-objectification in many of the relationships. The white woman representing a level of desireability that black women cannot achieve, while the black man is hypermasculinized, or the act of dating him is seen as subversive. Of course this is not true in every interracial relationship, many, even most, are just two people who like eachother for whatever reasons people like eachother, but the stereotypes remain and are sometimes legitimately at play.
But it's not about that. It's just sexual insecurity on my part. I have no issue with black woman/white male couples, and in fact I'm not bothered by any interracial couples where I actually know the parties involved as people, rather than abstract stereotypes. I'm merely insecure with my own lack of sexual desirability and don't want to compete with a larger pool of other men, even though miscegenation objectively has many social and genetic benefits. The truth is that intellectually I have no issue with it, I am bothered on a purely emotional level. It certainly isn't something I'm proud of.
So I picked up the book, was reminded of my racism, and cursed myself, because now the anonymous woman had justice on her side. In the invisible ledger in my mind she now had the out that she hadn't rejected me so rudely for shallow reasons but merely because she doesn't like spending time with people who loath her dark-skinned brothers. Of course I could invalidate that by buying the miscegenation novel and conquering my racist impulses.
I picked up a collection of short stories by Michael Chabon.
On the way back home I tested out a Metrocard I'd picked up off the ground that morning. The woman in front of me had used the card and then dropped it on the ground before stepping through the turnstile. I picked it up before going through and was going to hand it to her when I realized that she might not have dropped it by accident. The card might have been out of juice and she might just have been a litterbug. I paused for a second and before I could say anything she stepped into the Brooklyn bound train and was gone.
Last night I found out the metrocard was not only still good, but was a monthly unlimited. So I basically stole the poor girl's $70 train card.
What with the racism and the stealing young girls' train fare it's surprising I have time to go to the movies at all.
*Tom Waits does not, in fact, feel my pain. Tom Waits' pain is boozy gruff voiced 3 AM tough guy pain. My pain is fat nerdy geek pain. They're entirely different kinds of pain. His kind involves more bleeding and vomiting and herpes.