Racists are a sad lot, caught between pity and revulsion. Not having any training in psychiatry, I am not sure if racism arises out of lack of intelligence or some complex, such as feelings of inferiority. There can be no other explanation for anyone criticizing--or even mentioning--another person’s ethnic background. Anyone that does only raises questions about that person’s mental condition.
Supposedly, the taste of a madeleine caused old Marcel Proust to recall his past. Watermelon did the trick for me.
I like watermelon, but only good watermelon. Each time I eat some, I recall summer trips to visit relatives in Virginia during my early years. The drive was long and hot (glad I wasn’t driving), but the excitement of long trips erased any displeasure. These trips are always associated with black farmers selling huge watermelons off trucks beside the road (no Interstate back then) in the part of Virginia the sticks up into Maryland across the Chesapeake Bay. I recall the price: 2 cents a pound, and buying an eighteen pounder: 36 cents.
That was a time of first exposure to racial inequality, because I noticed the shacks in which those farmers dwelled.
The watermelons I buy now are round and about the size of a basketball (have I mentioned that this is a dumb sport?), but the flavor can be sublime. Most are grown in Spain, but not all are equally flavorful. Supermarket melons tend to not so good, whereas ones from my fruit and veg Turk are great...and always gives me those Proust moments.
David Remnick, editor of the New Yorker, is one of the best, most-insightful writers around (leading a pack of that magazine’s great writers). In a recent piece (http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/newsdesk/2011/04/trump-birtherism-and-race-baiting.html), he addressed the ridiculous issue surrounding Obama’s birth. The entire fabricated mess underlines the stupidity and gullibility of people, since recent polls suggest that a not insignificant number of US citizens question his origins.
There is more behind this than a mere birth certificate. By questioning his birth, nasty people have come up with a convenient euphemism. Convention does not allow anyone (in public, that is) to attack the color of his skin. Added to that is his unusual name and (inappropriate) middle name in an age when all things Muslim are suspect and, for many, evil. Nasty characters (Limbaugh, Beck, Trump, various Republican politicians, et al) take advantage of human foibles (a word related to feeble) for personal gain—monetary, name recognition, and/or inflated self-worth.
These characters know how to stir up emotions among those that cannot accept a black man as president (or anything else that appears to be superior themselves); cannot accept a black man as being intellectually superior (after years of basking in Bush/Cheney intellectual heaven); and cannot accept a black man that is a pragmatic realist (as opposed to rabid, dogmatic Republican stonewaller). These people need, and are conveniently presented with, a bogeyman that can be blamed for their own lack of accomplishment, the country’s decline (much of it caused by Republicans and greedy businessmen, who transferred jobs overseas to increase profits), and the grim future they imagine will be caused by this evil force in the White House.
There is no remedy for Obama's problems, because the First Amendment lets anyone say anything, no matter how untruthful or how idiotic...and some media will repeat and multiply the words. The self-serving will always seek to take advantage of the weak, stupid, and gullible in the land of the free and the home of the credulous.
Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.