I read an article in a small African-American-oriented newspaper published in Tampa a couple weeks ago, and it provided me with a glaringly clear example of why we, as a Nation, can’t seem to get past the “race thing”.

I didn’t save the article, and the paper, the Florida Sentinel Bulletin, has a pretty sparse presence on the web, and their website apparently has no searchable archives, so I can’t provide more than a link to the paper’s home page. It’s http://www.flsentinel.org

Anyway, the story, to the best of my memory, reported an incident as follows:

An African-American woman, on her daily commute to work, went through the drive-through at a McDonald’s just off the interstate in Tampa to grab an Eggamuffin and coffee, or whatever, stuffed the receipt in her purse, and went on to work. When she got to work she glanced at the receipt, and was horrified to see the word “negro” hand-written on said receipt. Naturally, she was devastated; I mean, the new “n” word, right there on her McDonald’s receipt.

(At the risk of giving it all away, bear in mind this is a drive-through, in Tampa, home to a relatively sizable Hispanic population.)

This woman, of course, called the restaurant, and, oh yeah, a lawyer. The person to whom she spoke at the restaurant did not address her concerns to her satisfaction, so she went higher, speaking to, I assume, the manager. The manager, herself a member of a minority, was duly upset by this outrage, and assured the woman that it was not the policy of the restaurant to note a customer’s race on the receipt. After further looking into the matter, it was discovered that, in addition, the word “blanco” had been hand-written on the receipt of, you guessed it, a white customer.

The identity of the perpetrator of this blatant and most egregious racism, an Hispanic man, was discovered, and it was reported that he is no longer employed at that restaurant.

Have you solved the mystery of the motivation behind this man’s outrageous display of racial hatred.? Yep, that’s right. HE WAS MAKING A NOTE OF THE FREAKIN’ COLOR OF THE CARS so as not to screw up the orders at the drive-through window. For which he apparently lost his job, although the article didn’t say that in so many words. You think maybe they just transferred him to a different location? Nah, me neither.

This poor shlub probably thought he’d come up with a pretty slick way of keeping track of the drive-through customers, and I doubt he was ever told in certain terms not to write on the receipts. I mean, none of us has ever driven away from a MickeyD’s with the wrong order, right?

As long as certain groups view the world through a prism of race, where everything they see is tinted by perceived discrimination, and as long as race-hustlers ply their smarmy trade, how can things ever get any better? I doubt the world will ever be one big Coke commercial, but I do think, particularly since the election of The One, that we should have moved a lot closer to a so-called postracial society. And in many respects we have. Do you suppose an Asian guy in a yellow car would freak if “amarillo” were written on his receipt, or a Native American in a red Corvette would lawyer up if somebody wrote “rojo” on his?

Are there downright despicable racists of every hue? Of course. And there always will be. You just have to look at them, shake your head, and realize those people are just plain warped. Their hatred is irrational, and flows from some primal place within them, and they’ll never fit into polite society. But they aren’t the majority, nor are they even anything more than an irritant in the whole scheme of things, a wasp flying around a picnic on the back deck; just leave them alone and they won’t hurt you. Can they be dangerous? Yes, but generally they’re just another bug.

But those subscribers to the culture of victimhood, always jumping to the worst possible conclusion, always looking for the next offense, and always assuming the worst about their fellow countrymen, will continue to perpetuate the most insidious corrosion of our society, and make it almost impossible for anyone to disagree with their messiah on profound philosophical or political differences, without being branded a racist.

Sometimes black and white are just colors of cars.