While sorting through an old filing cabinet, a librarian at Yale Law School has found the long sought-after National Conversation on Race, university officials announced yesterday. It had been misfiled, and was in a folder along with a notebook belonging to then-student William J. Clinton and a plastic bag containing an unidentified vegetable substance.
The conversation is recorded on an eight-track tape and lasts less than a minute. The voices are unidentified, but there are apparently several million of them. A transcript follows:
A. It’s a bad thing that this country had slavery and Jim Crow, and that there is still racism.
B. That’s true, but there’s certainly a lot less of it now.
A. That’s true, too! And we have to admit that there are other problems now bigger than racism facing African Americans, like out-of-wedlock births, black-on-black crime, and believing that working and studying hard is “acting white.”
B. You’re right! Of course, we also have to admit that no group has a monopoly on bad behavior. You know, we should try to judge all people as individuals.
A. Right! And we should also all take responsibility for our own lives and take advantage of the amazing opportunities that this country offers all of us.
B. Agreed! Well, you have a nice day!
A. You, too! See you at work tomorrow!
President Obama, who had been critical of those calling for a national conversation on race in his impromptu remarks last Friday, expressed relief at the discovery. “Thank goodness we’ve found it so we can all agree that there’s nothing else to say and we can all talk about something else,” he said in a prepared statement.
The Reverends Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson were more disappointed but accepted the finding. “Well, naturally we’re not happy about losing our jobs, but come to think of it, we guess there really isn’t a lot more to say,” they agreed. The two are now planning to open an upscale haberdashery for clergymen, “Man of the (Cool) Cloth.”