An Iranian, a Polynesian and a Jew were at work one day. The Polynesian and the Iranian were having a discussion about race. It seems they were talking about white people. The Iranian, seeing the Jew (yours truly) close by, approached him and asked if he could contribute his own opinion to their dispute. The Iranian said to me “you’re rather brown yourself, so from your experience, do white people resent it when a brown person shows himself to be smarter than them? Isn’t it true that whites usually like to consider themselves smarter than other races?” (or something to that effect). Of course I immediately told the Iranian that whites tend to be the most accepting and tolerant of any race on Earth. This was not the answer that he expected to hear – but the Polynesian replied, “see! I told you so”. The Iranian proceeded to explain that, in Texas, he found whites to be arrogant. I told him that this might sometimes be the case but that he should consider other factors that may lead to their resentment, such as his accent. Also, nobody likes others to outdo them intellectually, regardless of race. Then, paradoxically, he switched to black people and how they often under-perform, leaving the heavy work for others.
What struck me is that the Iranian is an exceedingly friendly person. He and I get along famously and he is always smiling. In contrast, there has often been friction between myself and the Polynesian. If I had to guess which of the two held stereotypical views about whites, I would have picked the Polynesian. But racial attitudes cannot be gauged solely on other personality traits. Furthermore, it is possible that the friendly, smiley, Iranian is not so friendly and smiley toward whites. Perhaps he is nicer to me because he does not perceive me as white.
I am reminded of an odd childhood experience. I must have been about 14 years old at the time. A black boy, at school, had decided to befriend me. We visited each other a couple of times and had some interesting conversations. It turned out that he was very much intrigued by the black Muslim movement. He showed me pictures of Muslims hurling stones at a large white boulder. He explained that the white boulder symbolized whites and this was one way they showed their disdain for whites, who represented the Devil. It soon became clear that he only befriended me because he did not consider me “white”. Still, there were plenty of other non-whites he could have befriended and, as far as I could tell, I was the only one so “honored”. To that friendship I said, “thanks but no thanks”.
Though I can’t prove it, I am fairly certain that some of my interactions with Mestizos have been similarly colored. I get the impression that a similar skin tone makes us “brothers” on some level, even though they must realize I am not actually one of them. I know a Puerto Rican who was in prison for a few years. I asked him how a member of an ethnic group, that has few members in prison, would find protection. If the inmate is the only Arab or Pakistani, for example, wouldn’t the other inmates make his life a living hell? He answered that such an inmate can become an honorary member of the Samoan, or Mexican group and find protection among them. It was clear that neither whites nor blacks would normally accept a brown person as a member.
It seems to be a natural human tendency to treat those who look like ourselves better than we treat those who look different. America has enough of each race, at this point, that most of us experience a range of racial friendliness levels as we go through life. It is silly to complain about a lack of friendliness, from some members of a different race, when a surplus of friendliness can be had among members of one’s own race (or a similarly looking race, as the case may be). If one finds himself in an area where he feels racially out of place, instead of complaining, he should move to a different area. If he does not do this, then he obviously enjoys the company of a different race more than his own.
Those in power, unfortunately, do not sees things this way. Their approach is to force us together in the (ostensible) hope that we will all treat each other the same – in other words, that we will cease being human. Personally, I’d rather be a “racist”.