Ethical or Ethnic?

I can’t decide which to go for. They both have advantages and drawbacks. Consider the case of being ethical first:

  1. You appear good in the eyes of the world.
  2. You appear good in your own eyes.
  3. You need not fear exposure by reporters looking to fill a 5-minute slot on television.
  4. People will point to you as you pass in the street.
  5. You may be offered money to endorse  ethical goods and services.

Okay – that’s the good side of ethical. Now the bad side:

  1. The eyes of the world are often crossed, myopic, or ridden with cataracts. They see what they want to see. They wanted to see Hitler in the 1930’s – shall they look at you now…?
  2. My eyes are myopic, crossed, and cataract -ridden. If i see myself as good, how can I be certain it is not just bad eyesight?
  3. You may not want to be the subject of a media side-swipe, but then again you may wish to be a media star no matter how you get there. It’s easier to be one with a pistol than a bag of hot towels.
  4. People pointing at you can be achieved by may means. Goodness, badness, and horrid taste in clothing. The first two are changeable matters – the last is permanent.
  5. You may be offered more money to endorse disgusting things and awful practices. The cash looks the same except there is more of it and you often don’t have to tell the tax office. If the tax office offer you money to endorse them, do not draw up the contract in blood. I’ve seen cult movies…

Now we move on to being ethnic. Frowned upon at the start of the 20th century, it became all the rage in the 1970’s and 1980’s. In truth, there was a lot of rage in the 30’s and 40’s but you had to be the right ethnicity to find out about it. The good side first:

  1. If you are genuinely of a certain ethnicity, you can wear interesting clothes and speak in mysterious languages.
  2. You get to be the interesting person at the party that everyone wants to talk to.
  3. You get to eat spicy food.
  4. People defer to your perceived ethnicity and you get to feel quite special.
  5. You can always find someone from your same tribe to lend you money or to hide you from the police.

Now the awkward bits:

  1. The clothing that your ethnicity demands makes you stand out – even when you wish to blend in. It often comes from a place that has different raw materials and climate and wearing it here and now is either hot and sticky or cold and miserable. Finally, it might just look ugly and make you feel silly.
  2. If you are the interesting person, the drunks will cluster about you and try to make themselves look big by arguing with you. You will never be right, because they will always be drunk.
  3. The spicy food you get to eat often contains the parts of animals or plants that more sensible societies bury in a sinkhole. If you want to maintain your ethnic ticket you have to choke it down.
  4. People do not defer to your ethnicity – they make a show of it based on what they saw on television. Their measured comment on racial questions is just one drink away from asking you whether you like fried chicken and watermelon. ( I do, as it happens…)
  5. The person from your tribe who lends you money and hides you knows exactly how much interest you owe them on that loan and where to find you. They also know the phone number for the police.

So there it is. I am still undecided as to which course to pursue. Advice written on a small slip of paper and stuck in a crack in the wall would be appreciated.

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