Important Travel Advisory for White People: Avoid the Ghetto!
by Alexander Zubatov
Perhaps you’ve heard the news: the NAACP has just announced its first-ever travel advisory. It is telling black people to use “extreme caution” in traveling to the State of Missouri. The reason? To curb the spate of baseless and recklessly asserted discrimination claims, Missouri just passed a bill that makes it, in the NAACP’s view, too difficult to prove discrimination. And, well, if you’re black and might have a tough time proving you’re being discriminated against in a particular state in the Union, you obviously should use “extreme caution” in traveling to such a state … because, well, you just never know when you’re really, really going to have to file a discrimination lawsuit, do you?
I’m not taking any view here about the wisdom of the Missouri law. The new requirement is that if you want to file a discrimination claim in Missouri, you have to prove that discrimination is the “motivating” factor in the conduct alleged rather than just a “contributing” factor. Of course (perhaps the NAACP forgot this point), you’ll still have all your federal discrimination claims available to you, and federal law, as you might have heard, is pretty broad in covering most of the discriminatory things that might happen to you while you’re in Missouri. But the NAACP isn’t convinced: “They’re legalizing discrimination in the state of Missouri,” Nimrod Chapel Jr., president of the NAACP in Missouri, has been quoted as saying.
So, with all that in mind, I’m going to issue a travel advisory of my own. Mine is for “white” people. Those are people with skin that looks like it’s on the paler side, so please take a moment to double-check yourself in the mirror or, if still uncertain, ask a more race-conscious friend, preferably a “black” friend (if you have any), to confirm that you are, indeed, “white.” Or rather (because race is a sociological fiction), the point is not whether you are “white” (there being no “fact” of that matter), but whether you’ll be perceived as “white” upon entering the ghetto.
If the answer to that question is yes, this travel advisory applies to you. The ghetto is dangerous for you. Avoid the ghetto. You might get sneered at, mocked, mugged, murdered or worse. This might happen to you in the ghetto if you’re black too — in fact, it’s statistically much more likely to happen to you if you’re black, especially if you already live in the ghetto. See, most white people already avoid the ghetto, and they’re wise to do that, so you might want to join them in avoiding the ghetto. You’re not wanted in the ghetto. Don’t stroll through the ghetto. Don’t shop in the ghetto. Definitely don’t loiter in the ghetto. Note: the danger of the ghetto isn’t the kind of thing you can protect yourself against once you’re already in the ghetto. If you try to do the sensible thing of crossing the street in order to avoid a thug in the ghetto, if that thug happens to be black, you will get accused of discrimination (unless, of course, you’re in Missouri, where discrimination is now legal … or so I’ve heard). On the other hand, if you walk too close to a black person when you’re in the ghetto, you will also get accused of discrimination. Face it: when you’re in the ghetto, you can’t win. Stay out of the ghetto.
And if you’re foolish enough to move into the ghetto, especially if you’re middle-class or above, you might get accused of gentrifying the ghetto (yes, yes, I know gentrification is actually a good thing, but I’m not the one you need to convince), which isn’t yet a capital offense in most states and is, of this writing, still borderline legal here in New York, but I believe Mayor De Blasio will soon be looking into criminalizing it to take attention away from the fact that, in order to appease his supporters in the ghetto and make them feel more at home in the rest of the city, he’s let the city fall into a state of lawlessness that will be familiar and comforting to ghetto residents, has prevented cops from cracking down on “ghetto” behaviors — aggressive panhandling, shirtless “thuggery” (sure, it’s a vague category, but I’m sure it refers to something more or less recognizable), public urination and defecation, blasting simplistic, tasteless, profanity-laced music in public, etc. — outside the ghetto, has allowed the subway to turn into the ghetto by making a point of not doing anything about the proliferation of homeless hobos stinking up and delaying the trains and harassing passengers, and has generally pandered to the ghetto at the expense of everyone else.
In other words, the whole city of New York is turning into the ghetto. Heck, with the aggressive protests and crackdown on “whiteness” at universities, #Blacklivesmatter ever on the warpath, the standard of what counts as acceptable public behavior going down and down and down and the NFL officially endorsing classless, unsportsmanlike conduct commonly seen in the ghetto and now presented to you for your entertainment in the form of “touchdown celebrations,” the whole country is turning into the ghetto.
White people, you can’t really avoid the ghetto. The ghetto is coming to get you! So, sorry, maybe I should’ve issued a different, more sweeping travel advisory. Here it is—
Attention all “white” people: Forsake the ghetto! Flee to Canada!
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Alexander Zubatov is a practicing attorney specializing in general commercial litigation. He is also a practicing writer specializing in general non-commercial poetry, fiction, drama, essays and polemics. In the words of one of his intellectual heroes, José Ortega y Gasset, biography is “a system in which the contradictions of a human life are unified.”
Some of his articles have appeared in The Federalist, Times Higher Education, The Independent Journal Review, Acculturated, PopMatters, The Hedgehog Review, Mercatornet, The Montreal Review, The Fortnightly Review, New English Review, Culture Wars and nthposition.
He makes occasional, unscheduled appearances on Twitter (https://twitter.com/Zoobahtov).