Don’t Notice Patterns!

On election night, 1986, I was at election headquarters in Auburn, California covering the news for KAHI/KHYL radio. One candidate for office who was defeated was drunk, and that shocked me. When I interviewed her, she sang that “Que Sera Sera” French song. I had little experience with alcohol, growing up a Seventh-Day Adventist.

There was this old guy, in his 70s, who started talking about voting patterns among various ethnic groups and I was shocked. Dumbstruck. Finally I sputtered, “You wouldn’t happen to be a racist?” He exploded. He said that noticing the different ways different groups of people voted was not remotely racist. I just stood there listening. I was out of my depth. I had never thought about that before. I had years of education that you are not allowed to notice differences among different ethnic groups, that it was a horrible thing to notice such patterns. It was racist and that was the greatest social sin. I had been schooled to be dumb. I knew empirically that there appeared to be significant differences between the races, I saw that every day on the playing field and the classroom, but I thought my noticing of these patterns was racist and must be kept to myself.

It’s sad that it is verboten to notice and discuss reality. Appreciating the differences between cultures and races would be a true celebrating of human diversity. Different peoples are given different gifts in God’s world and all have a valuable role to play.

As a great sage said: “I think that one of the biggest, if not the biggest faux pas, you can make in educated society today is to say or write anything that can be construed as racist.”

When I discuss ethnic patterns in public, I usually get reactions like these: “Very Hitler of you.”

“What you are doing is disgusting. You’re becoming a bitter old man that has nothing relevant to say, so you post racist rantings.”

I love football and basketball. When I watch sports, I notice huge race differences. I can’t think, for instance, of a starting white cornerback or tailback in the NFL.

I’m working on a song.

I’m not a racist
I just want to be free
To notice patterns
And reality!

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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