Verbal Remedy AKA Denise

Verbal Remedy AKA Denise
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Columnist, http://www.doesthismakesense.com
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Much preferred to the alternative.
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Born. Grew up. Kept growing up. Started growing older. Still at both the growing up and growing older. Stay tuned.

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JULY 24, 2009 2:40PM

Racist Assholes I Have Known

Rate: 99 Flag

 neo-nazi-back_1387347i

Image: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/

So, yawannaknow what it takes for me to bother to figure out how to unfriend somebody on Facebook?

It ain't easy.

No, kittens, it's OK. Feel free to repeat FOX News talking points and blather on about socialism and commies and how this country's turning into a totalitarian state. Whatever.

Go ahead. Rant about Obama wanting to "screw the working people" to give healthcare to "people who've never worked a day in their life" and "Mexicans" too.

Hell, I have plenty of high school friends who've become stark raving conservatives, and while I may choose to skip reading their status updates when they're on about God and such, it's mostly cool. For the most part I can deal.

That stops, however, when you conclude your anti-national-healthcare rant with a line like this. 

"If 13 black guys can't run a White Castle, how can one black guy run the White House?"

So, after I picked my jaw up off the floor and left a "WOW. Just wow." comment, I went scurrying to find "Unfriend" instructions. And thusly, within 90 seconds, I removed the deep thinker from my Friends list. (I remember him fondly from High School, but obviously that sweet sixteen-year-old is long dead and rotting inside a cretinous walking meatcorpse. Nothing else would actually compose and publish a comment like that for all the world to see. [shiver])

  1. Can anybody explain to me what in the hell that even means? Is there some kind of African-American White Castle Management Scandal brewing in Peoria (or somewhere in the endless godforsaken cornfields and silo towns that surround it)? Is this a piece of news that somehow escaped the notice of those of us who don't live in The Great Flyover anymore?
  2. Really? There are people in this country who think this way and say it out loud with total, blissful lack of self-consciousness? And we aren't allowed to lobotomize or deport them?
  3. Facebook is supposed to be fun. When my stomach starts churning, you're outta there, bucko. 

Which all reminds me of the day a few years back when I got an email from a former coworker who'd dropped off the map for a few years.

We'd been goofy pals in the mid-nineties at a big consulting firm. When I moved on and he wanted out too, I got him into an admin assistant spot at the American Medical Association. Funny guy. Used to come into work a little too hung-over to be productive some mornings, but otherwise? Rog was OK.

So, a couple of years later I heard he'd failed to show up for work (I was already elsewhere) for several weeks. "Huh," thinks I. "That's a little weird." And he never showed up again.

I didn't hear the upshot of the story until he reached out via email sometime in the mid-2000s.

Turns out he couldn't make it to work because he was, you know, in jail. Arrested for vandalism; he was flypapering his South-of-Chicago town with neo-nazi propaganda.

Again, after picking up my jaw off the floor, I traded just a couple more emails with him, along the lines of "WTF? Have you always been a screaming racist, or is this just something you grew into?"

He attempted to convince me he was still the "same old Roger" I'd always known.

Except the Same Old Roger I'd always (thought I'd) known wouldn't have thought,  let alone written, this:

Basically I am not just a National Socialist. I’m a student, an animal lover, I appreciate music (even by negros!) and art (not by negros). I make people laugh. I wake up in the morning and feel great, and despite what I see as our countries shortcomings, see things as being “doable” for now. I am not rude to minorities, even Jews (that’s counterproductive and somewhat unfair at the moment.) To judge me, by my politics, and only those things, is very short sighted (and terrifying that someone could even do that) when I’m comprised of so much more than these politics of mine. It just bespeaks of a lack of wisdom.

. . .

Blink.

Blink.

Blink.


Call me unwise.

But if you're an unapologetic racist, I'm still blasting your ass out of my life. Cyber- and otherwise.

Dickhead.

 

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Rog emailed me again a few years later, having been in and out of rehab. I'm still trying to find what he said then. He'd made some strides...but they were baby steps.
Couldn't possibly disagree with a single thing you said.

It is amazing how many people disengage brain before operating mouth.

Thumbed.
Hey - you totally co-opted my FIRST comment!!!!!

:-D
The woods are full of cukoos.
This is really, truly incredible. I have no truck whatsoever for racists of any kind. The irony of dear old Rog's statement that judgment of his politics was shortsighted and that it was "terrifying that someone could even do that" must have been lost on him. These persons make me terrified.
i've been dating a woman of "color" as it is said for the last six months. More often than not, when people get it, especially if they are "of color" they nod and let me see they are pleased. But I live in the most liberal city on earth.

I am finding it one of the great adventures of my life. The other reaction has been mostly surprise from those who know me well--as if to say--I always knew you had it in you, but now I know for sure.

What would be my response if the reaction were the opposite? When I run into these creeps. I guess time will tell, but I fear the worst. There is a place in my heart that doesn't take prisoners.
Oh yes. I've had the unfortunate experience of having one of my ex-husband's friends sitting at my dinner table making racist remarks, knowing that he's supposed to be staying with us for a few days, and then having to say, "I'm sorry. I have to disagree with you." And then sitting at the table while it got very, very quiet and sure as shit, knowing the "friend" was leaving that night because I was a "bitch." Oh well. C'est la fucking vie.
OK, found it: Rog's self-defense part two, 24 months later.

