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How to Play the Cultural Sensitivity Trump Card

But, who does the world call on when there is trouble? Us! The capitalist pigs.

by Bob Kerstetter

Suppose you are an American in Paris or a Connecticut Yankee in King Author’s Court. In a pub. Your ancestors are mostly Old World Europeans. Even with your great grandmother’s pureblood Shawnee heritage, you are a white guy—a tiny one-eighth American Indian does not make you aborigines. Admit it, white guy.

So, there you are, socially drinking. Among foreigners. Playfully pushy outsiders. Except, you are in their court. Even worse, you alone stand as the defender against a full-court press of questions—difficult ones and legitimate, too—about race relations among Whites, Blacks, Hispanics, Puerto Ricans, Asians, Polynesians and American Indians, in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Puerto Ricans? Your brain takes a strike from that Puerto Ricans fastball. Puerto Ricans are baseball players. Right? Roberto Clemente! Juan Gonzalez! Vic Power! Oh! So they want to talk baseball. Everyone loves baseball! Right? Hum? Maybe not. Anyway, Puerto Rico? Other than hard batting right fielders or stretchy first basemen, when was the last time you thought anything at all about Puerto Rico or Puerto Ricans? You feel a little ashamed. Maybe a lot.

Back to the game, you watch the forwards, centers and guards passing the ball with agility. Heading your way, they aim to score. So you call time out. Scanning their eyes one-by-one, you admit it, “Yes, you’re right.”

They stop.

“We’ve treated minorities terribly,” you continue, “and sometimes we still do. And we’ve paid an awful price for it. And we’re still paying that price. We’ve created poverty, kids without dads, racial hatred, a drug snorting culture, gang wars on our southern borders. We have a whole race of people who live on scruffy lands we reserved for them. They gamble, drink, eat too much starch and get fat. We are a mess.

“But, who does the world call on when there is trouble? Us! The capitalist pigs. The imperialist war mongers. America. They want our wealth. They want our technology. They want our military power. They want our aid. They want our protection. And they usually get what they want. And all of us come—the Whites, the Blacks, the Hispanics, the Ruerto Picans, the Asians, the Polynesians, the American Indians. We Americans come together. We come as Americans. As one.”

They look at each other, a little confused, so you slip by them. “You have no idea what it’s like to be the only remaining super power—the country everyone hates, but everyone needs.”

Pausing for effect you flip your trump card. “We’re a mess, but we work hard at being right. Most of do, anyway. And you’re not American. So you can’t possibly understand. You have no idea.”

While you’ve left lots of intellectual holes—you know it and they feel a little uneasy about your easy speech—they also know the truth of your main argument. They are pretty sure about that. They lightly toss the ball to you. You set it aside as tension flows away. You all order drinks and turn to the IPTV football game. Or is that soccer?

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