Or read Harvard University's support for Noel Ignatiev's brilliant campaign to Abolish the White Race.
Time: As long as it takes for the point to sink in.
Materials: None, though we'd prefer it if participants did arrive fully clothed.
1. Participants should be led to the exercise site silently,
hand in hand, in a line, preferably with everyone in the line
facing in the same direction to avoid an almighty pile-up when they start walking.
2. At the site participants can release their hands, but should be instructed to stand shoulder to shoulder in a straight line without speaking, those high on crack being allowed to squat on the floor and watch the pretty colours go by.
3. Participants should be instructed to listen carefully to each sentence, since it would be in normal English, and take the step required if the sentence applies to them, assuming they could figure out what it meant or weren't otherwise occupied with watching the pretty colours. They should not be told there is a prize at the front of the site that everyone is competing for or some will feel they have a racial right to be up in front regardless of their answers, because their roots said it must be so.
If your ancestors were forced to come to the USA not by choice, eg were among the first generation of white indentured slaves, or were among those sold by Arab traders or black African slave dealers, take one step back or forward according to personal preference.
If your primary ethnic identity is African, even though you've never been there, can't speak any of its languages, don't know its history, think Mugabe is a jolly fine world class statesman, and have trouble finding the whole genocidal shooting match on a map, take one step forward.
If you were ever called names because of your race (eg honkey), class (eg white yuppy), ethnicity (eg WASP), gender (male chauvinist pig), or sexual orientation (straight honkey), take one step back.
If there were people of color who spent any considerable part of the day seemingly working in your household as servants, gardeners, etc., but were actually lounging around gabbing and stealing the milk money to buy crack, take one step forward.
If your clothes, house, car, etc. were honestly earned and paid for rather than stolen, take one step back.
If your parents were professionals by virtue of having studied hard and worked to pay their way: doctors, lawyers, etc., rather than waiting around for government to hand it to them on an affirmative plate, take one step back.
If you were raised in an area where there was prostitution, drug activity, etc., and you did not take part in any of it, take one step back.
If you find it unbelievable that people would want to change their appearance (eg plastic face Wacky Jacko), mannerisms (eg groin-grabbin' Wacky Jacko), behavior or colour (eg white/black/grey? Wacky Jacko) or gender (eg he/she/it? Wacky Jacko) to avoid being judged or ridiculed and still end up being ridiculed anyway, take one step back. If you are all of the above, please wait quietly in a corner until the men in white coats arrive.
If you studied the culture of your ancestors in elementary school, but still have trouble finding their roots on a map, or just finding an atlas in your home, take one step forward. Take another step if your parents gave you some exotic sounding name from a Spielberg movie that they fondly believe has something to do with your roots, but which actually means "horseguts" in the foreign language they can't speak to start with, and nor can Spielberg.
If you went to school speaking a language other than pidgeon English, know'msayin, take one step back.
If there were more than 50 books in your house when you grew up, and you never bothered to read a single one of them because it seemed like hard work, take one step forward.
If you ever had to skip a meal or were hungry because there was not enough money to buy food when you were growing up, since your parents were saving hard to give you a decent education instead of buying crack, take one step back.
If you were taken to art galleries or plays by your parents, and you spent the whole time sitting on the steps outside waiting for a dealer to pass by, take one step forward.
If one of your parents was unemployed (eg Mom looking after the home and family) or laid off (eg Dad), not by choice, but because racial quotas demanded that persons of colour take his place, qualified or not, take one step back.
If you attended private school or summer camp in the form of a rehab or detox centre with all expenses paid for by the government, take one step forward.
If your family ever had to move because they could not afford the rent, putting you through college having taken up all their worldly means, take one step back.
If you were told that you were beautiful, smart and capable by your parents, even though you preferred to be another colour and have 20 nose jobs, take one step forward. Take two steps forward if your nose has already disintegrated.
If you were ever discouraged from academics or jobs because of race, class, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation, by reason of the government deciding another race which put no effort into working for a living was entitled to a fast track solution to their "problem", take one step back.
If you were encouraged to attend college by your parents, but decided life on the street singing race-hate rap songs and selling crack was the epitome of success, take one step forward.
If you were raised in a single parent household, due to reasons other than Dad taking off to find another bit of easy booty or because the cops were getting too close, take one step back.
