The Washington Post recently accompanied a feature about office Christmas parties with the above illustration. Sharp-eyed reader Linda Franklin thuse felt that she had to lambaste the paper for its diversity blindness in today’s “Free For All” extension to the usual Letters to the Editor section. Admittedly, “Free For All” is where the Post stows its pedants and cranks. There was a letter today complaining that a penguin story had a photo of the wrong species of penguin. Another guy, who just missed having a post written here about him, chided the Post for letting “global-warming deniers” off as being called mere “skeptics,” because according to Skeptical Inquirer magazine, “skeptic is an honored term that should be reserved for those who are guided by scientific evidence,” and the Associated Press “will no longer use the term skeptics for those who reject the findings of climate science.” That’s right, you ass, tar with the equivalent of Holocaust denial those who reasonably and properly cry foul at those who claim certainty in the notoriously speculative climate science field and who don’t believe current research on the subject justifies such nonsensical and self-destructive policy decisions as blocking the Keystone Pipeline.
But I digress. Franklin’s letter is a societal warning that the obsession with group identification, quotas and diversity can lead to societal insanity. in other words, Linda is contagious.
“There was a significant fault in the illustration accompanying “Significant bother,” Linda began.
Having seen the drawing and immediately gone to work with her abacus, she determined that that 20 people who have some skin color indicated (on their faces, hands or back of their necks) and four in the foreground who are bluish. (“That’s funny, they don’t look Bluish!” I thought that joke was funny when I saw “Yellow Submarine,” and I still do. No, I never grew up. Linda, I’m sure, thinks this means I’m an anti-Semite.) Of the 24 people who are meant to be at an office party, she calculated, “only two men are obviously African American, one blue woman might be African-American, one woman is probably Asian and one person has gray hair.”
Linda is outraged, and probably wrote her missive with tears streaming down her cheeks. “Is this really a fair way to depict the employees of an office?” she cries.
I glanced at the picture for a second or two and thought: an office party. This is because I’m normal. Would the mix of skin colors in the drawing, say, having twenty African Americans and only four whites, have changed by reaction in any way? No. Neither the illustration nor the article was about race. To social justice scolds like Linda, however, everything is about race, all the time. Don’t they make it a wonderful, peaceful, friendly nation?
Well, no, actually.
Linda never considered whether there were more blacks, Asians and old people outside the frame of the drawing, where the blue people dwell. Maybe she did; maybe her point is that ethnic minorities should be evenly distributed at all parties, so no matter what segment of the group you look at, it is properly diverse. Wow. That will be tough. I think that would require something like a giant Twister pad, with colored circles (gray for the seniors of course) to guide party-goers where to stand. Come to think of it, I don’t see any trans individuals in the office party either: how did Linda miss that? Wait–is that Caitlyn Jenner in the long brown hair and green blouse?
Linda isn’t concerned with race, apparently, but appearances. Offices that are properly constituted must have a certain percentage of workers who look black. I count [But I’m not as good at this as Linda, having had much less practice, I imagine. Linda gets on the subway, looks around the car and says to herself, “Wait! There are 62 people on this train, and only 28 blacks. In Washington D.C.? Is this a racist car? Is this creeping white supremacy? The quota in the subway is usually at least 58% blacks at this stop! What’s happening????”] at least eight individuals in the photo who could be black, and many more who are as black-looking as Jessica Alba, Derek Jeter, Mariah Carey, or Jennifer Beals. That doesn’t matter, though, they have to be obviously black to count. BlackLivesMatter, here’s your next crusade: to count as black in the workplace, you must be really black. If your race is at all ambiguous, then you are white if you shoot a black kid, and black if you get shot by a cop.
This is the next vista for diversity activists: drawings and other fictional representations of groups. The EEOC and Civil Rights Commission need to expand their authority into regulating disaster movie crowd scenes and museums that display famous paintings. Obama could accomplish this with an Executive Order–I wonder why he hasn’t? Linda and her like-minded quota-mongers would then be sent out to count the black faces in crowded canvases like Hieronymus Bosch’s “The Garden of Earthly Delights”:
How dare the painter show all these white bodies! There are only two blacks that I can see—of course, this is supposed to be a side corridor on the path to Hell, an “erotic derangement that turns us all into voyeurs, a place filled with the intoxicating air of perfect liberty.” Still, affirmative action should apply…here, there, everywhere, forever.
“People notice these things,” Linda’s letter concludes ominously. Yes, Linda: deranged people whose warped idea of a racially healthy culture is one where “people” are judged by the color of their skin rather than their character, and where even works of art must adhere to rigid rules of racial and ethnic balance. Donald Trump has garnered enough support from the intellectually-challenged half of the voter pool the to be a serious threat to win the Presidency because people like you are working so hard to turn the U.S. into a race-mad, partitioned, advancement by skin color, guilt-mongering, government dominated, media brain-washed, censored, fearful, tyranny of the offended society akin to the place that the most famous section of the Bosch tryptic suggests…