‘Futureland’ and a co-worker’s racism harsh my Obama high

futurelandFROM JASON’S GRITTED TEETH — My outlook swings day-to-day from gloriously optimism to blood-boiling pessimism.

Yesterday, watching Obama take control of the mess into which the executive branch had fallen, was a good day. In the evening, I told Andrew I believe we’ve done much more than we realize to eliminate racism in this country, or at least make it so socially odious that it might as well not exist.

Today, however, was a pessimistic day as my idealism was smashed. In the cubicle next door, I heard a co-worker raving about an encounter with a client he labeled “a damned Arab.”

“They’re all terrorists. Even the children… You can’t trust any of them. I don’t know why they have to call me, talking all Arab. We should blow them all up,” he said.

I am sheltered. I normally associate with people of extreme education, raised in a strict environment of social correctness. This co-worker’s words were alien and loathsome. There was nothing in them to which I could connect on any level.

They were not the starry-eyed hope I felt during Tuesday’s inauguration. This co-worker clearly does not agree with Obama’s words: “There is not a liberal America and a conservative America — there is the United States of America. There is not a black America and a white America and latino America and asian America — there’s the United States of America.”

The fever of the inauguration had given me a temporary peace. But my co-worker’s words jogged me into a blacker vision for our nation’s future, one that’s been reinforced in the last week while reading an excellent science fiction work by Walter Mosley, titled Futureland: Nine Stories of an Imminent World.

This dystopia is no Idiocracy; it’s a world of corrupt geniuses and the helpless victims pulled into their sphere of influence. Futureland is a place of designer brain-viruses, corporate city-states and megalomaniacal dictators, genetically-engineered slaves, and politically oppressed masses.

It’s a place where children are drafted into government cabals; where the race and gender divides have exploded; where the Supreme Court allows citizenry to be revoked from anyone the authorities deem socially dangerous; where property rights have been all but abolished; where pre-teens live in underground concentration camp castes while the rich cavorte in the streets above; and where science and religion have been merged into one InfoChurch to keep the desperate under thumb.

Some days Mosley’s futurescape seems laughable. Others — when a co-worker reveals such ill-masked, torturous hate — his grim vision seems as imminent as the vignets he ties together in this book. And then I wonder whether we’ve really progressed at all as a nation, or whether we’ve simply deluded ourselves into thinking our attitudes are evolving at all.

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One Response to ‘Futureland’ and a co-worker’s racism harsh my Obama high

  1. scuzzbuster says:

    I think too much pessimism is unwarranted. The difference between 2009 and 1979 in my eyes is that racism HAS been forced out of the “norm.” As mixed emotionally as I am about “political correctness” I believe that it’s been a positive influence on our culture by forcing overt racism into the closet. Expressing it openly, like the cubicle next door, makes you “outside” the norm today rather than part of it. While slow, the influence of not having a generation of youth growing up around overt racist behavior is having an impact.

    An AP story I read right before election day referenced and Arian forum where members were bemoaning the impending win of Obama. I was curious. I’ve never been to these subhuman cultures before so I just perused the one the site mentioned and rather than being totally disgusted like I thought, I was actually encouraged. The racism on the board was at least thinly disguised as something else. It was humorous how they tried to disguise it. They were actually even refusing to use the term “racism” and called themselves people that practiced “racialism” I believe, which I found hilarious.

    The thing that really caught my eye was many threads that either started like or ended up with comments and people bemoaning things like “what’s happened to ‘racism’ in America? Is it dead?” In these instances they DID use terms like “racism.” Responses were posted in a “consoling” manner with responses similar to “don’t get down, it’s still there…”

    It was humorous, sickening, but also made me feel good in the sense that it’s the racist and bigots who were now the ones that were made to feel like they were the minority…like THEIR way of life was the one that slipping away.

    Progress is slow, but it’s there. I think the election of Obama by such a distinct majority of Americans demonstrates if nothing else, that even those that harbor “racist” tendencies still brought themselves to vote for Obama in great numbers. This is born out to some extent by listening to some of the stories of Obama workers recounting people that were overtly racist but still pledged support to vote for Obama because he was still the better choice. These people may be “racist” at the core level, but even the racists are starting to realize that it really doesn’t make a difference. It think people realize that even when they harbor those attitudes that they are mostly unfounded feelings.

    There will ALWAYS be a racial divide. It can never disappear as long as people “look” different and believe different things, but eventually it will be so inconsequential that it will have little impact on us. That may not be in our lifetime. But our kids and grandkids are going to see this type of attitude as more and more alien to normal human behavior and culture.

    First let’s knock out racism, then move on to superstition and organized religion.

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