Tag: Seinfeld

Blurry

A couple of years ago, I had to a take a brief hiatus from the blog because I was recovering from eye surgery.

After my eye healed up, I foolishly thought that I would not have to worry about my vision until I was well into a bitter, memory-addled old age where everything on the body starts to go and I begin ranting about how kids today are disrespectful brats who don’t wear any damn clothes.

But that was before I found out that eye surgery weakens those orbs floating in your head. As such, your odds of suffering something as random and bizarre as say, a retinal detachment, greatly increase.

And so when I started seeing floaters and bright blue flashes, I figured that it was not God passing along visions and premonitions to me. It was indeed my retina detaching.

My surgeon says that I caught it in the nick of time. Apparently, I was about two days away from going permanently blind in one eye. If I were a traditional Latino guy who never went to the doctor, that would have happened.

But I seem to have gotten it fixed. It’s too soon to tell, but the prognosis is good.

In any case, my retinal detachment is the reason why the posts may become more irregular over the next few weeks. I’m hoping to maintain a regular schedule, but I can’t promise.

At the very least, my misbegotten retina has prevented me from attending local Latino happenings. For example, I was going to write a truly witty and insightful piece about the National Pork Board’s recent contest, where several Latino chefs got together to dazzle epicureans by showing off everything they can do with pig.

I was invited to cover this event, but I declined because I had a checkup scheduled. My doctor wanted to see how the retina was healing up, and we spent time reminiscing about how he stuck needles into my eye — good times.

So all I can tell you is that the post covering the contest would have been full of insights about the importance of food in Hispanic culture, and loaded with funny and/or poignant quotes from the winner, and layered with Seinfeldian jokes about how much Hispanics love pork. Oh, and there was going to be this truly amazing metaphor that would have singlehandedly gotten me shortlisted for the Pulitzer. Trust me, it was gong to be spectacular.

Instead, I missed it, and I’m stuck squinting at the computer.

Damn my eye.


Just a Little Hostile

Remember on Seinfeld, when one of the characters (usually Elaine) would get all freaked out over some minor slight? Much of that show’s comedy flowed from conniptions over mild social transgressions, such as neglecting to send a thank-you card or issuing improper credit for the big salad or speaking too close to one’s face.

Well, you’ll be delighted to know that such petty behaviors have their own sociological term, but only if they are directed at ethnic minorities.

In such cases, they are called acts of racial microaggression, and they are “brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioral, or environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative racial slights and insults toward people of color.”

Microaggression is what occurs when security guards follow black people around stores, or an Asian American is told he speaks English well, or a Latino is mistaken for a day laborer. It’s the little things, subtle behaviors that a person may not even notice — unless they are directed at you.

In its nuances, microaggression is different from some racist nut screaming epithets and yelling at us to get out of the country (I believe that would be considered bugfuck macroaggression, technically speaking).

There are also microinsults and microinvalidation, and the truly alarming concept of microassault. I assume that last one involves bigots with tiny fists.

Just about any ethic minority can give examples of microaggression from his or her own life. These are moments when we are told (not overtly, of course) that we don’t belong.

The existence of this concept is undeniable. But does that mean racial microaggression has any real power? In other words, is this a real problem, the infamous death by a thousand cuts, or is it just fancied-up whining?

An argument can be made that, yes, a person repeatedly subjected to innuendo and between-the-lines insults will soon believe that he or she is inferior. But one could also say that such jabs are too weak, even when accumulated, to do any lasting damage.

I would be interested to know if anyone has done any research on the real-world effects of this phenomenon. I would also like to know if people who indulge in racial microaggression are accidental racists.

In any case, the punishment for such behavior could not be clearer, nor more severe.

That’s right: No soup for you.


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