By Julianna Reidell:
The author would like the audience to know that she has no actual issues with straight cis white men. Some of her best friends are straight cis white men. Really.
The following footage has been leaked from a meeting between an Educated White Man d’un certain âge (who may or may not play a crucial role in the running of a university or museum), his colleagues (men), and his “colleagues” (women). Names of all chowderheads have been changed to protect their privacy. If you’re really curious, it shouldn’t be too hard to find them on social media.
So, I’m getting a lot of pressure from higher-ups to make sure we’re representing the real diversity of this country in our programs. That said, does anyone have ideas?
JESS puts up a hand.
Well, I was thinking--
GRAHAM waves his arm like an overeager first grader.
Can we go over which groups we need to cover?
Sure. But I figure there’s nothing wrong with starting with white men. After all, they’re so demonized in this day and age. It’s time to make sure their contributions are recognized and their voices are heard. …How about Theodore Roosevelt? Nothing wrong with him, right?
Not that I can think of, Sir. So, maybe an exhibit about Teddy Roosevelt. But we’ve got to be sure that we cover everybody, Sir. We need people of all skin tones.
You’re absolutely white - I mean, right. So, let’s throw in Thomas Jefferson! He loved people of all skin tones, am I right?
*JESS, EMMA, and AMY gasp*
That he did, Sir. Okay, so we’ve got a White Man and a Sympathetic-to-People-of-Color White Man. Now, what about different sexual preferences?
Well, Alexander Hamilton had a fling with his sister-in-law, which is different from loving who he should love, namely his wife. That’s some diversity right there.
NED scribbles down excited notes.
I feel like we’re missing something, Sir…
Yeah, like a woman?
JESS (taking a huge swig out of a flask):
A woman?! God forbid!
Sir, how about a... woman?
That, Graham, is a truly excellent idea! Wow! You are just so darn thoughtful! I wish we all could be like you, buddy.
EMMA (putting her head down on the table):
Yes, Graham, I wish there were more allies like you out there…. Wake me up when the bromance ends, okay?
Now, does anybody know any women?
JESS (rolling back her chair):
I give up.
AMY (doing the same):
JESS and AMY stroll from the room, arm in arm, leaving EMMA asleep and the men still stroking their chins thoughtfully.
The only thing that I can think of, Sir--
Yes! Go ahead, Ned.
Well, Christopher Columbus’s hair looks a little long in those pictures. A bit shaggy. And after all--
Yes! He’s the first person to ever set foot on American ground!
Wait… then how’d he know to call it America?
He was just a brilliant man, Graham. If he was around today, he would’ve had a Ph.D. just like I do.
We’re still forgetting something, gentlemen. We’ve got to add…
If he actually says “trans people,” I’ll literally explode.
EMMA falls off her chair.
... Men who served in the military!
The men go nuts. GRAHAM and NED leap up and chest-bump FREDERICK. DR. FLAPDOODLE sniffs manfully. EMMA crawls out of the office without looking back.
How right you are, FREDERICK . I’ll add George Washington to the list right now.
He scribbles for a moment, then claps his hands.
Well, gentlemen, I think that’s it! Theodore Roosevelt, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, Christopher Columbus, and George Washington: we have successfully picked a member of every group in the human race who has contributed to history in any way at all. The community has been served. But it looks like I’ve booked the conference room for the rest of the day! What on Earth shall we do?
The men sit silently for a moment. Then GRAHAM reaches under the table for his briefcase. He picks it up and pulls a handful of Green Army Men out of it. The other boys make noises of delight and reach for their own briefcases. They each have their own set of figurines. Graham even has a catapult.
I love working here! Every day I can really feel as though I’m making a true difference in the world.
He aims one of his toys at DR. FLAPDOODLE.
Pew pew pew!
DR. FLAPDOODLE grins and shoots back.
BOOM! Pew pew pew PEW!
And the rest of the day passes in, if not the utmost productivity, at least the utmost bliss.
*NOTE: This piece was awarded a Silver Medal With Distinction by the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards.