Something’s been bothering me this presidential primary season, and I know just what it is.
“Soccer moms” and “football dads.”
Not them, really, but the fact that they get to have colorful and descriptive nicknames. And I don’t.
I’ve been waiting for something intriguing and multi-syllabic. Maybe a phrase that rhymes. If you look at me, there’s certainly a lot to work with: middle-class, college-educated, city-dwelling.
Then I hear it: black.
All those highly paid pundits and pollsters sitting in plush conference rooms for hours – and that’s the best they could do?
Race talk would be fine if it were logical, just one part of a nuanced debate. But too often, race is used to let others define and limit people who are more like them than they want to admit.
I grew up working class, with bona fides bred in a Baltimore row house and a father who worked two and three jobs. He even had one of those work shirts with his names embroidered on the pocket.
But somehow, between then and now, “working class” morphed into shorthand for ethnic whites.
Apparently, you can’t be black and blue – collar.
Catholic – I’m that, too.
But when they talk about Catholic voters, they never mean me. White folks get to be everything – farmers, housewives and philatelists. Minorities are one-size-fits-all.
When thinly slicing a diverse electorate, we count people who drive trucks and shoot guns. I’ve done all those things.
Yet when those prognosticators stand before the pie charts on primary night, I get just one spot.
Hey, you could lump me together with the magazine-reading gym-rats and I’d be satisfied.
This election season, there’s talk of a divide between women and blacks. Guess what? I’m all that and more. But I don’t get to be.
Well starting now, I’m taking control of my own fate. I want some adjectives.
“Theater-lover” is fine.
“Cute” is better.
Race matters, still. But it’s not all that matters.