To my knowledge, I have never wanted to be white. I have, on occasion, pretended to be white, which is what happened sometimes when I worked at a telemarketing firm for almost 11 hours in 1998, hawking subscriptions to Redbook and Better Homes & Gardens. It has also happened when I’ve needed to call customer service and wanted them to know there’s either a white man or a white-sounding black man, with presumably vast amount of white friends, on the phone, and that my concerns needed to be taken whitely. Sometimes it happens when I accidentally pick up a call from a bill collector and think that “pretending to be white” will sell the “pretending I’m not Damon Young” thing even better. But I have never wanted to be white.
I have, however, wondered what it felt like to be white. Specifically, I’m captivated by how life for white people seems to be so thrill-less and mundane that they must replicate a closeness to death to feel alive. Extreme sports; wearing khaki shorts and sleeveless vests outside during Pittsburgh Decembers; punching sharks; eating lightly-cooked and limply-seasoned meat; getting blackout drunk; being an anti-vaxxer; putting Jello in potato salad—all ways to raise blood pressure by coming close enough to death to tap its chin. Imagine having a life so devoid of serious stress you’re compelled to invent it. Imagine!
So, of course, when I first read that a person was planning on bringing back the Titanic—building a ship exactly like the original and charting the exact same course—I knew it had to be a person who happened to be white. I also know that anyone who plans to get on this death cruise will be white. Even if there happen to be few non-white voyagers on this steamboat to Perdition, they will become white by osmosis, like the air was infused with a can of liquid chalk spray.
Australian businessman and politician Clive Palmer, who is behind the controversial initiative, announced in September that work on the ship had recommenced — after a financial dispute with the Chinese government halted development back in 2015. The idea was first floated in 2012.
Allegedly the new ship will be an identical copy of the infamous liner, which sank in 1912 following a collision with an iceberg.
To avoid a repeat disaster, Titanic II will apparently be outfitted with plenty of life boats — and will have a welded, not riveted hull — plus modern navigation and radar equipment.
As the article says, this gondola to Gehenna will be equipped with numerous safety measures to ensure that people on board don’t get disemboweled by the great, great, great grand cousin of the iceberg that murked everyone on the first ship. I think a better idea would be to just pay Oprah to stand on the dock and say “You’re gonna die. And you’re gonna die. And you’re gonna die. And you’re gonna die” to everyone boarding.