Once upon a time, 27 years ago, this guy I know accidentally created an internet magazine called Meanderings, beginning with this article:
Before I begin, I should tell you a little story. I was born of the Colored/Negro/Afro American/Black/African-American persuasion (although I’m still, 42 years later, trying to figure out exactly what that means!). However, in 1984 while attending a finance seminar at the University of Michigan, I, along with my seminar mates, filled out a “lifestyles survey,” designed to tell us the risk of various aspects in our lifestyle, like smoking and drinking, killing us before the age of 50. Being only 32 at the time, I was really interested. When I got the survey results back, I was shocked. I didn’t smoke, rarely drank, was an avid runner and tennis player, so I was in excellent shape. Nevertheless, it seems I had a very high risk of dying young. The reason: I was black! We’ve all heard the statistics about young black men having a high risk of violent death at a young age. Well, there you go.
Most of the others attending the class had no such risk, but they were all white. When I asked aloud about the results, the surveyor explained that the sample upon which the survey’s predictions were based contained very few blacks. He also said not to worry: given my occupation, income, lifestyle, excellent health, etc., the survey results really didn’t apply to me. For purposes of reading the results and determining my risk of early death, I was “white.” So, in the future, if I write something you don’t like, please don’t call me an uncle tom, because, I’m really white!
There’s more to the story, so read on.
I chatted with the author recently. He told me he wishes he had better editing back then. Go figure!