So this semester I'm taking a cultural anthropology class on the peoples of the Circum-Caribbean, taught by this tiny, outspoken African-American female professor with an accent I might call "used-to-be-Brooklyn." Slightly intimidating woman for a certain type of person, I guess.
The first day of class, after some introductory, get-to-know-you type stuff, we started talking about race, and specifically how it's constructed in the United States. The professor started asking a girl, a very sweet-looking, very young-looking, (maybe even looking a lot like the mythical college girl ranted about by a certain crazy blogger we'll call Smizmar) white girl in the front row questions about the differences between the two of them. The girl mentioned skin color, hair curliness, nose width, and other phenotypical (physical) traits, at which the professor kept prompting, "What else? What is the difference between black people and white people in the United States?"
I got what she was trying to get at (as in, the differences lie more in terms of social, cultural constructions than physical ones), so I, thinking I was being helpful, offered to the white girl, "Well, you might live in a wealthier neighborhood." After which the white girl turned beet-red and everyone else in the class went, "OOOoooOOoo!" The black girl behind me said under her breath, "Nice one!"
So now for the rest of the semester I guess I'm Huey Freeman from The Boondocks or something.
To which I have to ask, why is that? Why is merely acknowledging the social and economic disparities that occur between races (yes, that's a touch simplistic, I know, but for brevity's sake, etc., etc.) a revolutionary, radical thing? Especially in the context of an anthropology class, because you can't talk about the culture unless you can talk about the fucking culture.
Bah. So, white girl, I'm sorry I embarrassed you. I didn't mean to. I didn't think reality would be embarrassing.