My, how times have changed. The movie name in my title came out in 1968, and it’s a reference to how having a family of six can benefit you at a Chinese restaurant.
Two of my kids are bi-coastal, having grown up on one coast and now working on another. They are quick to call something or someone racist, and I’ve had to play catch-up. I grew up in Iowa in the sixties, where everyone got fun of if they were in any way different from the WASPs in my town. One black boy in first grade comes to mind, and a Jewish boy named Jack in third grade. They were not treated nicely.
It came back to me this morning when a post from the Facebook page, I Grew Up in Iowa, came into my feed. Yes, I am a member. I enjoy the photos of deer and cows and bald eagles. I didn’t enjoy this morning’s post.
It was the sign outside of a Chinese restaurant. It said, “We not see your cat. Stop asking. Try our chicken. It’s purrrfect.”
I commented on the post, saying, “My kids would call this racist.” Because they would. Because it is.
I guess I am more sensitive to this than the average white woman from Iowa. I write books in Spanish. I have traveled a lot. I live in California. I have been exposed to a bigger world beyond my Midwestern roots.
When another Facebook friend posted a joke about the Christmas song, “Do you hear what I hear?” saying it couldn’t be banned because it would offend schizophrenics, I calmly commented, “You are making fun of mental illness.”
The guy is my age. We grew up separately in the same decade. Our friends used to call each other retards back in the 60’s. It could mean that they thought the other one was dumb, or silly, or maybe it was a term of endearment. Any of these reasons are no longer PC. They are words for racists.
“You’re so gay” was a saying twenty years ago. It could mean, You’re dumb, you’re weird, or I love you.” Now it’s just the wrong thing to say.
When gun lovers made fun of the Parkland teens after the mass shooting at their school killed seventeen people, Facebook posts from my senior “friends” said things like, “Those kids are so dumb they eat Tide pods.” Guess what? Two of the most vocal teen advocates for gun control reform from Parkland just got into Harvard. Who’s eating Tide pods now, you haters?
No one. I repeat, no one should eat Tide pods. They can kill you.
Facebook is a time suck. It can make people feel bad when they see how much “fun” other people are having. It’s also a place to see the ugly side of humanity.
Too bad we don’t have an “unfriend” button in real life. Oh, wait! We do. We can simply walk away from the racists of the world or leave their Facebook group.
Or even better, we can stay in the group and call a spade a spade. As in commenting, “my kids would call this racist.”
We might even get a few likes out of the deal.