Camp of the Saints – Quote #42

CampOfSaintsIt was easy enough to understand what had happened. The blacks had decided to take over the Café Odéon, and had proceeded to make life miserable for the whites who frequented it.

Now, it’s a known fact that racism comes in two forms: that practiced by whites— heinous and inexcusable, whatever its motives—and that practiced by blacks—quite justified, whatever its excesses, since it’s merely the expression of a righteous revenge, and it’s up to the whites to be patient and understanding. There was even that time, in Paris, when an American “Black Power” leader came to the Cité Universitaire to speak at a student rally, and began his speech by shouting: “Now listen, I see we got some black brothers and sisters standing, and some white folks sitting. Come on, white folks, let’s give us those seats!” And the most amazing part of it was that the ones he was talking to got up, meek as lambs, while the others applauded.

At the Café Odéon things hadn’t gone that far. The whites had held tight. They weren’t there to make trouble, just to sit and drink their coffee in peace. Still, their very presence rankled, and struck the blacks as a calculated slap. Hence, a string of those nasty harassments that the Paris of the day found it tasteful to condone, at the risk of public censure. The whites, as a result, began to keep their distance…

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