Ochre - Image via WikipediaAs do white people, yellow people, red people and sometimes even ochre people, a thought that arises in the aftermath of the Gates arrest and Obama's hope for a "teachable moment."
Moreover, powerful people make me nervous as do fat people, ugly people, beautiful people, people with body odor, well-dressed people, really smart people, really dumb people, people who seem to be a bizarre amalgam of smart and stupid, people with white even teeth, people with no teeth and people who cover their teeth with their hands when they talk.
Indeed, I make myself nervous. I'm not all that comfortable being alone. Beer with the President? I'd wet myself. Confrontation with a white cop? I wet myself writing that sentence.
So, here's the baseline.:
* Zero degree of anxiety is a state I've never attained.
* One degree of anxiety. With my wife. She's very nice.
* Two degrees of anxiety. With myself, all alone, with the buzzing in my ears and the sudden movement at the corners of my field of vision.
* Seventy-three to eleventy hundred degrees of anxiety. Pretty much everybody else.
Here hyperbole shades into truth: It's degree of anxiety and management of anxiety that matters. So many degrees of overlay determine the final number. Is race/ethnicity a factor in this and do I need to be aware of my own semi-conscious prejudice? Damn well better. Autopilot, the unquestioned premise, is a dangerous thing.
But it's not simple, and I'm a teachable guy. As the President said, it really is all about calibrating the truth of the moment, not ignoring it.
Addendum: It's brown ochre, also known as Goethite.