People say interesting things sometimes. I'm not talking about the overtly racist stuff, but the stuff that is a little off, seemingly harmless, and just weird. I usually laugh and keep it moving, but I think I need to start paying closer attention.
Last week, SwirlNYC had a screening for the great documentary on the controversial Cory Booker-Sharpe James mayoral election of 2000 in Newark, Street Fight. The film was fabulous and brought quite a bit of people out -- both Swirl members and Bluestockings customers (we had the event in the bookstore). We had a lively conversation afterwards, touching on the intersection of race and politics, how crucial education is in the fighting of racism, etc. Afterwards, there were still a good number of people who hung around to continue talking.
I met Ben and Wilkie, two older gentleman (one approximately in his 70s and one in his 80s) who introduced themselves to me as native Lower East Siders. Wilkie showed me the LES-secret-handshake (apparently, if I shake any LES-er's hand this way, I get whatever I need!), the three of us shared stories of growing up Jewish in New York City, and then Wilkie gave me the lowdown on The Wilkie Doctrine. He spoke very seriously about this, but I am still not sure if he was pulling my leg. He honestly told me that the only way that we are going to put a dent in racism is if we all bought into and followed the Wilkie Doctrine. Basically, it's his policy of sanctioning interracial relationships by giving financial rewards to those who enter mixed marriages. Hey! Throw about 20K at these people for their first house, and we get ourselves into a better situation, racially, right? I immediately started laughing, but he responded by throwing his hands out and saying, "What?! It's the only way!" I asked him what he has done with this doctrine...if he has talked with people about it. His response:
"All the time! But black men don't like me telling them what to do and who to marry." Oh, Wilkie.
Say word. :|