Chapter 9: A Dinner Party
Nora was out with friends! It was a nice dinner they were having, a little party at Nick and Shiela Westermans’ (Women’s Studies). Shel Goldstein (Anthropology) and Marie were there, along with the couple Donna and Cindy (Environmental Studies), and Charles Jonas (Black Studies). The Westermans’ had a lovely house, well mansion would be the real word for it, just off of the University, quite close to the mansion of Jesse Jackson, Sr. and down the way from the home of Barrack Obama. Nick and Shiela were both professors in Women’s Studies, no children (‘bravo!’ thought Nora), and both had inherited large amounts of money.
“So, we don’t really have to work, you know,” said Shiela, in her languid, cultured voice. She sounded as if she had accents from England, France and South America all rolled in to one strange one, and indeed she had resided in all of those places growing up. “It’s just the right thing to do- to give back, you know,” she said. She was wearing what was just then the height of fashion in Hyde Park upper circles- a dashiki with an African type of print, although made of 100% silk in Paris, not Africa. She actually only taught one class per week, the rest of her time was spent in unstructured “research”.
Nick poured out wine for himself, and raised his eyebrows. “Any refills?” Nora held out her glass, smiling. Nick filled her glass, and then that of Charles, who was sitting next to her.
“Thanks, my nigger,” said Charles, who was black. Everyone smiled delightedly- Charles had explained to them all that if a black person called you a “nigger”, it was a term of endearment. But he also explained that if any white person were to say the same thing, he would be racist scum, and probably should be jailed for extreme cultural unawareness. Nora didn’t really get the logic; if something is bad for someone to do, does it not follow it is a bad thing for anyone to do? But she just smiled, and went along with the crowd. After all, these were her people.
As a matter of fact, this is exactly what all of them, all of these wealthy, privileged, entitled people did as a matter of course- they went along with the crowd. Here in this bastion of higher learning, a place of supposed free speech and diversity of opinion, there was absolutely no tolerance for diversity whatsoever. You were either politically correct, meaning you changed your viewpoint determined by the elite liberal “fashion” of the moment, or else you were not only wrong and ignorant, but hateful and an awful human being!
The Westermans’ had a “girl” working for them, a Mexican immigrant named Rosie. In her 40’s, Rosie did all the housework, cooking, and cleaning in the household, for which she was granted a small room in the back, and the privilege to cook her own food after Nick and Shiela were done eating. Rosie was illegal, and so not only did they not have to pay her very much at all, they also didn’t have to provide Social Security or Medical benefits for her.
Rosie was handing out plates of food, all vegan. There were lentils, rice, all kinds of beans, and stringy looking salad greens with oilless dressing. No salt shaker was available, and no butter, but there was a large assortment of dry bread. Murmurs of happiness arose from the diners, as they all took very small bites of the food, and then put down their forks for more wine.
“I really don’t know why so many people think they need to kill animals,” said Donna. If all of us could just be content with eating vegetables the world would be such a better place! Really, there should be legislation prohibiting animal abuse like that!” Her cheeks were flushed with her passion for this cause, and her “partner” Cindy nodded in agreement. Both were easily 80 pounds overweight.
Shel Goldstein piped up, with his rather high, nasal voice. “I know if we were all eating vegan, the environment would not be so challenged. Fruits and vegetables, bread and pasta- one should ask for no more!” He reached for a dry, black roll, and set it on his plate. He drank some more wine, and continued: “The only reason native meat eating tribespeople in the third world don’t die of heart disease, is that they die before it manifests itself!”
This despite the fact that there has never, ever in history been a vegetarian or vegan culture. Never! How this could not be known by an anthropologist professor seems impossible, and the only explanation is that the overwhelming political correctness of such an elite group somehow altered his view of reality. There were many things in this upper class, liberal programmed elite group that demanded that they ignore things about them that did not fit in with the predetermined world view of that group.
“Rosie! More wine!” barked Shiela Westermann. Couldn’t she see that the bottle was almost gone? Honestly, sometimes she thought she should just let her go, and get another, younger “girl” from Mexico. Illegal, or course. There were always plenty more coming over…
Nora had drunk perhaps half of that last bottle herself, and she was more than ready for more. She was starving, but the food in front of her, the dry, tasteless beans and rice, the oilless salad and bread held no appeal. The wine helped. She would have to get a burrito or something after she left. But, these were her best friends; the elite of the elite, the most politically correct connections in the entire University! She was so lucky to be connected with such a group. She motioned to her glass impatiently when Rosie came back with a fresh bottle.
Certain things could, and should be spoken of in such a circle; certain other things could never even be hinted at. “White Privilege” had been explained to them all by Charles long ago: “White people are so advantaged in society that it explains everything”, he said, much more animatedly than he said most things, since he was normally so even-toned in his speech, almost pedantic, as if he were in front of a classroom.
“When a white person commits a crime, and they do, I assure you, as often as blacks do, he is not arrested! Why? Because there are more police in black neighborhoods, and so they arrest more people. If white neighborhoods were policed as much as black, why there would be just as many arrests!” Charles continued.
Even Nora wondered about this, since just a few blocks away from the university, which was patrolled intensively by a private police force, there were huge no go zones where even Charles himself would never presume to drive through, much less walk through, at any hour of the day due to overwhelming, savage, violent crime! But she nodded right along with the rest.
She thought briefly of her new “charge”, the grandson she wished she had never inflicted upon herself. ‘Well, he will get a dose of multiculturalism very soon, and that will open his mind!’ she thought to herself. She smiled, and it was not in satisfaction over the food.