A Practical Guide to Racism Paperback – Dec 30 2008
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aAs everyone knows, there's only one thing that can end racism: laughter. Or fire. This book is a ready source of both. Read it with someone you hate.a aJon Stewart, "The Daily Show" aAn insightful and provocative treatise on race.?a aJohn Hodgman, author of "The Areas of My Expertise" aMr. Dalton's book is sure to soothe, or possibly inflame, racial hatred.a aGeorge Meyer, writer and producer for "The Simpsons"
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
A PRACTICAL GUIDE TO RACISM
A PRACTICAL GUIDE TO RACISM
C. H. DALTON
4. Indians (and Injuns)
I. Sexual Races
II. Ancient Races
III. Interracial Dating
IV. Questionable Races
V. The Good Ones
VI. Crania of the Races
VII. A Glossary of Racial Epithets
A PRACTICAL GUIDE TO RACISM
“The horse, the ass, the zebra, and the quagga are distinct species and distinct types: and so with the Jew, the Teuton, the Sclavonian, the Mongol, the Australian, the coast Negro, the Hottentot, &c.”
—Josiah Clark Nott, Types of Mankind
The human race is not actually a race. It is a species, but it is divided into several convenient races, like Black, White, Asian, and Mixed. These divisions are based on subtle biological differences, and expressed physiologically in things like skin color, eye slantiness, and leg ashiness. Racism is the dislike of another race as a whole, or of another person solely because he is a member of a certain race.
As the title implies, this book is meant to serve as a practical guide to racism, for both racists and non-racists alike. It will explore the different stereotypes associated with members of different races and ethnic groups, as well as their origin and basis in fact. Are Swedish women really able to suck the chrome off a trailer hitch? No, of course not, but the stereotype is rooted in their extraordinary talent for oral sex.
We will also look at historical examples of racism, especially here in America, and the extent to which racism has been institutionalized or officially sanctioned,1. but mostly we will be dealing with the use of stereotypes, epithets, and racial caricatures.
Like this one. This one doesn’t even make sense.
Fig. 1. “An Irish Jig”
Fig. 2. “The Irish Frankenstein”
The concept of race is controversial, since variation within the traditionally established races is often far more extreme than between any two ethnic groups, but to say that we don’t divide each other into races would be to ignore thousands of years of human history. Not to mention the fact that white people drive a car like this:
While black people drive a car like this:
Despite increasing globalization and intermarriage, or “miscegenation,” there are still distinct and important differences between members of the different races. Since the subtlety and scope of those differences are far too complicated to be helpful to us in everyday life, we employ certain heuristics, or “stereotypes,” to better understand and more comfortably interact with those different from ourselves. Like the Maori.
Such stereotypes are sometimes controversial, because they can oversimplify the differences between individuals. Every person is different, and it is rare for someone to fit a stereotype perfectly. Except for so-called “walking stereotypes,” like Carson from Queer Eye.2. Others don’t have any of the characteristics ascribed to their race in such stereotypes. It’s an imperfect science at best.
For example, just because the Maori are, in general, lazy, selfish, and long-winded, that does not mean that noted Maori opera singer Kiri Te Kanawa is any of those things. In fact, she is only two of them, because she is a soprano, and sopranos tend to be very succinct.
Even so, stereotypes can be very useful in our everyday social interactions and decision-making. They are actually a kind of survival instinct—a crude form of received inductive reasoning that can help us make snap judgments in situations where we don’t have all the facts.
When entering into a business deal with someone of Roma descent, for instance, I am very careful of my possessions. Knowing the stereotype that gypsies are tramps and thieves,3. I am able to better protect myself when coming into contact with them, and my increased vigilance might save me from becoming a victim. At any moment, a baby could come flying at me and, when I catch it, a young, dark-haired girl will steal my camera.
(If you find yourself confronted with this particular scam, it is better to drop the baby. Another little known stereotype is that gypsy children are unusually sturdy.)
Similarly, if I were looking for someone to lend me money, a Jewish person would be unlikely to help me, because they are traditionally parsimonious. It is best not to even ask, at the risk of being subjected to one of their patented “guilt trips” or, worse, jewed out of what money I do have.4.
That’s why words like “jewed” and “gypped” exist. Are you calling Noah Webster a racist?
I bring this up because it is important to keep in mind the difference between stereotypes and racism. Stereotypes are a useful, if flawed, mechanism for surviving in a multicultural world, but racism is saying them out loud.
