Come Back When You're White

Thirty Years Ago
Dorie’s bedroom was darkened, but there was enough illumination coming from the bathroom for Barbara to see. Dorie was on her side, though only slightly. She had on a high-neck, long-sleeve nightgown. Her face was unlined and at peace.

Barbara walked over to the bed and picked up Dorie’s hand. It felt like ice. “Oh, Dorie,” she sighed, knowing that Phil must be dead too. His mother wouldn’t go without him.

Just as Dorie had always kept her apartment neat and orderly, so she had taken care of her final affairs in an orderly fashion. On the dining room table, she’d laid out and arranged an undated, unsigned suicide note, a last will and testament, a declaration of trust, and all the other birth-death papers.
“MOTHER & SON,” R.W. Dellinger, July 26, 1979

Twenty-Five Years Ago
[D]eterrent music continues to be used as a racial control at San Diego nightclubs. The manager of a popular Mission Valley club, when promised anonymity, admitted that his disc jockeys manipulate music playlists in order to regulate the number of blacks at his club. While substituting country-western or rock and roll for funk and soul “won’t get blacks out of my club, it does get them off the dance floor, and that’s okay with my boss,” says this manager.
“COME BACK WHEN YOU'RE WHITE,” Paul Krueger, July 26, 1984

Twenty Years Ago
In the early ’70s, while making a good living diving for abalone — grossing $9000 in one particularly rich month — Gilbert saw the supply of abalone diminishing dramatically. But state officials and their “archaic regulations,” he says, have created a paper nightmare, “making it impossible to get going” with his proposal to make the creatures plentiful once more.

Gilbert wants to seed about four square miles of ocean off Point Loma with days-old abalone larvae spawned by several species: pink, green, red, black, and white. “With an assertive effort, we can seed ten billion living abalone a year,” he says.
CITY LIGHTS: “A LOT OF ABALONE,” Jackie McGrath, July 27, 1989

Fifteen Years Ago
Mowed lawn grasses seem oddly perverse. Their ideal state is timeless, unchanging, eternal; they grow and grow and grow and never mature. The Telos, the genetically programmed desire, of plant life is to mature and reproduce itself. Nowhere in nature do grass blades grow upward to a two-inch height and then chop themselves off, making themselves perpetually pre-adolescent botanical castrati.

Jenkins’s feminist re-reading of the American lawn emphasizes the male role in lawn-making and care and faults the male as an aggressor who wars against Nature to Nature’s detriment. “From the male perspective,” she writes, “the front lawn is an area to be controlled and mastered.… All intruders must be guarded against and, when found, killed.”

Ten Years Ago
It is only after he was routinely recognized a genius (incitement to self-indulgence) that he made anything as dreadful as A Clockwork Orange and The Shining. Nothing that came after 2001, in my view, is as vital to his good name as The Killing, Paths of Glory, Lolita, and Dr. Strangelove.
“1999: A SEX ODYSSEY,” Duncan Shepherd, July 22, 1999

Five Years Ago
It’s not a question of if there is a real estate bubble. It’s a question of whether it bursts or slowly leaks air. But one way or another, prices will peak, buyers evaporate, and prices soften, drop, or plunge. Overevaluation never goes on forever.

That’s bad news for sizzling San Diego. Home prices have moved up more than 40 percent in the past year. The median price (half of home prices are higher, half lower) is now more than $500,000.

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