September 17th, 2009 22:01 EST
Color Blind, Mr. Carter?
Jimmy, Jimmy, Jimmy. Why do you jump to such outrageous conclusions? Are you lusting for publicity? You make it very difficult for even a liberal conservative, such as me, to take you seriously. Yes, yes, Mr. President, as you say, you grew-up in the south. That doesn`t explain why you see the world through peanut-colored glasses.
What is really missing in the racism debate is honesty and accuracy. In her own unique way, Wanda Sykes pretty well summed it up in her remarks at the 2009 Whitehouse Correspondence dinner, "But, this is amazing. You know, the first black president-- I know you`re biracial-- but, the first black president. Uh, uh, you know, you can be proud to be able to say that. You know, the first black president. Well, you know, that`s unless you screw up. Then it`s gonna be, "Hey, what`s up with the half-white guy, huh?"
The laughter lulled uncomfortably, however, when Ms. Sykes added, "Who voted for the Mulatto?" What the hell?"
Is she a racist? No, she is not. What she is, is funny! Please don`t stone her in the street! As to Mr. Carter, however, I fear he expressed that which is in his own heart. The great writer Ben Johnson explained it best, "They that know no evil will suspect none." Oh, Jimmy, Mr. Jimmy.
If only these boils would go away. Hatred, racism, sexism, violence, war-- be gone! It`s been my life-long dream. So, I share with you a story I wrote in my senior year, 1967, at the age of 17. My high school English teacher, Dr. Marvin Nochman, graded it with an "A." Three months later, I submitted it to satisfy an assignment in my freshman English class at Bob Jones University. The professor there graded it as "C."
Certainly, Mr. Carter and Miss Sykes could tell you why. I have my own ideas; you can decide for yourself.
Now as I look back to it all, my life seems an involved and confusing experience. However, I think there are a few, better points that perhaps might out-weigh the not so pleasant ones.
When my life began, I was indeed very young. The days began to pass quickly, leaving the effects of reality to scar and influence my otherwise innocent mind. All too soon I began to understand more clearly the feelings of my society and the ideals I was to inherit from my environment.
Life in the small town of Prejulus was a very exciting and thrilling one for me. The sparkling lights and gay music were all part of my life. I was accepted as one of the most eligible young men in town. Even though I could continue to inform you of my outstanding popularity, modesty prohibits my doing so. The fact still remains, however, that in the days of my prime, I was considered, in short, the most desirable bachelor in town.
In an effort to help you understand more clearly, I will try to explain my physical features to you. But not, you must understand, to impress you. As I told you before, I was very handsome and most desirable. My hair was blond; I had a marvelous physique, a rare quality of most men my age. (I say men " because I felt I was completely mature at 18-- but what 18-year-old man doesn`t feel the same?) I also had fair skin. Most important, however, my eyes were BLUE. Above all, this is the most important feature!
After all, one must have blue eyes before one is to be considered a member of society. Well, I had everything. After all, it`s only right that those special individuals who have been selected to look through the color of blue should have some distinction over those less fortunate souls who must travel through life with the miserable color of brown. Surely you must feel the same. Nevertheless, this is the way in which the society of my day felt.
Through the years, however, these ideals became more evident to me; I began to regard them respectfully.
What more could a fellow want? I had blue eyes. Yes, and accordingly, I had just about everything.
Nevertheless, I must proceed. One afternoon I was browsing through a rather old-looking section of town. More or less (and probably more) I was trying to occupy myself until time to prepare for the Annual Governor`s Ball. I was most anxious. In one attempt to forget the time, I happened to stroll into a little corner-stone shop. I met a most lovely young lady.
She sold eye glasses which, at the time, was not too prosperous an occupation. Although she was feeling rather disappointed, she remained most pleasant with me regardless of the fact that I was not intending to buy a pair of glasses. As I talked with her, I immediately learned that she possessed several qualities.
She was a fabulous conversationalist, she undoubtedly was a good-natured person, and she was considerate to all who came into her little shop. Because she, and the rest of her family, had brown eyes, her life has been a very difficult one. All persons who have brown eyes also inherit a long, dull, hard life. Thus, Laurie was one who inherited this life.
Even though Laurie was unfortunate enough to possess this handicap, I could not help but like, respect and admire her. After a few trips to the little store, I began to realize just how sweet and understanding she really was. What was I to do? She was beautiful and very desirable. I wanted her to be my choice in life, but her eyes were BROWN.
Time passed quickly until I decided to change tradition. I didn`t want to continue seeing Laurie in secrecy. Therefore, going against all the better judgment expressed by our relatives and friends of Prejulus, this blue-eyed boy who was very much accepted in society, married a brown-eyed girl who (as tradition holds) was a misfit.
After Laurie and I were married, we had to work very hard in order to support ourselves. Naturally, after we had broken the sacred tradition, we were no longer considered a member of my family nor of Laurie`s. Regardless of the struggle, however, I felt Laurie and I were very happy together. I had decided that I was not going to hold her brown eyes against her. Even when she would lose her temper, argue with me, or cry, I was determined not to tell her the reason she behaved so irrationally.
How well I remember the day Laurie let our dog out, as she did every day. Laurie went to work early, forgetting about our puppy. When I came home I was naturally very upset when I discovered him missing. I searched for him diligently, but all to no avail. However, I did not say that I thought her brown eyes played an important role in her absentmindedness. Nor did I remind her about the other character traits she possessed because of her brown eyes. I loved Laurie, and I finally became confident that I would never use Laurie`s eye color against her.
It was quite a few years before Laurie finally conceived a child. This brought Laurie and me even closer to each other. We now knew from our own experiences how hard a society can be. However, we were now confronted with a new and even more depressing frustration. What color eyes would our baby have?
What a long nine months it turned out to be! The day finally came, however, and Laurie gave birth to a bouncing baby boy. We were both so proud. When the doctor came in to inform us of the baby`s condition, we asked the crucial question. What color were his eyes? To our shock and heartache, we were informed that our baby was born with one brown eye and one blue!
Oh, problems now began on a full scale. Our son was an outcast from the social world entirely. More, perhaps, than Laurie and I had been. Neither blue-eyed society nor the brown would accept him.
Life was now very painful for us all. Our son grew-up, regardless of the situation. Life must go on-- and it did. Our son became a very mature young man of whom we were very proud.
The only thing I can say now to tell the entire story, and to convey my feelings toward the incidents of my life would be this:
Laurie had brown eyes, mine were blue and Karl had one of each.
But nevertheless, when the plague struck our town, we all died--