Racism is about more than just making impolitic comments, though; it is about hatred. Broad stereotypes often fuel racism, but merely believing a stereotype about another race doesn’t make you a racist.5. After all, some of my best friends are members of other races. So stereotypes are kind of a sine qua non of racism—a without which not of hating people different from yourself, if you will.
Racism doesn’t need to stop at personal distaste, though. Many racists in positions of power have used their standing to oppress and even kill entire groups of people. I can’t condone that kind of violence, but it’s hard to argue with the science behind it. If eugenics and racialist phrenology have taught us nothing else, it’s that we can, through selective breeding, eliminate all those with a pronounced ideality lump on their left temple.6.
Being labeled a racist in today’s society can be extremely damaging to your reputation and your career, whether you’re a stand-up comedian, a movie star, or a radio host. And if you’re a true racist, minorities will be able to tell. They have an innate ability to sense when someone is being racist, a kind of radar for racism that I call “racism-dar,” or “ra-dar.”
This book is divided into nine chapters, each devoted to a different ethnic group: Jews, Asians, Whites, Blacks, Gypsies, Indians (and Injuns), Hispanics, Arabs, and Merpeople,7. and several appendices, including a glossary of racial epithets. Anyone who’s ever thought about dating outside his own race will surely appreciate my guide to jungle fever, yellow fever, and the other various and sundry fevers.
Within each chapter we will consider not just broad ethnic stereotypes, like “South Africans are cowards,” but more specific generalities as well, like “Swazi men are meth-heads.” Lazy Guatemalans and industrious El Salvadorans are both covered in the chapter on Hispanics.
To sum up, racism is the hatred of members of another ethnic group solely because of their race, and it is often informed by negative and untrue stereotypes. It’s okay to hate someone because of who they are, but hating them because of their ethnicity alone is racist. Over the next nine chapters we’ll look at the history, etymology, and practical applications of racism in this country today.
And just in case there was any confusion, the human race is not actually a race, like a footrace, either. If it were, the blacks probably would have won.
A PRACTICAL GUIDE TO FECUNDITY
Now, more than ever, it is important to be familiar with our spicy neighbors to the south, the Hispanics.
Everyone’s heard the stereotypes. “They like tacos.” “They’re tiny.” “They have big ears and are often carried around in women’s purses.” But did you know that Hispanics, or “Mexicans,” are also hardworking tradesmen and small businesspeople?1. It’s true.
Fig. 1. A typical Hispanic
Hispanics play an important role in American society, doing the work that Americans don’t want to do, and secreting a pungent, waxy substance known as ambergris, which is used as a fixative in some expensive perfumes. An increased demand for cheap labor and high-end fragrances brings millions of Hispanics to the United States every year. And they squeeze out babies faster than the Latvians, so their numbers are only increasing. According to a recent study, by 2015 the population of the United States will be 78 percent Mexican.
U.S. POPULATION 2015
That’s why many are calling for immigration reform, to prevent more Hispanics from coming here and taking low-paying jobs away from real Americans. Though, in many cases, these are jobs that American workers are too lazy to do, like playing shortstop.
But who are these fence-hopping visitors from “down under,” and do they deserve to be our scapegoats? Before we retroactively leap to judgment, it’s important to learn more about the individuals who make up this new, Yellow-Brown Peril.
For starters, the Hispanics you see every day aren’t your everyday Mexicans. Only the very highest achievers make it to America. After completing degree work in one of several fields, their final examination consists of an intensive obstacle course between their homes and the hinterlands of southern Texas. While these skilled, motivated Hispanics can find a wide variety of demeaning work here in America, in their home countries the vast majority of them must make a living by diving for oysters or pennies thrown into the water by tourists.
Of course, Hispanics can’t work all the time. They also enjoy a variety of leisure pursuits, such as football, though they seem to be a little unclear on the rules. They are also skilled baseball players, due to early, piñata-based training, and in the evening they amuse themselves by playing enormous, oversized guitars.2. American music is popular, as well; just as Germans love David Hasselhoff and Iraqis can’t get enough Lionel Richie, Hispanics are obsessed with the alt-pop stylings of songwriter Duncan Sheik.3.
The stereotypes you tend to hear about Hispanics are, for the most part, accurate: they are a friendly people, prone to narcolepsy in the afternoon hours, and their women have phenomenal asses. Mexicans, sometimes called “Latin” or “Latino” for their love of Martial’s epigrams, are also known throughout the world as wonderful lovers, but that is, unfortunately, not the case. The Latin Lover stereotype comes from the fact that Hispanic men are very successful seducers of women,4. but when it comes to the actual mechanics of intercourse, they are woefully inadequate. This inability to satisfy their partners is the origin of the phrase “dos pump chump.”
