It’s taken me a week, but I finally got to hear of an asinine article called “If I were a poor black kid” by some techie troll at Forbes. I’m not linking to the piece because, as this smart woman points out, that’s what the guy wants.
It is comforting to believe that we, through our sheer will, could transcend these bindings — to believe that if we were slaves, our indomitable courage would have made us Frederick Douglass, if we were slave masters our keen morality would have made us Bobby Carter, that were we poor and black our sense of Protestant industry would be a mighty power sending gang leaders, gang members, hunger, depression and sickle cell into flight. We flatter ourselves, not out of malice, but out of instinct.
Still, we are, in the main, ordinary people living in plush times. We are smart enough to get by, responsible enough to raise a couple of kids, thrifty to sock away for a vacation, and industrious enough to keep the lights on. We like our cars. We love a good cheeseburger. We’d die without air-conditioning. In the great mass of humanity that’s ever lived, we are distinguished only by our creature comforts, but on the whole, mediocre.
That mediocrity is oft-exemplified by the claim that though we are unremarkable in this easy world, something about enslavement, degradation and poverty would make us exemplary.
As the Whitlams used to sing, 400 miles from Darwin…