On his birthday, using only excerpts from Moby Dick, Herman Melville answers questions about white people calling 911 on black people existing.
Q: What is it about white people that makes them call 911 on black people minding their own business?
A: “Were it not for the whiteness, you would not have that intensified terror. There is a higher horror in this whiteness.”
Q: Last week someone called the police about a large black man breaking into a house. It was Ving Rhames entering his own home. Did you hear about that?
A: “What but their smooth, flaky whiteness makes them the transcendent horrors they are?”
Q: You say flaky like they are ashy or something. Why don’t white people know that lotion can help with that?
A: “I don’t know; it seems a sort of foolish to me, tho.”
Q: What about Pool Patrol Paula, the lady at the pool that was harassing that black teenager? What’s your take on her?
A: “I never heard of a hot sun’s tanning a white man into a purplish yellow one.”
Q: And BBQ Becky?
A: “It was the whiteness of the whale that above all things appalled me.”
Q: There was also ID Adam, a white man who harassed a black resident of his neighborhood when she tried to use the pool? Did you hear about that one?
A: “This mere aspect of all-pervading whiteness makes him more strangely hideous than the ugliest abortion.”
Q: Why do you think he did that, though? It’s so absurd.
A: “That’s a white man; he calls that fun.”
Q: What do these white people want people of color to do or say in these situations?
A: “Oh, thou big white God aloft there somewhere in yon darkness, have mercy on this small black boy down here.”
Q: But that is so degrading!
A: “That’s worse than devil’s madness. Who ever heard that the devil was dead?”
Q: What can we do about this problem, though? It’s terrible.
A: “But not yet have we solved the incantation of this whiteness, and learned why it appeals with such power to the soul. How is mortal man to account for it?”
Q: Well, how can we account for it?
A: “Ignorance is the parent of fear.”
Q: What are we supposed to do about this?
A: “To preach Truth to the face of Falsehood!”