Tuesday, June 05, 2007

"I don't like people with dark skin. In fact I despise them."

No, I am not showing my true racist face here. Just trying this statement for size, kinda. How does this sound to you?

(No, I don't despise people for their skin color. Or any other physical feature, for that matter. I do find some physical features of some ethnic groups much more attractive than corresponding physical features of some other ethnic groups, and I am quite open about it when I happen to be talking about sexual attractiveness, but I would hardly put it in the aforementioned form and say it at a press conference when asked how I liked my trip to some country. That, of course, is because I am a shining paragon of political correctness and not because I never get invited to press conferences where people ask me about my trips.)

Anyway, that's what Serbia's Eurovision winner Marija Serifovic said at a press conference last Friday, except that it was about white skin. According to a guy who claims to have been at that press conference, the exact words were "ne volim blede, plave i ljude sa providnom kozom, ustvari ne da ih ne volim nego ih prezirem". ("I don't like pale, blond and people with transparent skin, actually not only that I don't like them, I despise them").

Oh, dear... There is no sin in having sexual preferences based on skin or hair color, but one would think that Marija if anyone should understand that lack of sexual attraction should not turn into contempt for people, considering... (Yeah, I know this sounds catty, but seriously, it's hard to resist.)

Marija is unfortunately not alone. In fact I don't think I have ever heard a so-called civilized person, at least one who does not self-identify as a racist, disparage any skin colors besides white and red (of the kind that a very white-skinned person acquires when he or she spends too much time in the sun), but white and red seem to be fair game.

A couple of years ago a young white American woman who was visiting me here said "almost everyone is white here, it's so creepy". For a variety of reasons I did not try to talk sense into her, but she was exactly the kind of young woman who would never think of saying "almost everyone is black here, it's so creepy" in a black area, even though, like the overwhelming majority of white Americans, she most surely finds all-black neighborhoods somewhat creepy, for reasons not directly related to skin color. (You can say you find them, or some particular black neighborhood, somewhat creepy, but if you want to be polite you don't say "black", you say "inner-city".)

In the US disapproving of white or red skin usually has a bit of class overtone to it. I am not trying to condemn classist remarks here as such - most of the people who belong to educated classes do not think much of uneducated classes in general (with personal exceptions, of course) and make a rather poor job of concealing it - but I find it quite annoying that a lot of people say it both ways, managing to mention both "those trailer-trash rednecks who have to work in the sun while we sit in our air-conditioned offices" and "those pale fishbelly-white folks who have to spend their whole day in the office while we can afford some leasure at the beach" (the latter can be sometimes heard from the people who are lobster-red themselves after abusing said beach for way too long). That, again, from the people who would never-ever mention black skin as a predictor of class, although in the US black skin does in fact have a strong correlation with belonging to uneducated classes.

I seriously think we need a "white is beautiful" campaign. Not to say bad things about other people, including darker-skinned white people. Not to celebrate European or Central/North European heritage (nothing against celebrating it in general, just am not taking about it right now). Just an esthetic/sexual thing with lots of pictures of attractive scantily-clad white-skinned people (of all races that sometimes happen to have white skins, and of both sexes), and advertisement of sunscreen. The tolerant crowd might look at it with suspicion, but the dermatologists of the future will thank us.

No comments: