Leonard Nimoy

But, a possible scientific account aside, the tenacity of magical white racism makes perfect sense politically. To condense a long story, I told him that Washington has spent trillions over a half century to achieve racial equality and progress has been, at best, modest. At this point, our coldly rational Martian Vulcan suggested some plausible hypotheses for the failures but, alas, my response was that none of these may be discussed in polite society. Instead, I informed him, public explanations must not offend, and what better “€œpolite”€ explanation is there than white racism, a force of nature of devastating impact that absolves blacks of any agency in their plight? Indeed, it is an excuse easily embraced across the political spectrum (for conservatives, white racism still “€œlingers”€ or is just the “€œlast vestiges”€ of historic racism). Best of all, no one dares demand scientific validation. White racism thus rivals “€œGod’s punishment,”€ “€œthe work of the devil,”€ “€œwitchcraft,”€ and hubris as unfalsifiable but highly popular explanations for dreadful outcomes.

At this point our Martian said he understood Sterling’s public fate, but questions remained. Certainly the invocation of white racism must eventually cease, just as comparable illogical explanations like witchcraft lost their allure. He quickly computed, using all possible historical data, that these unscientific phenomena on average enjoy a half-life of 48.7 years.

Yes, I see your point, I told him, but that calculation acknowledged, let me offer you some friendly advice: Predicting the eventual demise of white racism, no matter how scientifically solid, is itself inherently racist. And yes, while you might defend yourself by noting your greenish hue and scientific bona fides, some Earthlings will insist that you cannot possibly understand the destructive nature of white racism. Your critics will be adamant that the disease is ubiquitous and incurable. And, make no mistake, even if you bestowed on Earthlings a cure for cancer and the secret of eternal life, the racist stigma would never be washed away. And who knows if this conversation is being recorded? You are doomed, so you must leave Earth immediately”€”and while you are at it, take poor tumor-ridden Donald Sterling with you.

And so it came to pass. Donald disappeared forever and achieved a happy, disease-free, eternal life on Mars, while Earth was saved from pale green racism.


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