Years ago, every carpet-cleaning racket in L.A. was run by Israelis. In the 1990s, I owned a cat with a spastic colon, which of course meant I had carpets that frequently required deep cleaning. I tried every cleaner in the Yellow Pages, and no matter what the name of the business, who”d show up? Israelis who”d quote me a price many times higher than the one I”d been given on the phone, then haggle and fight with me over it, and then do a half-assed job. One guy even went so far as to dismantle the mezuzah in my doorway, telling me it’s “illegal” and I need to replace it (and wouldn”t you know? He just happened to have a briefcase full of brand-new mezuzahs to sell me). It got to the point that when calling around for a carpet cleaner, I”d hang up the moment I heard an Israeli accent. And I doubt I was the only homeowner in the city to do so, because the Moishes got wise, and soon enough every carpet-cleaning place in town had a phone answerer who sounded like his family came over on the Mayflower. “Thank you for calling A1+ Carpet Cleaners. I”m Emerson Rutherford Pilkington the 4th. How may I assist you?”
And what would pull up in front of my house? A van full of Shmuelys. About ten years ago I finally found my “forever carpet guy,” a burly blond Irish-American ex-Marine political conservative who charges fair and works hard. If he ever retires, I”m putting in terrazzo.
In life, sometimes we arrive at certain prejudices honestly, by keeping our eyes open, by examining our experiences, and by playing the odds. Today’s left does everything it can to bully white folks into ignoring their gut instincts, while, conversely, “people of color” are encouraged to judge white folks on sight (they”re privileged, they”ve had it easy in life, they spend all their time appropriating other cultures and hating anyone who doesn”t look like them).
Somewhere in between ignoring our prejudicial instincts and dwelling on them is a happy medium. Perhaps that’s the “mild racism” Louis C.K. was referring to, and perhaps it’s not such a bad thing.
When I recounted the story of my conversation with LaKarsha to my youthful ward, she shook her head in disdain. “Why the hell didn”t you hang up? You wasted 15 minutes of your life because you thought you had something to prove to an affirmative-action hire.” I”ve read that “Generation Z” has strong conservative tendencies, and if my own firsthand experience means anything, I believe it. My ward despises political correctness in all its forms. I spend a good deal of time attempting (usually unsuccessfully) to persuade her to be a little less “controversial” on social media (where, as an actress of some repute, she has a pretty decent following). She loves taking on feminists, she’s a huge Trump supporter, and”when it comes to anything racial”here’s one white girl who can”t be guilted. Whereas I grew up with the mild anti-racism of the “70s”which I have to admit was damn effective”she came along during the epoch of leftist PC insanity, a time in which the left ditched any remnants of a “Let’s all live together as family” worldview in favor of “Silence whitey! Destroy whitey! Drive whitey from the workplace and the halls of academia!”
I think my ward represents the generation that leftists lost. If only today’s lefties weren”t such batshit-crazy extremists, they”d realize how much more effective they were forty years ago. As my time with LaKarsha proved, even a guy like me still carries around all that 1970s “buy the world a Coke” claptrap. But I”m on my way out, and the left is going to have to deal with a new generation, one that”by many indications”is both tired of and immune to its shit.
It’s enough to give an old man hope.
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