An Undiscovered Whiteman

Z: This group is rather odd. I do not know that I can relate.
Whiteman: You are not better than anyone else here, and we all have the same problem.
Z: I never said I was better than anyone here, nor that we did not all have the same problem. I said it was a rather odd group, and that I did not know that I could relate.
Whiteman: We are all equal!
Z: But not exactly alike.
Whiteman: I, too, once wanted my disease to be unique.
Z: I have always wanted my diseases to be known diseases, ideally with standard cures.
Whiteman: How arrogant! You expect a cure! We are all equal, I told you!
Z (off): Perhaps you and your group do have an incurable disease….and not one I know….


2 thoughts on “An Undiscovered Whiteman

  1. In preparation for my Book Cafe presentation, I made a number of notes, among which included this dialogue:

    Westerner: “But people could not have behaved that way towards you. It lacks logic — unless the logic behind it is that you were provoking this bad behaviour in them. You are surely just inventing stories in order to feel better than everybody else, then.”

    Me: “Not at all! These were devastating events I am describing, which I didn’t enjoy at all. Having experienced them by no means marks me as ‘better’ than anybody else. For all I know, I could be worse than others, and not better, but ….”

    Westerner: “Ah then it has become absolutely clear that you have an inferiority complex, and that is why you are making these things up.”

    Me: “Certainly, I don’t! All I was trying to suggest is that my situation was (and remains) unlike your own. It’s not about being better off or worse off than you. I’m talking about my situation being simply …. different…”

    Westerner: “Aha! But now you’ve really indicted yourself, unquestionably. You are claiming that you are the NEW, REVOLUTIONARY soap powder that we have all been waiting for… somebody ‘different’ from the rest. Hmph! What absolute arrogance. You’re no more special than anybody else.”

  2. There was a blog thread somewhere a while back about an article positing the idea of racism as mental illness; a lot of people wrote in to say that this was a problem since it let the perpetrators and perpetrating system off the hook; still, it’s instructive to remember that it’s the crazy-making discourse that’s crazy.

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