IPFS Menckens Ghost

More About: Racism

No More Racial Problems in America

If you were part of the equal rights movement decades ago, as I was, then take a bow.  Due to your efforts, there is no longer any racism in America or significant differences between races in income, test scores, school dropouts, crime, incarceration, out-of-wedlock births, or welfare dependency

We've accomplished something that no other multiracial society has ever accomplished:  complete racial equality and harmony.

Well, at least that's what product commercials want us to believe, for whatever reason.

For example, it seems that scores of commercials have sprung up almost overnight, showing interracial couples on dates or in domestic bliss.  White men and black women make up most of the couples.

All of the white guys are hip dudes.  They have the requisite 2.356 millimeters of facial hair, no more, no less, and drive either a Subaru or a Mercedes, depending on what segment of hip-dude millennials the commercials are trying to reach.   These cars are from Japan and Germany, two countries with tiny black populations and histories of the worst kind of racism; yet, cynically, they use idealized diversity to sell their cars in America.   

For whatever reason, multiracial couples are not shown in commercials for mammoth pickup trucks.  Maybe truck commercials are trying to appeal to less enlightened dudes, maybe even deplorables, who—egad!—don't live on one of the coasts in the same neighborhoods as Amazon hip dudes.

The black women in the multiracial commercials are all as thin as Whitney Houston was before her tragic death.  You would never know that 57% of black women over the age of 20 are obese, that 44% have hypertension, and that they have diabetes at 2.5 times the rate of white women.  Of course, plenty of white woman are also obese, especially lower-income ones, although there is little evidence of this in commercials, either.

The good news is that black women can now get great medical care from black physicians, who, judging by their numbers in commercials, are just as prevalent as Jewish physicians.  The same for other professional occupations.

Family gatherings and other social activities in commercials look like a lounge at the United Nations, but populated with hipster dudes and dudettes instead of middle-aged diplomats.  All races and nationalities can be seen socializing, laughing, hugging and having a great time—which, granted, might accurately describe the situation in a handful of hip cities, where the top echelons of different races live in proximity to each other, are in the same socioeconomic class, have similar education, and share the same values, political beliefs, and interests.  They even patronize establishments that might look different but have the same food and drinks as most other establishments in other hip cities.

The nouveau riche, however, are not representative of the rest of America, and certainly not in income. Married hip professionals can easily earn four times as much as couples in the heartland, which makes them insensitive to the tax increases that they endorse.

Although hunting is still a major social activity in America, it's no surprise that there are no commercials showing the comradery of hunters or the family celebration when a hunter brings home a deer or turkey for the holidays.   After all, such throwback cultural values and heritage are beneath the superior intellects and sophistication of the inhabitants of the bicoastal echo chambers in advertising agencies and the hip hallowed halls of Google, Facebook and Amazon.

Granted, the interracial commercials are certainly far better than when minorities were missing from commercials and the larger media.  And it is great progress that interracial dating and marriage are no longer a societal taboo and in violation of miscegenation laws.  Society has made such progress in race relations that in my extended family alone, there are two mixed marriages; and in my circle of acquaintances, there are three more.  (I'm not counting my WASP wife marrying this swarthy Catholic Italian.)  Also, of course, Barack Obama, Tiger Woods, and other noted people had interracial parents.

So, what's wrong with the commercials?  Two things.

First, it could be just my cynicism and distrust of the advertising industry, but the sudden proliferation of the interracial commercials makes me wonder how the change came about.  It seems as if someone in New York flipped a master switch.  

Maybe the commercials are simply a reflection of positive societal changes.  Or maybe they are a form of signaling, in which the advertisers signal to their target audience of millennials that they have the required open-mindedness about diversity.

On the other hand, maybe the commercials are an attempt to change societal thinking.  This isn't as farfetched as it may seem.  After all, it's well known that HGTV has a social agenda in featuring gay and interracial couples in its programming in numbers that are way out of proportion to their representation in the population.

