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I am a bigot

BY BEAU ELLIOT | JULY 28, 2009 7:07 AM

OK, I admit it: I’m bigoted.

Yes, I know in these heady “post-racial” days, we’re all supposed to be beyond bigotry; we have tossed prejudice aside the way we toss aside Styrofoam fast-food containers. Which seems to be any old place and any new place, just judging from walking around in this town.

(Speaking of which, what is it about my front yard that shouts out, Please throw a Styrofoam fast-food container here? Enough already. If you have some sort of neurotic compulsion to throw Styrofoam containers onto front yards, throw them in my neighbors’ yard. They’re undergrads; they won’t notice.)

(Hmmm ? there might be another prejudice lurking there.)

So I’m bigoted. I try to recognize it; I try to fight it. But it lingers.

You see, there are these people ? I can recognize them immediately, their dress, their actions, it’s almost as if I can smell them. Which is ludicrous, of course, because my allergies are so bad, especially this time of year, that I spend all my time either sneezing or blowing my nose and not smelling much of anything at all.

(Why don’t you take some pills for your allergies? you say. There are all kinds of pills for allergies, just like there are all kinds of pills for everything else. Except for prejudice.

(Well, uh, I’m prejudiced against pills. Yeah, I know it’s silly. I know it’s small of me. I try to recognize it; I try to fight it. But I just don’t want to hang with pills. I realize that makes me something of a, well, pill. Hmmm.)

But there these people. I just can’t stand them. I get around them, and my skin itches. (Well, OK, maybe that’s a mosquito bite.) I run into them in a department store (Are there still department stores? If you don’t have a car in this town, department stores seem to have gone the way of the dinosaurs. Or Coralville. If that’s not the same thing. Hmmm; another prejudice may be lurking.)

Anyway, let’s just say I run into these people in a department store. I immediately look around for store security to see if they’re being followed, because they’re obviously going to shoplift. I start following them, because they’re obviously going to shoplift.

They never do, but that’s no doubt because I’m following them. I gotta work on my surveillance skills.

Because these people are obviously thieves ? I mean, they’re preordained by their race. They’re also prone to violence. I come across them at night, I cross to the other side of the street. Don’t go looking for trouble; trouble will find you, goes the song, and that’s my motto.

And these people are everywhere. They’re places they’ve never been before. They’re all around us. And they’re just different from us.

I’m trying not to be bigoted here. Maybe there’s a 12-step program or something. Why not? There’s a 12-step program for everything else.

Who are these people? you say. You know them. Maybe even some of them are your friends.

They’re auto drivers. And they’re everywhere.

Dirty, polluting, global-climate-changing auto drivers.

But I’m working on my bigotry. I really am. I promise.

What? You thought I was talking about Henry Louis Gates? And police Sgt. James Crowley? (Well, I’m descended from O’Crowleys, but I’m reasonably certain this particular Crowley is no relation. I don’t think I’m related to Gates, either.)

That situation? Maybe they needed a wise Latina woman on the scene.


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