Race Against The Machine

Rickey Dobbs
7 min readApr 16, 2021

I’ve done it. I have invented a machine that gives you the power to change your race.

I know! I am as surprised as you are, given my complete lack of scientific and technical knowledge.

But now, with the mere push of a button, you will no longer remain confined to the skin color, hair texture, or facial features assigned by your DNA. Please mail my Nobel Prize and large cash award at your earliest convenience.

Want to try it out?

While the Race Swapper 3000 (working title…I’m open to better ideas) warms up, I have to give you several warnings so you don’t sue me in imaginary court when the shit goes down.

  • Once we switch you over to your new race, your life expectancy changes — for better or for worse. As does the likelihood you’ll be diagnosed with heart disease, diabetes, cancer, hypertension, or HIV. Your educational prospects are altered. The total amount of money you’ll earn in life skews dramatically, depending on your choice. Contingent upon the direction in which you’re swapping, all of this is either an amazing or terrible consequence.
  • Your present sense of ethnic pride will mutate into pride for your new racial identity. So, if you’re currently proud to be, let’s say, Irish-American, you will instantly be just as proud of being Ghanaian-American…with the caveat that you won’t actually know if you’re Ghanaian, Kenyan, or Senegalese, in most cases. Given the strange absence of certain American genealogical records from 1619–1865, if you choose “Black,” you’ll just have to be proud of being Black.

Note: a number of white people will use your pride in being Black as justification for their pride — or more to the point, vocal assertion of their pride — in being white. They’ll ignore the reason you can almost never trace your specific ethnic, regional, or tribal lineage, while they can almost always trace their own. They know exactly why, they just don’t care.

  • Just in case you haven’t consumed media or spoken to another human in the last few decades, please understand: your chance of interaction with the criminal justice system dramatically increases or decreases based on your new race. As does the chance of surviving such interactions.

Pro tip: any race other than white winds up on the bad side of this sliding scale of justice.

Ready to give her a try?

Rickey Dobbs

hittingthetrifecta.com is my blog. It’s full of analysis, hilarity, insight, punctuation, spaces, and words.