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Wednesday, March 22, 2006

White Woman Treated "Sheepishly" - News at Eleven

It's not easy being white. It's one thing to take the blame for broken levees, but now comes this story. Our ancestors fought to oppress many generations in order to maintain unequal rights and ensure that no soccer mom would ever have to answer to an uppity negro restaurant manager.

I applaud Ms. Gotleib's heroic inner strength. In one simple act of whining, she carried us all on her shoulders and exposed the absurdity and injustice of IHOP policies. Kudos to the media for making room for stories of the white experience. Take heart, dear pilgrims, take heart. We shall overcome. We shall overcome someday.

"Do I really look like someone who needs to skip out on a bill for a few rooty, tootie, fresh and fruities?" Gotlieb said


Did I wake up in The Bizarro World without someone telling me? Watch the video on this story and flip the race of the different people involved. She's talking like she's in 1960's Birmingham. This woman is ridiculous and NBC 10 is ridiculous-er for making this their top story. Had to pay in advance? Cry me a river. What a joke.

I wonder who does look like someone who needs to skip out on a bill for a few rooty, tootie, fresh and fruities? I think I saw an article in Martha Stewart Living about how trustworthy white suburban women are. It even had studies to back it up, so it must be true.

I'm sure Ms. Gotlieb is a fine upstanding citizen, but this is beyond stupid. It's hard to suggest that the media might be twisting her words because the video shows pretty clearly how she feels. I would love to hear her tell her story to my neighbors and friends. I suspect that, while she would rightly be annoyed at the IHOP people, she would lose some of her steam for going to the media crying about racial discrimination.

There is a tendancy among all of us white people to say it's not so bad anymore and everyone has an equal chance. I sometimes feel like Ms. Gotlieb when my white skin merits sneers from guys on the corner or people on the bus. In reality, sometimes we are targeted for being white. But if I don't like it, I can buy a house next to Ms. Gotlieb. By staying in the neighborhood, I opt in to any racial hostilities I may face. But I suspect that my neighbors do not have the luxury of opting out of these problems simply by change of location. Sorry for your unfortunate experience, Ms. Gotlieb, but it just doesn't compare.

I wonder if my dad's lawncare business would have been as successful if he were a black man in rural Indiana. I wonder if my high school English teacher would have given me that D- instead of the F that I earned (...and my math teacher...). I wonder if the woman I bought my house from would have still sold to me even though there was a better offer on the table. I wonder what color was the skin of that person with the better offer. I wonder if I would have gotten away with all the crap I've pulled.

There is a lot we take for granted and I wonder how much of it I have yet to understand, but the events I suspect were aided by my white skin have been huge. My teachers' mercy got me out of high school, my dad's business paid for college, my house has been a great blessing, and those are just the big things. This stuff goes deep.

It's easier to say we've all got the same access and advantages, but reality seems to indicate otherwise. Ms. Gotleib's indignation displays an offensive misunderstanding of the way things really are.

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