Speaking as a white male, I realize that I really shouldn’t speak as a white male. That’s two strikes against me, right from the start. Race and gender are fluid, they’re merely societal constructs, which is why white men need to shut up. So let me apologize up front. But out of all the things I feel guilty about, the thing I feel most guilty about is that I don’t feel guilty about enough things. Sure, I’m directly responsible for all the evils in the world — me, personally, as an individual human being — by virtue of the immutable characteristics I was born with. My mere existence is a stain upon the world. I’m a blight on society. I am the problem. I realize all that, okay? I’m not some sort of fascist. But admonishing myself for things I can’t control doesn’t give me enough of a masochistic thrill. I’m always on the lookout for even more reasons to grovel for forgiveness, simply for being me. Please forgive me when I say I need to atone just for breathing.
Wait a minute. Breathing… That’s it! Air. I’ve made the air itself racist, haven’t I? I’m creating a toxic atmosphere, and not just with my awful opinions. Back me up on this one, Science!
Blacks and Hispanics disproportionately breathe air that’s been polluted by non-Hispanic whites, according to a study. This new research quantifies for the first time the racial gap between who causes air pollution – and who breathes it.
“Pollution is disproportionately caused by whites, but disproportionately inhaled by black and Hispanic minorities,” the study said…
“What is especially surprising is just how large pollution inequity is and has been for well over a decade,” [study co-author Jason] Hill said.
It’s “pollution inequity.” White people have a “pollution advantage” because we breathe less pollution than we generate. Every time we go pretty much anywhere or do pretty much anything, we’re widening the atmosphere gap. We’re creating air disparity. Presumably we owe some sort of oxygen reparations. A wind windfall, as it were.
It seems like we need some sort of law-enforcement agency to address this atmospheric injustice. I thought of a really cool name, but then I googled it and somebody’s already using “Air Force.”
But why stop there, my fellow crackers? There must be other ways we’re making everything worse. What other necessities of life are we white people ruining for everybody else?
- Light. Pale skin throws back more light than dark skin does. White people brighten up the room, if only literally. How is that fair? It’s not enough that black people absorb more of our prejudice, they have to absorb more of our light too? White folks need to reflect on how much we reflect. And by the way, stop telling people to lighten up, you racists!
- Food. I don’t know the statistics off the top of my head, and as a white person I’m too lazy to look it up, but naturally I assume Caucasians are fatter than everybody else. (That feels true. It may or may not be precisely, factually, and semantically correct, but it makes me feel better when I say it, so that means it’s morally right.) What about our caloric inequity, white folks? What about our fat advantage?
- Water. Who invented Perrier? Uh, hello, it was white people! Who came up with the idea of putting plain tap water in bottles and selling it for as much as soft drinks? I don’t know, but I’ll bet it was a white dude. LaCroix, which tastes like what would happen if someone whose first language isn’t English tried to describe the sensation of walking through a faint cloud of air freshener, is made by really weird white dudes. Damn. White people so thirsty.
Oh well. On behalf of white people all over the world: Sorry for not clearing the air!