If your family owned the house where you grew up, but ended up putting it in hock to keep the crack coming in, or burned it down for the insurance they forgot to take out first, take one step forward.
If you saw members of your race, ethnic group, gender or sexual orientation portrayed on television in degrading roles in which they were always the nasty racist villains, and didn't rake in millions of bucks, like Poitier, Cosby, Oprah, Snipes or the nutty professor, take one step back.
If you were ever offered a good job because of your association with a friend or family member working for the local Affirmative Action group or for Jesse Jackson, take one step forward.
If you were ever denied employment because of your race, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation, with the explanation that others of a less industrious race deserved a some-are-more-equal-than-others opportunity even if they couldn't spell the word "job", take one step back.
If you were paid more, treated fairly because of race, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation, on the grounds that you had good diplomas that didn't require a Swahili dictionary to decipher, references from a normal American employer and had a reputation as a hard working family man, take one step back.
If you were ever accused of cheating or lying because of your race, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation, while the actual culprit was the coloured feminist lesbian crack dealer next door screaming about racial discrimination, take one step back.
If you ever "inherited" money or property belonging to someone else, when they weren't home, take one step forward.
If you had to rely primarily on public transportation, because all your money went into education and paying for stuff you felt it was wrong to "inherit", take one step back.
If you were ever stopped or questioned by the police because of your race, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation, their reasoning being that as an honest citizen you might have information to help them find the local crack dealer, auto "inheritor" or mugger, take one step back.
If you were ever afraid of violence because of your race, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation not being of the required politically correct variety on campus, eg you weren't coloured, of genocidal Hutu origin, a rabid feminist and volubly gay or lesbian, take one step back.
If you were generally able to avoid places that were dangerous to your lifestyle, like anywhere that counted as a place of work or learning, take one step forward.
If you were ever uncomfortable about a joke related to your race, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation but felt unsafe to confront the situation, (eg you're a straight blonde WASP living in Harlem) take one step back.
If you were ever the victim of violence related to your race, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation, eg because persons of colour felt they were entitled to "inherit" your belongings, take one step back.
If your parents did not grow up in the United States, but in another civilized democracy, take one step back.
If your parents told you you could be anything you wanted to be, and the only thing you could come up with that didn't entail too much work was a crack dealer running a brothel and driving a cadillac, take one step forward.
Ask participants to remain in their positions and to look at their position at the site and the positions of the other participants, and to kindly refrain from giving each other the middle finger.
Ask participants to consider who among them would probably win the prize, in the unlikely event that it hasn't already been stolen by this stage.
Suggested questions for processing, with multiple choice answers for those unaccustomed to thinking for themselves and figuring out the whole purpose of these studies way beforehand, are:
1) What happened?a. we brought back Apartheid after all those years of white folks banning it.
a. sick and in need of another fix.
c. warm all over from the pretty colours floating by.
d. you wish you could understand English so's you'd know what the hell them crazy gringos was going on about.
e. you only came in here because you thought it was a soup kitchen.
3) What were your thoughts as you did this
a. man, check all them pretty colours floating by.
b. when do they serve the soup?
c. must be a crack dealer up there at the front end of the class...
d. Exercise? I didn't see no "Buns 'n Abs Terminator de luxe"...
4) What have you learned from this experience?
a. apartheid pays.
b. you though it was an exam, so you didn't answer any of the questions.
c. you refuse to reply on the grounds that it might incriminate you racially, ethnically, sexually or genderally.
d. I rather fancy that poofter taking the exam.
5) What can you do with this information in the future?
a. avoid any more exams like this one or any other one.
b. pretty colours are like, really cool, man.
c. sell the answers to the next class.
d. I'm going to go to university, study hard, get a good job, abide by the law, raise a family and put my kids through college, and tell them to study hard instead of whining about ancient history. Just like that bunch at the back... And you really did think today was the first of April.
For a talk on the subject of Blackness, given by Prof. Nikolayev see: Blackness Studies, A Black Talk. For the opposing viewpoint, a not very politically correct effort, full of discrimination and racism, and obviously an ill-concealed propagandist attempt to yet again put whites at the centre of the universe, see: Who Invented White People? (not on this site...thank goodness)
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