Previous JE reminded me of this:
This is the point where I began writing "She Was Working, I Thought I was on a Date", but there was quite an angry voice coming through, so I put it aside and gave it a short treatment in that Journal Entry. Ended up writing back and forth from this event until the first piece was ready to post the Monday after Eve Fairbanks' fable was published. When I came back to it I could not help getting upset with myself for listening to people who speak this way, bothering to try to change their simple little minds and, especially in this case, not having reacted more strongly. Unfortunately, the other option is getting up and leaving, which would result in never staying anyplace very long.
William F. Buckley, Jr. sometimes told a story about a man who would do just that whenever anti-Semitic remarks (no matter how remote) were made around him; get up quietly and leave. Sounded like a good idea then, it sounds better now and the application is the same.
Of Eve Fairbanks' attitude, and we can assume the editors of The New Republic , Mark Twain stated it best:
To my mind, this is irregular. It is un-English; it is un-American; it is [f]rench
-- Mark Twain: Concerning The Jews, Harper's Magazine, March, 1898
Something I alluded to in "She Was Working, I Thought I was on a Date" was the initial conversation at The Capital Grille with Eve Fairbanks of The New Republic . When we commented on each other's boots she launched into a story about the Shaw community, near where she said she lived, and a cobbler that she was no longer doing business with.
For some reason, every sentence spoken by her had to include something about race. Not slurs, but race terms as if they were slurs and all were associated with negative comments about the subject. I mentioned that she needed to move back to Virginia and she said of her neighborhood: "It is very ethnic, but it is coming up." I said that ethnicity was not the issue; it is the stupid laws and services in DC.
Statements like the ones she was making are very common in DC, across party lines (make that line, singular, they are all Left of me) and I do notice them, but if they are mild I usually wait until I get to know someone before interrupting them and asking things like: "What the hell does the race of your cobbler have to do with the story you are telling?"
When she went into the cobbler story, mentioning his race repeatedly and how unreliable he was, I told her that my guy in Crystal City was great, but I had a bad one before. Eve did pause to say that she would like to find the one I use. Then she continued with his shop not being open when it was supposed to be, and continued bringing up the guy's race.
Finally, I mildly asked what his race had to do with anything. That the cobbler I had before is Hispanic, the one I have now is Asian, and neither is all that friendly but the race is irrelevant. Then we moved on to other things, as also noted in the other journal entry, and she did stop bringing up race as far as I remember.
When I handed her my business card, she had a definite look of surprise on her face about my last name. Even though my profile says I am Italian (in retrospect, it did not seem like she really paid much attention to my profile until she pulled identifying items from it for her fable), my real last name is of Spanish origin. I took her look to be one of slight embarrassment with her cobbler story. I explained that it was given to my grandfather in the orphanage in Italy, where he grew up, and left it at that. She gave a slight look of relief that confused me at the moment.
If I knew then what I know now, I would take it as both embarrassment from the above and surprise that someone with my last name could vote Republican, i.e., more racism. I would take the look of relief as being 'oh, he is not Hispanic so what I said was okay.'
[forget about my stupid "nice" gene, the paragraph that was here is at the bottom now]
Well, this is an e-mail from Eve Fairbanks. Judge it as you will. She implies honesty, so we can assume that her views on non-white cobblers and ethnic neighborhoods that are "moving up", as in becoming less "ethnic" are her views. No silly reporter tricks, just her "honest" words.
In a message dated 6/22/2006 4:44:49 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time, firstname.lastname@example.org writes:
., of course you would not be identified. I did not provide you any false information, and I was genuinely interested in meeting you. Take care.
From: XXXXXXXX@aol.com [mailto:XXXXXXXX@aol.com]
Sent: Wednesday, June 21, 2006 9:49 PM
To: Letters to the Editor [email@example.com]
Subject: Eve Fairbanks, do not publish, conservativematch story
I do not want this letter published in your magazine.
Eve Fairbanks misrepresented herself to me on conervativematch.com while doing "research" for a story.
I do not want to be referenced or identified in the story at all.
She already has too much identifying information about me already, you don't need any more.
[/forget about my stupid "nice" gene, the paragraph that was here is at the bottom now]
Perhaps all of the race talk is the way she impresses guys/gals in Georgetown and around 1331 H. Street NW, but I had to note the irrelevancy to her twice (that I remember, perhaps more) before we went on to other things. One would think that the first time would give the reporter a clue that she was fishing in the wrong pond, if it was real fishing.
Actually, passing this off as 'fishing' is like saying the white hood and robe in your closet is just a tool to find out if your houseguests are racist. If you are not racist, you don't speak that way period.
Short Fisking: her idea of not identifying me was changing my shirt and the color of my boots.
Judge the racism on your own.
Note to stupid reporters: People who are racist will announce it to you through their regular speech, just like Ms. Fairbanks was doing. If a reporter, or anybody else, does this they are just trying to deflect their own racist tendencies onto others: 'I am not bad, look at him, he's worse.'
Racism is NOT a definer of Conservatives. It is the Leftists who want everybody with my last name on welfare and mowing their grass, not the other side.
Calling that publication ' The New RepubliKKK ' may be a little strong, but only a little, considering the progress that has been made in-spite-of people with these attitudes.
[this was above]
Now, those of you who wish to explain this away as a stupid reporter trick trying to fish for a racist comment for a "Conservatives in the Mist" treatment, that may be true. She apparently did not get one from anybody she "dated" and did not use my comment about the french or irish (I think it was the irish: "You speak of them as if they were human"). All she got was the mildest of scoldings. However, unless one already has both the racial bias and the political bias then they would not even try something like that.
[/this was above]