Lots of folk have argued that the remarks of Senator Pat Roberts (R-Kansas) veered into an inappropriate other-ing, even racism, when he addressed the nominee for Surgeon General, Vivek Murthy during confirmation hearings yesterday.
Roberts: “You ever been to Dodge City, Kansas?”
Murthy: “I have not, sir. But I would love to come.”
Roberts: “Well, good. I’m going to invite you, because we have a lovely doctor from India. She’s in her mid-30s, and she’s highly respected by the community. And another doctor from India that did my carpal tunnel when I did a stupid thing. And so, I think you’d be right at home, and we would welcome you.”
Was that really so bad? I didn’t think so. It actually made me smile, “What a cute old white man!” But among the hyperventilating responses:
"sorry but it’s like the Southern expression of "Bless Your Heart": a passive aggressive fuck you. It’s a condescending way of "hey my white people approve of your kind so long as you’re not uppity" with a little "you’ll never be one of US" thrown in. MMM-mmm. That’s good racism." [Gawker]
Thankfully a lot of commenters are a little less uptight, like this Indian guy:
"you guys need to chill out. as an indian doctor i hear this kind of shit all of the time. he’s just an old man trying to reach out…in a very white old man sort of way. A for effort."
But for all of you who really get out-of-sorts when someone old tries to be social by saying, “My proctologist… he’s Indian… lovely man…” try to avoid the predictable, indignant response, and use this line instead: “Dr. Rao? Sure, I know him!” pause. “He has herpes.”
[Photos by AP and Win McNamee/Getty Images]