I’m Sick of Cultural Awareness
Helloooo. I’m Mrs. Geoffrey. I’m sitting here in my expensive townhouse. I
gaze out the window at the noon sun glistening on our $500 birdhouse. A Martin Luther King
day march passes by. I clutch my $18,000 emerald necklace which Geoffrey purchased just
yesterday, on a whim. A newspaper with the headlines "Clinton Begins a National
Dialogue About Race" falls from my lap to the floor. A tear forms. Oh, God. Will
these brown, red, and yellow people steal all the hard earned money my husband Geoffrey
inherited from his robber baron great-grandfather? Will they destroy our culture, our way
of life? Will we have to sell the $3 million Van Gogh to keep "them" from
getting their grubby hands on it?
I am frantic with worry. To calm my fears, I ring for the chauffeur and he drives me to
my favorite store. As I contemplate the purchase of something expensive, a high school Pep
Rally marches by. Several shopper gals and I move to the windows to watch as mostly white
(therefore adorable) high schoolers march by. Suddenly, there is a group marching behind a
"Cultural Awareness" banner. They are all black. I grasp my handbag and my
jewelry. You can’t be too careful. One of them may dart into the store and
"culturally aware" my $5,000 gold watch bracelet into his/her pocket.
Then a float passes by filled with lovely white students dressed as Indians. A gal next
to me says she doesn’t think white students dressing as Indians is very
"culturally aware." Another gal says proudly and loudly, "I’m sick of
cultural awareness. If these nice white gals and boys want to dress as Indians, let
I leave the shop, the words "I’m sick of cultural awareness" ringing in
my ears. To calm myself I go to see that film Amistad. I thought it was going to be
about British colonials ruling the seas, conquering and pillaging in the name of Empire.
(My ancestors among them, I might add, proudly.) But to my horror, I watch three hours of
"brown/black people fighting for freedom," (i.e., trying to take over our
country and destroy our way of life).
I wanted to shout, "I’m sick of cultural awareness. If the white race wants
to steal Africans from their villages and sell them into slavery, let them." Besides,
we all know that Africans came willingly because they’d heard how wonderful it was to
live on American plantations. Some also came as part of a giant conspiracy to destroy
democracy, which, by the way, is a concept only white people comprehend, as exemplified by
our founding fathers when they denied gals and non whites the right to be called human
I am so upset by this movie, I go to the beauty parlor for a wash, set, manicure, and
massage. I am under the hair dryer, leafing through a woman’s magazine, reading all
about Kenny and Bobbi McCaughey who gave birth to seven babies all at once. It is such a
moving story. Why? Because it is a well-deserved slap in the face to all the com-les-fem
gals out there who, since the 1960s, have refused to fulfill their god-given roles as the
weaker vessel. Because it is a slap in the face to all the fem-les-coms who are having
abortions willy nilly because they won’t accept their god-given role as the weaker
vessel. Because it puts God back in the birth process. Pregnancy is God’s way of
keeping those empty vessels filled. I instruct the chauffeur to send off a $10 gift to add
to the many well-deserved prizes the McCaugheys have already received from various friends
and state agencies.
Of course, the McCaugheys’ God is Methodist whereas the true God is part
Presbyterian, part Episcopal. And isn’t McCaughey an Irish name? Well, I’ll deal with
Anyhoo, I am all relaxed under the hair dryer, leafing through this women’s
magazine, when a non white gal appeared to upset me yet again. This gal was using fashion
to push affirmative action. Is there nothing these gals of color won’t stoop to? Not
only that, this non white gal in the fashion spread, which I have included here, is
"supporting her friends," clearly a subversive activity. She’s
"standing up for herself," a lesbian activity, for sure. She’s demanding,
not to mention shopping for, clothes. In stores where white people shop! Clearly, a threat
to democracy (i.e., white culture). Of course, I wouldn’t be caught dead in Sears.
But if she’s shopping at Sears, can Neiman Marcus, Bonwit Teller, and my exclusive
dress shop be far behind?
Clearly, this gal is out to seduce and our sons and produce masses of babies (probably
at least seven) and steal our hard earned money by milking the welfare system or demanding
the right to live nearby.
I leave the beauty parlor in a state of shock. I arrive home. The maid brings me a
cocktail. Then my husband Geoffrey comes home. He tells me all about his day. Our son is
having trouble at his exclusive private school. Geoffrey had been speaking to the head
master. They’re giving our son special help, thank goodness.
I tell him about Clinton’s dialogue on race; about the cultural awareness march,
about the gal in the magazine who wants to marry our son and steal our Renoir and our
country blind. Geoffrey, I say, what’s to become of us? As that gal in the store
said, "Why can’t we dress up like Indians (or anyone else we’ve
slaughtered) in the name of freedom and for Chrissakes?"
Geoffrey dries my tears. "Silly," he says, using my pet nickname.
"Nothing can make a dent in the amount of wealth we’ve been able to accumulate
through my inheritance and various stock market scams, not to mention favorable
legislation since the Reagan Bush years."
"Really?," I gurgle. "Smerf," says Geoffrey. We wander through our
lovely home, fingers lightly brushing our possessions: the little desk in the library,
$55,000; the hand woven carpet in the salon, $300,000. Oops. Geoffrey doesn’t like me
to talk about how much things cost. Geoffrey says you don’t earn money, you deserve
it. Geoffrey says "Quality is back. People what quality and if they can’t have
it, they want us to have it. It’s the same with affirmative action and cultural
He says you don’t earn the right to a decent way of life. You deserve it. Geoffrey
says it’s not about civil rights, cultural awareness, or affirmative action because
they’re beside the point. It’s about whether non whites deserve to be treated as
whites, and therefore as human beings. And they don’t. If God thought non white
people deserved food and clothing and a Van Gogh, He would have made things that way.
I’m happy now. Our son is getting the help he needs to be the future corporate
banking lawyer he deserves to be. And we won’t have to sell the Matisse.
To celebrate, we throw a costume party for all our friends—the deserving .05
percent of the population. Everyone comes dressed as someone who doesn’t deserve to be
here and who deserves to be stepped on: Slave, wage slaves, Indians, those demanding civil
rights, those refusing to be weaker vessels, the "culturally aware"—
whatever. After dinner we gather in the east ballroom and dance the night away. My
favorite is the "Hokussy Pokussy." It goes like this:
You put your nest egg in
We steal your nest egg out
Stuff some in our pockets
Invest the rest about
We won’t be in the poky
Equal justice is a jokey
That’s why you bail us out
You put your taxes in
We take our tax breaks out
Blame the welfare mothers
No one will figure it out
Rich whites you will not soaky
Cause we’ll put you in the poky
That’s what it’s all about.
We put our businesses in
You try to kick them out
We send the cops in
Spread them all about
Cultural awareness makes us sicky
Our pockets you won’t picky
We’re gonna keep you out.
Thanks to readers for the Sears ads and information on the McCaughey’s; thanks to a
Doug Beekman cartoon for first verse and chorus to "Hokussy Pokussy." I
overheard the "cultural awareness" comment in a gourmet kitchen store during a
high school football rally.