Interboro is the name of a technical college here in New York City. And its current ad campaign on subways lists, along with a variety of reasons to enroll, a picture and name of a random, alleged, graduate. And next to that testimonial is the ad slogan, "If they can do it, so can you!"
Now, there’s no biography listed with these people; no reason to think that they overcame great odds and received their degree despite a mountain of hardships, and are now a success somewhere -- and if they can make it, then so can you. No, it just has their smiling faces, their names, and a slogan that says, “If they can do it, so can you!” Or, as I read it, “If these dumb shits can do it, well, who can’t?”
And, just a few days ago, in fact, I was riding the subway and spotted two of these ads side-by-side. And, still getting a chuckle from the slogan, I decided to see just which dumb shits to whom I and the rest of the subway car were being compared. And do you know whose pictures accompanied the ads? Which random persons to whom you, I, and about a million more subway riders are intellectually superior in all manner, shape and form?
Why, that of an African immigrant and a blonde, of course.
And if THEY can do it ...
Today's lesson: I wish I had written down the immigrant man’s name because it made “Dikembe” or “Kunta Kinte” sound like “Ralph,” as if they were whispering: “Psst, he’s foreign”.