So, I have a lot of time to think, and read. Lots of books hanging around the house, some more or less interesting than others. She has some good taste, my friend (a Sandman omnibus, some Marianne Moore, and a lot of Graham Greene. She has the Harry Potter series, too, but she tends to use them as yoga blocks.) A stuffed cow, left alone all day, has a lot of time on his hands.
At the moment my friend is reading Why I No Longer Talk to White People about Race. It’s a book club choice. (She’s in a book club.) This is an odd subject for a cow, even a stuffed cow, because we’re all identified by race. Or breed, or whatever. Po-tA-toes, po-tah-toes. Give us different spots and bigger or smaller udders and everything changes, the whole she-bang. People have done a lot of cow breeding over the years. We have “meat” cows and “milk” cows. I was probably created (in China) with Guernseys in mind, or maybe an Abondance, which is French. There is no 23andMe for stuffed cows, so I’m kind of winging it.
My friend doesn’t eat meat. Or at least, she doesn’t eat much. She’s low on iron and sometimes she’ll eat it, but I’ve never seen her bring meat home (maybe out of respect for my non-stuffed brothers?) I should mention that even grazers aren’t really 100% vegetarian. Cows don’t warn the insects to get out of the way, and there’s a fair amount that ends up in in a cow’s mouth. The best a cow can do is weigh a half a ton and make a lot of noise, but if a cricket is too thick-headed to jump out the way, that’s too bad for him.
Cows mostly have pretty miserable lives. Today most cows are stuffed on genetically modified grains in food lots and stand in their own shit all day until they are loaded up on a truck and massacred. Babies are taken away at birth and killed, and all of them, even the lucky milk cows who get to graze all day for a few years, wind up on a butcher block at some point. And remember the “mad cow” crisis? The joke went that you’d be mad, too, if they kept pulling on your tits everyday for years.
However, this race issue for humans is a bit pathetic, but I can kind of get it. If I’m in with a bunch of other stuffed cows that are all one color, say Angus looking cows, and I look like a Guernsey people are going to notice me. I think that’s natural.
The books she’s reading ignores one thing, though. It’s very English. The writer wants to put all colors together to make a point, and she mixes blacks from former British colonies with Indians, north Africans, Asians and so forth, in order to make a point about how the Brits treat people of color. It seems to me though (and I am just a stuffed cow) that she ignores the particular difference between a variety of immigrants of color and former slaves. Former slaves had their lives destroyed, for a few generations. They lost their language, their culture, their family ties, everything. Then they immigrated to the UK. So they get the double whammy; they are former slaves AND they are immigrants. For me that is a particular problem which probably isn’t shared by all immigrants of color.
I still can’t accept that humans enslave cows, but it’s unimaginable to me that you thought it was okay to enslave your own kind. So I have a question: what were you thinking? That one is rhetorical, obviously. But I have another follow up question which might be better: what can humans do to better accept others’ differences? You can’t not “see” race; it’s descriptive. Some cows are black, some are brown and white. Some humans have red hair, some are dark-skinned, some are orange. (okay, there’s only one who’s orange.) But you can “see” something and not make a judgement about it.
Unless they’re orange. Don’t trust the orange one.