A number of years ago, when I taught American History at City College of San Francisco, I was making my way home one evening when I found myself rolling up Haight Street on the number 7 bus with one of my favorite students.
He was a smart and educated kid with something of an edge... if you get me. He was of a sort that I tended to befriend when I was in college. His education primarily took place outside of the classroom where he was exploring philosophy and art on his own, while indulging in God-Only-Knows what kind of vices with God-Only-Knows what kind of people.
Anyway, we were heading up Haight Street towards my stop when I found myself in discussion with this kid about cultural exchanges... or what is now often derogatorily referred to as "cultural appropriation."
We were discussing how Matt Miller - a guy from my old neck of the universe, just outside of New York City - blended devout Chasidic Judaism with Rasta and emerged as Matisyahu.
The next thing I know some African-American gentleman, apparently overhearing our conversation, stood up and spit at me directly in the face as the bus was rolling up to my stop at Haight and Broderick. My student jumped up with a fighting spirit as if he was going to punch the guy straight in the face. I stood up, just as the door opened, put my hand on my student's chest, told him to forget about it, and I simply walked off the bus.
From that day to this, the question that I've always asked myself is, what upset that guy?
I cannot know for certain, but unless he was simply crazy, he was actually offended at the notion of a Jewish kid (or perhaps any non-black kid) taking on and adapting and changing and playing with a black art form like Reggae.
When I would tell this story, I would often hesitate at the mention of my assailant's ethnicity because I wondered if I was not being racist and would be thought of as such by my friends. The truth, however, is that on that day, I was the victim of a minor "hate crime." And the reason for that bit of annoyance is because - I am more and more convinced - westerners have so fetishized issues of race that we are dooming ourselves, and our children and our cultures, to never-ending racial conflict.
It seems as if the more headway we make toward ethnic diversity and equality, the more the Left tend to shake their little fists at us and the more people like that idiot on the bus feel free to make an issue of "cultural appropriation."
And this - in the larger scheme of things - is just one small reason why Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton in the recent presidential election.
American liberals are getting tired of being smeared as racist by all those racist anti-racists, of any color, enjoying the hospitality of the progressive-left.