Black People Make Me Nervous

Pictured: Gerald William Bunson

People keep saying that maybe the whole tragedy in New Orleans thing was racially motivated -- that maybe the government would've moved a little quicker had it been a more white area affected by the hurricane. I don't know about that, but I do know that if that is what happened, I can sort of sympathize. I'm no racist, but black people just plain old make me nervous.

I mean, look at what's happening now. There's a big resurgence with black people feeling camaraderie and that kind of thing, feeling togetherness and what have you. The whole thing just unnerves me as a white guy. What the hell do I have to identify with other white guys about? Maybe a giant plague that wiped out Native Americans could make us feel the same way that blacks are feeling now, but outside of that, such feelings of togetherness and whatever are really pretty alien to me. Shit, my neighbor is white, and the thin facade of friendliness that we both put up when happening to take out the trash together is all I need to know that given the chance, we'd kill and eat each other. Not to survive, or anything. Just to do it. Thank Christ it can't flood around here, because that's all the reason we'd need.

What are they planning down there, all united like that? It has to be something. Violent reparations? God damn, I can't help what my ancestors did! I even try and make up for it by being extra-nice to black people now, even though I'm always vaguely uncomfortable and self-conscious around them. "Oh, hey, sit here," I told one of them the other day while we were riding the bus and he was looking for a seat. "It's a little closer to the front, and I know you'd probably appreciate that." But he just gave me this look that I've come to expect from African Americans whenever I talk to them -- the look that says, "I'm about half a dice throw away from stabbing your ass, cracker." That's how they talk, too. I've seen Chappelle's Show.

And really, the whole idea of the government moving faster if the area was more white is just ridiculous. Louisiana does have white people living there, too. What about them? Did the government secretly save them right away and then let the blacks languish in the water for a while, or did the blacks bite them and turn them black? Wait, can that happen? I remember it's vampires, zombies, and I think black people. Asians look like their teeth might be sharper, though, so maybe it's them.

I guess lots of black folks don't think a purposeful government delay is so ridiculous, though -- how about that one rapper, Kanye West? "George W. Bush doesn't care about black people," he said, and Mike Myers, who was probably nervous enough standing next to a black guy in the first place, looked pretty freaked out. But I think the President and the rest of his cabinet care plenty about black people -- they were just nervous to show up right away. I mean, it just flooded, tempers are a little high, and all of a sudden here comes whitey sailing in on ships that probably remind them of the slave days. People could get shot. Drugs could be dealt. The government just needed to give that whole area a little time to have its spirit broken enough so that most of the danger was gone.

But help is arriving, now. I've read that even some rappers are donating their money and bitches, which is pretty unusual, considering rappers aren't nice people. Aren't they all in jail, or going to jail, or coming out of jail? Call me old-fashioned, but I'll take a good old rock star any day. Plus, rappers spell their names with bizarre letters. "Timbaland"? Jeez, where'd the "er" go? That "a" doesn't do anything but make me nervous. It's like, if the "er" can be dropped for an "a" so quickly, then maybe my watch isn't so safe on my wrist either, if you catch my drift. It's gold, so it's probably a prime target to be melted down and made into bling bling.

Instead of making outlandish claims about the speed of the government's response, I think black people should just take some time to sit down and understand white people a little better. Maybe if they saw where we were coming from, they wouldn't be so quick to throw judgments and wild accusations. I certainly hope that the next black guy I cross the street to avoid walking past will keep an open mind.

Gerald William Bunson currently lives in North Dakota, where he writes usage directions for toilet paper. This column appears in his forthcoming book, "Why I'm Afraid Of Minorities", which already has high preorder numbers in thousands of American suburbs.

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