But these are minor matters compared to a much more serious concern:  that the commercials are portraying a racial utopia that doesn't exist, thus diverting attention from serious racial problems that do exist.  

Ironically, sometimes the problems can be seen in the shows that follow the commercials, especially the reality shows, where the reality is completely at odds with the commercials.   

For example, one recent show on National Geographic took viewers into a maximum-security prison, where, like most prisons, the prisoners are segregated into black, Mexican and white cellblocks.  Segregation is necessary, because the races would kill each other if they were mingled.

Even with the segregation, they still find ways of killing each other, usually in a recreational yard with homemade knives.  As seen on prison cameras, some of the attacks are horribly vicious, with victims being stabbed multiple times by multiple attackers, for the simple offense of being the wrong race.  Clearly, unlike what the brainwashing media want us to believe, white skinheads don't have the market cornered on racial hatred. 

Another real-life reality show is about the drug trade in America and the brutality of Mexican drug cartels.  Even if pot were completely legalized, and even if the incarceration of drug users were replaced by treatment, America's insatiable demand for meth, fentanyl, cocaine and heroin would continue to fuel the drug trade and all of the corresponding crime, corruption, and enforcement costs, as well as the indirect and unmeasurable social costs of drug addiction, such as broken families and lower productivity.  Yet people who like to see themselves as kind, sensitive, caring and hip continue to consume illicit drugs for recreational purposes, thus contributing to the carnage here at home and in other countries, especially among minorities.  In a sense, they have blood on their hands.

Still another real-life reality show is "The First 48," which follows multiracial homicide detectives in various cities as they try to solve murders, most of which are committed by African Americans and Mexican Americans, often over drugs.  (By contrast, white men have a near-monopoly on mass shootings.)  A particularly chilling episode was about a white woman who was burned alive in a car by her black boyfriend.  In a different episode, another white woman was shot in the head by the black father of her two children.  Her sister told the detectives that her murdered sibling had dated the killer because she felt sorry for him due to his hard life. 

The murdered woman's thinking is reminiscent of the young liberal Jewish woman from Massachusetts who dated Barack Obama's father and followed him to Kenya and married him, only to subsequently find out that he was already married and was an alcoholic and wife beater.

By no means is this to suggest that thugs only come in one color.  If, for example, this Italian had a daughter, I'd advise her to stay away from Sicilian men who resemble the gangsters in the "Godfather," a movie that perpetuated a somewhat deserved racial stereotype.  Don't try to save them by dating or marrying them, I'd say to her, just because they had a bad childhood in violent, hardscrabble Sicily.

This brings to mind the scene in the "Godfather" where Al Pacino proposes to white-bread Diane Keaton and lies that he is not a criminal like the rest of his family.  His criminality and violent temper eventually destroy the marriage.  Or take the white guy Carlo, who marries into the Corleone family and cheats on his Italian wife and beats her.  Her brother Sonny takes revenge and beats the crap out of him, and he is finally garroted in a car at the end of the movie for being a turncoat.

I digressed.  Back to the subject at hand.

To paraphrase Martin Luther King, the content of someone's character is more important than the content of commercials.  Likewise, it's more important to do something about America's racial problems than to engage in symbolism.  To this point, two actions can help African Americans and Latin Americans more than just about anything else.

The first is to reduce the demand for illicit drugs, by making a personal decision not to use such drugs recreationally, or by informing others that it is not hip to use drugs that destroy minority communities, or, if necessary, by shaming and ostracizing those who speak in pieties and platitudes about race and then ignore the harm they cause to primarily blacks and Latins by using illicit drugs.

The second is to be vocal and politically active in stopping social policies that have resulted in the tragedy of 70% of black children growing up without their biological father in their lives as a positive role model, which in turn is a major cause of crime, school dropouts, and low test scores.

Alternatively, you can watch commercials of biracial couples and multiracial gatherings and think that everything is okay.