The night before Andrea’s law school graduation, we had drinks with her mom Mrs. S, her stepdad Tim, and her uncles Lee and Jamie. Mrs. S and Tim are Republicans from Florida. They love Sarah Palin and hate President Obama. They’re outspoken Fox News conservatives.
Adding alcohol to this outing guaranteed one of two outcomes. Either Mrs. S and Tim would have fun and not bring up politics or everyone would get into a screaming match by the end of the night. Andrea was willing to risk the latter, in hopes that the former would occur.
By the third round of drinks, Tim surpassed drunk and proceeded to belligerent.
“I’m not represented in this country — not with the current president!”
I rolled my eyes and took the bait. “Really, Tim?”
“I’m a minority where we live!”
“Y’all live in Orlando.”
“Most of our neighbors are Hispanic!”
“Let’s backtrack. How are you oppressed as a straight white man in America?”
“I’m not oppressed, I’m just sayin’ that more…y’know…”
“More what? Or whom?”
“More minorities are — ”
“Procreating? Living in your neighborhood? Taking jobs that were previously held by white people?”
“Must be tough to feel isolated and shafted out of opportunities because of your skin color.”
“It’s very tough.”
“Imagine if generations of your family had to deal with that.”
Tim paused, pondering this.
“The thing is, they haven’t and it’s highly unlikely they will.”
“But what if — ”
“If we minorities outnumber y’all white folks, we’re not going to inflict reverse racism on you.”
“Not outta spite?”
“You’ve got white (and male) privilege. You’ll never know what it’s like to be discriminated against because of your race or gender.”
“I still don’t feel represented by Congress — ”
“The majority of Congress is made of middle-aged white men.”
“Who you callin’ middle-aged?!”
“Plus, President Obama is biracial. He’s half-white. Which you white dudes tend to forget.”
“Not that it should have any bearing on his leadership abilities. Just pointing out facts.”
“Obama may be biracial, but he’s still a socialist!”
“I need another drink before we continue this conversation.”