Some Americans Unhappy with the Stew in our Melting Pot.

In the early seventies, my great-aunt Myrtle would say the N-word at restaurants.

She’d always treat my family to a big meal at one of the Lithuanian joints near her Chicago south side brownstone.  Myrtle was an old-school racist who detested people of color and everything else non-Lithuanian that was beginning to infiltrate her neighborhood.  On more than one occasion, within easy earshot of a nearby black person, she’d start muttering “N!$$#r” loud enough for all to hear.  That word pops out at you (it’s that harsh ‘NIHG’ sound) even if you’re only six and have no idea what it means.

But the adults at the table knew.

The first time it happened, my parents tried to ignore her and awkwardly change the topic.  Eventually, though, my mother told her quite clearly (and loud enough for all to hear) how unacceptable that type of language is and threatened to end the meal abruptly if she ever heard Myrtle use that word again.

These days, Donald Trump is America’s great-aunt Myrtle.

The new Trumpian racist low that’s barreling its way through the news cycle today is regarding his comments during an immigration conversation with lawmakers.   At one point, referring to Haiti, Trump asked, “Why do we want all these people from ‘shithole countries’ coming here?” Apparently he followed that up with, “Why do we need more Haitians? Take them out.”  (Link to Article)

And the adults at the table…said…nothing.

Not even afterwards when they’d had some time to think about it.  According to CNN, “White House spokesperson Raj Shah did not deny the “shithole” remark, but instead said in a statement that Trump “is fighting for permanent solutions that make our country stronger by welcoming those who can contribute to our society, grow our economy and assimilate into our great nation.”  (Link to Article)  Imagine my parents telling that elderly black woman, “Myrtle is just fighting to make her neighborhood stronger by welcoming those who contribute.”

Uh, no, she dislikes black people and doesn’t care who knows.

So let’s not be so shocked when America’s great-aunt Myrtle says or does yet another racist thing – it should be no surprise at this point, it’s what old Myrtles do.  Let’s start paying more attention to the other adults at the table who stay silent during these outbursts of hate.  They’re supposed to be the clear thinkers here, the firm but loving grown-ups who should be saying, “Mr. President, this meal is over if you ever use those words again.”

Take Fox News, for example.

News magazine The Week reports, “Tucker Carlson rushed to Trump’s defense, blaming the backlash on overzealous political correctness, while Jesse Waters downplayed the comments as how “the forgotten men and women in America talk at the bar.”  On The Five, Watters said Trump’s remarks were “a little offensive,” but “there’s so many more offensive things happening in the world.”  (Link to Article)

And Trump’s followers tend to agree.

Read their tweets and comments.  You’ll see there are plenty of other people at the restaurant who concur with the ugliness this aunt Myrtle’s hissing.  They feel the exact same way but don’t have the guts to say it aloud.  And that’s a way bigger problem than one racist old fool because it tells us something about America that we’ve been denying.  Until there came a President Trump, we were all afraid to admit something very ugly about our country.

Half of us don’t like the stew that’s cooking up in the melting pot.

Maybe they expected it to stay a clear European broth with a boiled potato on the side, but America’s ingredients have become so much more diverse than that.  We’re a complex blending of international flavors, and it’s becoming apparent that without a head chef who appreciates his (or her!) ingredients, this experimental meal we’ve got going here will never quite work.

Time to embrace the stew, people.

Like it or not, this is who America is – a mishmash of cultures from everywhere who have come together to create a society that celebrates them all.  We’re what the world could be someday, only right now some folks are acting like that clear broth would be a lot more tasty.  Don’t be so astounded when they complain with a burst of their idiocy, and fear not, because thankfully most of our Aunt Myrtles are getting old and dying off.  There’s a younger generation of citizens showing up to the restaurant nowadays, and they have a hunger for the hearty goulash America has always been serving up.

And all the adults at the table are welcome to join in.

  • Mike Lukas

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7 thoughts on “Some Americans Unhappy with the Stew in our Melting Pot.

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  1. I have molted about seven layers of prejudiced skin, since I was a kid, and this, from one who was threatened with a whuppin’, if my father ever heard me say anything derogatory about Black folks. There were deeper strains at work, inside us all. Then there were our neighbours and the wider society, who had no compunction about working to maintain a lily white town. My late maternal grandfather must have been roaring with ghostly laughter, when a successful African-American attorney purchased the home in which Papa and Grama had raised nine children, upon the passing of my uncle, in 1994. Papa was a shoemaker, and regularly exhorted the unemployed Black men he encountered on the way to work, to get up and come into the factory. He disliked lazy people. He’d have loved Attorney David Nelson. He’d have despised Donald Trump.

    1. Amen. That sounds like an evolution to me, and that’s what we’re all capable of when we examine our own truths. Well done, and thanks for sharing that.

    1. In America N-word is how we say the derogatory word ‘N!gger’ when we don’t want to actually say it.
      As you can see, I’ve even replaced the ‘i’ with a ‘!’ here because I fear offending someone with that word, even though I’m just referencing it.

      1. Gosh… too complicated for me.
        Thanks for the explanation, I really couldn’t get what it was except that was some sort of insult or rude word.

  2. Now to the subject… “Trump is fighting for permanent solutions…” I can imagine those permanent solutions as building a wall (so people from the shithole won’t make their way to USA), bombing the island (so to clean the shithole) or a combination of both.
    About the American stew… it’s interesting how people quickly forgets and how some people are great at deceiving themselves.
    Some decades ago, Hitler said that he didn’t want to invade and take over two countries: UK and USA. Why? Because the British were a superior race (according to him) almost as good as the German. And USA because they descended from British and therefore inherited the same good qualities. Before anyone could say a word, Roosevelt who was US president at the moment replied to Hitler that US America was a land of freedom and diversity and that they welcomed everyone because in the mix of cultures and races laid their strength. Apparently Hitler stopped feeling admiration for USA after that letter. I wonder if someone dared to inform Der Führer that British are also a melting pot of different people and races who kept coming to the islands, invading, fighting and mixing with each other…
    I guess not.
    But my point is: America has been receiving people from almost every corner of the world, and suddenly some people come to discover the stew is an indiscernible mix and Americans are as far from the Arian race as anyone could be?
    I think the problem here, it’s not the use of certain words or how gross and ill-mannered this president can be; the problem is that behind him, out of the main focus, there are too many people thinking the same but keeping it for themselves or expressing it in a different way for the sake of political correctness. Nothing will get any better if many people think deep inside “Trump is right, he’s doing things in the best way for us”.

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