Since I’ve been getting more comments than usual and I don’t want to upset any of my readers any more than I already have, I will leap over this whole nettlesome issue of identity and tell you who I really am. Over the past month I’ve been a white man dressed up and made up to look like a black man who is poorly dressed and made up to look like a white man. I’ve been going into public places to write my daily blog under different characters in order to explore the issue of race and identity. It’s going into a 500-page book which will be about being a white man seen as a black man who’s trying to look like a white man pretending to be somebody else. Yes, even I still get a headache trying to figure out the layers of selfhood involved in this experiment. The important thing is that I’m refuting the notion that race is a black or white kind of thing. Believe it or not there are some people who still laugh at jokes that run along the lines of, “And then white guys are the ones who (insert any lame observation about the way you once saw a white guy lift a video off the shelf), but black guys are all like (insert any other way that videos can be lifted off a shelf)” 
   I’m a psychologist at the University of Northern California and this is today’s story…

The Day the Colors Bled

    On April 1st, people all over the world started feeling funny, a tingling sensation somewhere inside that no one could place exactly. Friends got into fights over whether the pinprick of feeling was in front of or behind the stomach. Even doctors disagreed while they scratched their heads or asses in front of rows of illuminated x-rays. By the end of the day, this odd phenomenon was dominating everything from headlines to diaries to the conversations of beggars and billionaires. 
   On the sun’s next run of 24 hours around the globe, people started to panic as the humming sensation spread through their organs and bones. “Jesus Christ is coming back to earth as it has been foretold by the book of Revelations. The scrolls that John eats in chapter 12 symbolized the way that Jesus would come back through our bellies,”  shouted one preacher from a pulpit in Vermont. “We are all getting sick from the debris of the spy satellite shot out of the sky. I have the cure. The antidote is to swallow this tiny particle from another spy satellite that crashed in Canada in the fifties,” shouted a retired scientist on television. He was selling each particle for a thousand dollars. He figured that if he could make enough money by the weekend, he’d fulfill his dream of flying to Vegas for the day. “This is the wrath of God. He’s killing us all,” screamed one doomsayer from a sidewalk corner in London. “This is the wrath of Allah. It is Allah who will kill us all,” screamed another preacher from across the street. Enraged at each other’s ignorance, they ran at each other and where both flattened in the middle of the street by a double-decker full of Muslims, Jews and Christians who were in London to attend a conference on “Finding Middle Ground in the Kingdom of Heaven.”  The spreading sickness had put an early end to the conference. 
    On the third day, people’s skin started to itch and then on the fourth day vision was affected. Schools were closed, businesses shut down for the day and windows began to get smashed. Police, security guards young and old and the military were called out in full force. People left baseball bats by their front doors barricaded by chairs and old computer monitors. On the fifth day, people woke to the horrible sight of their skin-color splashed across their bed and blankets.  Thousands woke up to the end of their life, as the sight of black or white or whatever other color you call yourself, spread out like a mold across previously blue or yellow sheets. Over the course of the day, a person’s color seeped out from their skin and into their clothes or even the floor at their feet, leaving a path of color that spread and spread and spread. By the end of the day walls and streets were turning red or yellow, black and white and even precious jewels were changed within everyone’s sight. When people realized that they were in the path of a color change slowly coming towards them, they panicked and race riots started to break out around the globe, dazzling the night sky with flames.
    The sixth day was the sadness day in the history of the world: “The niggers’ ink is spreading.” “White cracker honkies are playing white out on the world.”  “Yellow people’s pee is seeping everywhere.”  “If red gets on you, Injun blood will drive you crazy too.” Murder was the disorder of the day. Weapons were unleashed as countries feared the worst from their neighbors.
   Weeks later, as the unrelenting flow of seeping colors bled completely into one another, a radiant glow grew into the fabric of every object. The vivid colors of a sunset glimmered from everything.  The survivors wept at what the rest of the world had lost. If only they had known, people muttered within mouthfuls of tears.
Advertisements