Not all Hispanic people are alike, though, so before we go any further it’s important to start looking at all the different kinds of Mexicans, like South Americans, Central Americans, Iberians, and Carabiners.
THE HISPANIC WORLD
Have you ever wondered who that is down there mowing your lawn? What about the fellow over there cleaning your pool? And who’s that young chica wiping fingerprints off the sliding door? Chances are they’re all Hispanic, but that can mean a lot of different things.
Some things are common to all Mexicans. They all speak Spanglish, for example, and they all practice either voodoo or Catholicism.5. But despite a common language, and love of switchblade knives, there are many regional subtleties that are not readily apparent to the lay non-Mexican.
By the way, if you don’t know how to speak Spanglish, it’s really quite easy: all you have to do is add “-o” to the end of every other word, and remember a few made-up ones like “biblioteca” and “aquí.” It can even be fun to tell your contractor to “put the drywall-o aquí, not aquí.” Be warned, though: It all seems relatively harmless now, but I’m told some extremist pro-Mexican apologistas actually want it taught in our schools. The last thing we need in academia is foreign languages other than Greek and Latin.
Hispanic countries are more than just a great place to assuage your white guilt by doing a year or two of ineffectual community service after college.6. They are a rich collage of scary, foreign cultures. Let us now consider in turn the four regions of Hispania: Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean, and Iberia.
Of the three countries in North America, this, the southernmost one, is where most Mexicans can be found. But, much like the killer bees never actually did, they are spreading into all areas of the United States.
Known for its energetic hat dancing, Mexico is actually a totalitarian oligarchy. It is governed by a group of Latin Kings, like Tarquin the Proud, who rule the country with an iron fist. They are not to be confused with the Latin Kings of Comedy, whose domain is limited to late-night filler on Comedy Central. Nor should they be confused with Latin Inches, which is a fine publication.
The Latin Kings’ influence also extends to Mexican emigrants in America, which is troubling, because they seem to be extraordinarily tolerant of criminal behavior. Like much of the Hispanic world, Mexico is overrun with scofflaws and roustabouts, in addition to roving bands of lawless banditos (literally, “roving bands”). Of these, none was more fearsome than the ruthless Frito Bandito, who traveled the Mexican countryside in the early 1970s, robbing tourists of their salted corn chips.
But the most famous bandito was probably the revolutionary leader Pancho Villa. Villa was, of course, General John Pershing’s white whale, which is ironic, because he was Mexican.
As with all races, it’s important to be tolerant of Mexicans, but also vigilant, especially with your personal possessions. Unlike American law enforcement, the police in Mexico are overweight and corrupt. To give you an idea of just how bad it is, the Mexican Law & Order is only half an hour long, and usually ends in the beating death of an innocent suspect.
To be fair, their jobs are also more difficult than those of the American police. Mexicans, as a race, are very fleet-footed, or “speedy,” and extremely diminutive in stature. They are almost rodent-like in this respect. “Arriba! Arriba!” you can hear them cry, as they elude their pursuers.
Nonetheless, Mexican leaders and police seem ambivalent, especially about the overt criminal activities of the country’s two most famous citizens, comedians Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong.7. On one occasion, the pair even drove a van constructed entirely of marijuana from Mexico into the United States without being apprehended by law enforcement.
We will consider illegal narcotics in more detail below, but for a nuanced look at the role they play in Mexico, I recommend watching the movie Traffic. As with so many of the complicated issues that face the world today, the drug trade is best addressed by the subtle social commentary of director Steven Soderbergh.
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Top Customer Reviews
I got this book as a gift and it is absolutely hilarious. In addition to being very funny, this books reminds you that there were at one time (and still are today) people who honestly believe the tings you are laughing at (due to their complete absurdity).
If you are a fan of Monty Python, Lewis Black, The Onion or the Daily Show you will enjoy this read.
SECOND DISCLAIMER: While generally awesome, this book does tend to go too far in re-inforcing negative stereotypes about Merpeople. Seriously...that's just not cool, lines exist for a reason.
As a black man, I am happy that the author recognized that everything that is worth anything has been stolen from us by everyone else.
Most recent customer reviews
My friend loved it. Reads it once in a while for a laughPublished 3 months ago by Stephanie Johnson
Quite honestly the funniest book ive read in a while, when i was Reading it, i was sitting on the toilet, i laughed soo hard i pooped.Published on Aug. 7 2013 by V3
It's good to see that my associate C. H. Dalton is finally getting recognition for his work. Racism is a sensitive topic, and I've seen C. H. Read morePublished on Sept. 6 2011 by Dr. Matt
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