February 27th, 2006

Tuesday, February 28

"Quotes": Two.

Panel 1: Argh! FINALLY, the race issue is being brought up --- but not as an issue for either Paul or Liz, that we would have to see them struggling with. It's "Do your parents mind?", as if a) Paul an' Liz Forever is such an overwhelming force that little things like cultural differences get swept away like barn doors in a hurricane and b) Liz is still her parents' chattel and it matters what they think about any guy she dates, much less a guy who is half! Native.

Panel 2: But of course, the question is merely rhetorical; a chance for Liz to say "What, my parents: the most enlightened people on earth? Good gracious, no!" And I wonder why Liz looks so aghast. Based on her previous remarks, it can't be because the issue of race has never occured to her, so it must be that she's about to launch into a speech about how things like skin color and the bubble you fill in on a government form don't count for anything nearly as much as What Kind of Person You Are.

Panel 3: Bingo.

Panel 4: Oh, puke.

Panel 5: Now is that Liz talking, or Gary?

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So this is the "terrible information" non-crisis all over again. The so-called problem is presented just so it can be dismissed, because it's already been worked out by the characters. And this time, we really get a Message crammed down our throats.

And man, is this ever a loaded subject. FTR, when I fill out official forms, I put "human" when asked for race, and that's only if I'm denied the option of leaving it blank. My reason for doing that is not to be PC or to be a smartass, but because I believe that race is simply irrelevant when you're taking a standardized academic test or applying for government assistance. The kind of institutions that insist on gathering such information are, I strongly suspect, in the business of using it to skew statistics and make unfair judgements. I mean, all they need to know is that I have a good vocabulary and suck at math, or that I got laid off because my employer did some creative bookkeeping, so what difference does it make if I'm white, black or candy-apple red?

However, in other situations, I have no qualms about saying that I'm Italian-American, because there are cultural differences between I-As and say, Polish-Americans or African-Americans and so forth. It's not a matter of Us Vs. Them; I'm simply acknowledging that my cultural background has played some role in making me who I am. By bringing talk about "winners" into it, I think LJ is being unnecessarily smug and claiming that any mention of race or culture is discrimination, and that's not so.

(And furthermore, what destination, for cryin' out loud -- the grave? Everyone does not have the same goal in life; that's another thing that makes us all different.)