It was right out of central casting. (Except for the white butler) Two white guys; two black guys; black and white on each side; the beer placed just right. Isn't race relations wonderful when you plan it right? It was happy hour at the White House. Just a bunch of guys shooting the breeze and working out their differences: "So Jim, are you a saaax fan? Yes Mr. President, I am. Well you guys better do something with Dice-K or you are going to be in trouble. Well I am a Phillies fan myself. We don't have a team in Delaware. I know Joe, I was talking to Jim. Do you like baseball Skip? Is that the one where they score touchdowns? .....Let me stop and leave Skip alone. But he pissed me off when he dissed my Red Stripe and went with some A-merry-can brew. He knows damn good and well that he prefers Red Stripe. How can he have an honest discussion about race when he isn't even honest about the damn beer he drinks?
Now you guys are going to say that this is just the old cynical field being field. But what, exactly, was that on the White House back lawn this evening? Am I the only one saw the the whole thing as some surreal manifestation of the superficial nature of race relations in A-merry-ca? The staging, the forced camaraderie, and --I am sure--- the perfunctory nature of the discussion. Isn't that how we interact with each other on a daily basis? It was perfect.
Politically it might work for his O ness. Most A-merry-cans in the majority population are quite comfortable with racial lip service. They shy away from uncomfortable truths and hope they never have to encounter it in their lifetime like officer Jim had to. They are fine with a co-worker, an acquaintance, the mailman, or a child's teacher, for instance; but real engagement and meaningful social interaction is a no no.
Black folks are in their cocoons (no pun intended) as well. Many live in segregated urban sectors and never have meaningful inter action with people in the majority population. Oh there are the cops, the school teachers, and the occasional civil servant. But none of them have a white person that they can call a friend. Someone that they can tell how frustrated they really feel living in A-merry-ca with the ugly stain of racism, and not having to let some race expert (Rev. Inc.) do it for them.
"I am confident that has happened here tonight, and I am hopeful that all of us are able to draw this positive lesson from this episode."
Sorry O man, it will take a little more than happy hour on the lawn. This little "beerfest" tonight isn't going to cut it. This was about two men and politics as usual. And the only thing I learned was that Harvard professors can't even be loyal to their damn beer.