It’s not such a bad idea, White Appreciation Day, the brainchild of two Hispanic restaurant owners, Edgar Antillon and Miguel Jimenez, who recently bought a BBQ place in Milliken, Colorado. It might well be a simple publicity stunt, but fair’s fair after all, and if, like Mr. Antillon said, “We have a whole month for Black History Month,” and another for Hispanic Heritage, “…the least we could do was offer one day to appreciate white Americans.”
And why should I bite a gift horse in the mouth that feeds me? Especially since Mr. Antillon’s such an obviously generous guy. He’s already been a long-time activist supporting the rights of pot smokers to score handguns. His own organization, Guns for Everyone, even offers classes on the whole concealed carry thing, because I suppose folks have to be instructed on how to buy a gun and then not wave it around, for instance, or how to strap it to their chests.
With all the abundance of holidays he enjoys, why not share? Do you think WAD will deprive you of something? As if the big white head could get any fatter? Or white cops more violent? White corporations more greedy? No? Why not concede this gesture, and let the poor disenfranchised White Race have their day?
A Dyke Abroad
Scheduling is the biggest problem. At first glance Presidents’ Day seemed a no-brainer for WAD, but that’s out now that Obama’s portrait is up in whatever gallery presidential portraits are relegated to. Labor Day might actually work since unions in the US are largely defunct and nobody ever does anything for that day anyway, except have a BBQ, which is half Mr. Antillon’s goal. We also might consider replacing Parents’ Day on July 26, which seems awfully redundant given that my mother and father would by then have already had 24 more hours each than they’re owed, if I’m allowed to do the calculating.
Or perhaps we should plump for May 10, that locally unknown day set aside to remember the abolition of slavery, which lasted 400 years and not only enslaved multitudes, but directly killed 60 to 70 million Africans. Yes, what better day to acknowledge how the effects still reverberate, not just in economic inequality, violence, and institutional racism directed toward the descendants of slaves, but those poor White Folks deprived of around the clock, disposable “help.”
The least we deserve is a cheap pulled pork sammie, 10 percent off at Mr. Antillon and Mr. Jimenez’s Rubbin Buttz BBQ. Maybe Ben Affleck can even make peace with his slave-owning ancestors who were probably just going along with the crowd.
I have to say it took me a while to understand the potential. I’ve spent many an International Women’s Day as a tireless harridan quoting statistics at the men demanding their props. There’s the matter of wages, violence, sheer and unadulterated power, I’d say. Every March 17, I rage against the Irish bigots who justify queer exclusion from the St. Paddy’s Day Parade in New York on the grounds we have an entire month and our own goshdang parade.
But, this is the thing. With a WAD firmly in place, white folks flashing our skin and demanding special treatment on all those other days will only be entitled to a slap upside the head. Preferably from our own mommas, who will tell us to our rotten, complaining, candy and tear-streak faces, “No, yesterday was your day at the fair. No more tear gas and hollow points and steel-toed boots in the subject’s head. Or preferred admittance to Harvard. Or that seat on the board. That gatekeeper’s gig. Nope, nuh-uh. Only one day a year for you.”
WAD will put Whiteness on the level of every other race. Shrink it down to cake and bunting only one day a year instead of having it as the unspoken default. Name a thing, call it out, you don’t conjure but control it. Every two-bit sorcerer knows that. So here’s to WAD.
Kelly Cogswell is the author of “Eating Fire: My Life as a Lesbian Avenger,” from the University of Minnesota Press.