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Marc Dion
Marc Dion
8 Feb 2016
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No Angel Food, No Devil's Food ... Just Caramel


Hoodies aside (so the bank's security camera can see your face), the recent Florida shooting of an African-American by a non-African-American makes a couple points.

I call the shooter a non-African-American to make one of those points. The shooter was half Hispanic. When I was a young man, we did not consider Hispanics to be white. We didn't really consider Jews to be white, either, whatever their skin shade. Italians were shaky, too.

But we think a half-Hispanic guy is white now.

The kid that got killed? Definitely African-American. That still sticks.

But if you're of a certain age, you can't help but wonder at half-Hispanics (what the press calls him) defending American stand-your-ground-with-a-gun values.

When I was a kid, the big Florida blowup would have been, in the words of the men my father hung out with, "a spic shootin' a spade," and no trouble of theirs.

But the white people club keeps getting bigger. Hispanics, if they're making enough money and speak English well, are edging their way into the white people club. The taboo white Americans used to maintain against marrying Asians is nearly gone, and if your marriageable daughter comes home with a Jew, only one aged, half-blind aunt will bother to crack jokes about money or big noses.

Almost all of the people at the tippity-top of the economic pyramid are still piney woods white, but rich people have their own race.

So where's that leave us?

Well, in the middle to lower levels of the economy, black and white (even honorary middle-class half-Hispanic whites) are still tooth-to-tooth, scrambling for whatever remains of America after the union jobs are gone.

But the poor, who are always shabbily riding the first edge of culture change, they're breeding with each other, regardless of color.

Whites are getting darker. Blacks are getting lighter. Beans and rice are being served at a lot of Thanksgiving dinners because junior married a Mexican girl.

And that'll spread upward, as do most things the poor do first. That's why your white boy kid is listening to hip-hop and saying "aiight" when you tell him to do something. That's why you wore platform shoes in high school, and it's why your grandpa owned a zoot suit and some Duke Ellington records.

The press still likes "black vs. white" stories because they're easy to understand, they don't honk off the rich people who screw Americans of every color, and because it lets the most timid of editorial writers feel as though he and Martin Luther King are marching straight into a line of swag-bellied, nightstick-swinging, redneck Alabama cops.

Well, I don't sing "We Shall Overcome" much, myself. Hip-hop rules the streets now, and if black guys rap it, white kids buy it, try to walk it and talk it and wear it to school.

It's still black killing white, and it's still white killing black, and it's still edgy looks on the street and fear and scuffed-up little people hanging onto a neighborhood or a block or a job, and it's still hard words and hard feelings.

But not all the blood that counts is leaking out of somebody onto the sidewalk. There's blood in people, too, and a lot of that blood is mixing into IrishItalianPuertoRicanBlackAlbanianChinese people who are going to be America, if not before my 54-year-old pale white self dies, then shortly thereafter.

Once everybody has one African-American grandmother and one Asian-American grandfather and a Hispanic wife, it's gonna get a lot tougher to spit out those old, hard words.

America's race problems are old, old, old, hashed out in legislatures and on battlefields, in squad rooms, boardrooms, barrooms and courtrooms.

It'd be something if they got solved in the bedroom.

To find out more about Marc Munroe Dion and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit



2 Comments | Post Comment
When I was a kid, my family went to the park every weekend in good weather. Most families did. Black families, Mexican, White, separate picnic tables and families, but all the kids, we'd play together. Make a new friend and bring him back to our table to share food with us and meet the family. What he looked like? Don't remember, didn't matter. Went to his family, tried the food his family ate, met the family. Got hurt or in trouble, we knew we could run to any family for help. Got mad at a kid, didn't matter what he looked like, he was my friend now I was mad at him. The adults let us work it out as long as we didn't kill each other. The adults played softball, football, horseshoes, and they talked, but as they explained it to us, it would create trouble if they were friendly when we left the park because there were bad people and it wasn't safe for any of them or us. This was Detroit and this was a long time ago. Today the park is full of blended families, still laughing, kids still playing together. Still get mad at each other, still fight. But they know and we knew, racism has nothing to do with yelling and calling your friend names when you're mad at him. With your friends, after awhile, you don't see how they look to others, you see only your friend. We are and were secure enough not to allow others to tell us what our anger was about. But you can't miss the looks shot at you by the few grim families who's kids can only play with each other.
Comment: #1
Posted by: Steve
Sat Mar 31, 2012 7:09 AM
"... rich people have their own race." That's quite possibly the most profound thing I've read in a long time. An entire doctoral dissertation's worth of content could come out of that one statement.
Comment: #2
Posted by: R.A.
Fri Apr 6, 2012 9:09 AM
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