Politics are but one aspect of my and any man's character. I still love my mom, like to pet cats and dogs, LOVE riding my spiffy high tech bike (even here in XXX, IL where the hills are rough - you should see my legs though, they turn ME on,) and laughing (not at another's expense 8P ).I've never hurt human or creature in the name of anything. I work for a housing project in the area, and the majority of my clients are black crack users, drunks or thieves or all of these things. I'm still the Rog you knew, just with more miles and less confidence.

I'm a little disappointed in anyone that judges me by a single metric. That's as myopic as I've been accused of thinking.

For YOUR INFORMATION...I'm no longer active in the National Alliance and my roomate is a gay negro (getting soft in my middle age?).

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Haven't heard from him since.
Jeez. My old high school friends seem really boring--no, wait, I mean sane--in comparison. :-)
"But if you're an unapologetic racist, I'm still blasting your ass out of my life. Cyber- and otherwise."

I hope you shared a few choice words with them before you set off the blasting caps.
Some people's children....
Oh those people are so gone. No excuses.

And facebook is not fun anymore. There are political statements galore on there. Very interesting. For awhile I responded to everything that I disagreed with. Now I don't. Or it just depends. And these posts are mostly by family members.

d
I wish I could be shocked, but I've had friends who turned out to be bigoted fucksticks too. It's just so disappointing.

Here's a true story. Some years ago when I was in the Army National Guard we were coming back from field exercises. I was driving my car with two fellow soldiers, guys I considered friends. We were stopped at a traffic light, and a car of Latinos pulls up next to us. They had a Puerto Rican flag hanging from the rearview. The guy sitting shotgun, a guy remember I considered a friend, said with an air of disgust, "hey, check out the spic-mobile. Christ, those people are multiplying around here."
My hands gripped the wheel tightly, and my buddy in the back seat let out a low whistle, "hey dumbass, you know MJ's Puerto Rican right?" Dude's face turned white, and he began to explain. I cut him off.
"At ease, Trooper," I said coldly, "your speaking privileges are revoked for the rest of the day. "
We drove back to the armory in silence. Since I was his Sergent, Specialist Bigot found himself volunteered for latrine duty--forever.
Holy shit, MJ! That's funny/sad...and now I sorta wanna kiss you. FLW, you too.

:-)

Thx for the commisseration, all.
That's my girl!

I've been shaking my head in astounded wonder, since the age of four, at the blatant bigotry I have personally observed by far too many, "enlightened", "informed", mostly "Christian," mostly Caucasian co-workers, acquaintances, former "friends" and (sadly) an occasional, misguided family member. None of this thinking has ever made a modicum of sense to me...Why? Er, because it IS NONsense! Incredibly damaging, shameful, dispicable, ignorant NONsense...

Like you, I accept anyone's differing viewpoints...when they are formulated with intellect, a firm grasp of both sides of the issue and are discussed with reciprocal respect. Bigotry in any form falls far outside all of these parameters.
--rated--
It's amazing how people assume you share the same values they do just because you're the same color, or live in the same neighborhood, or are related to them, or whatever.
what spotted_mind said. sickening.
A 'friend' from college just posted "I'm enjoying the Obama implosion. When his approval rating = unemployment rate, drinks on me!"

I can sort of stomach it, because I can appreciate that he's figured out just one more thoroughly improbably offer for buying anyone drinks that he'll never actually have to pony up for, but the comments he's getting back, those. . . those are a problem.
Isn't "giggle-snort" the official term? Maybe it was you, anyway. You do serious/funny so well! I giggle-snorted several times.
the world can be a scary place.

thankfully people like you make it a lil bit saner, in a crazy sorta way...
I lost what little respect I had for some of my classmates because of social sites. Maybe they feel the same about me if they hate peace and justice. I hear you loud and clear D. I can only ignore SO much.
Then it's just delete. (Control, Alt, Delete would have sounded cooler!). Nope, just "unfriend".

RATED
I guess I'm lucky that most of my friends from the past, that have crawled out of the woodwork courtesy of Facebook, aren't racist assholes. Wow! Yeah, a bunch of them are Christians and/or conservatives, but for the most part (at least so far) they've managed to keep the political rhetoric off the page. Nah, my old friends are more the type that contact you 10-15 years after graduation to tell you they've gotten a sex change...
Now if I could just keep my family off Facebook I'd have no racist or religious nuts to deal with.... alas.
Roger says,

"To judge me, by my politics, and only those things, is very short sighted (and terrifying that someone could even do that)..." and "I'm a little disappointed in anyone that judges me by a single metric."

You mean like judging someone by a single metric like the color of their skin, or their religion? Wow. What an incredible dumbass. Good on you for kicking him to the curb.
I feel your WTFs and raise you a WTFRA?
You said it, VR. In the spirit of MJ's post (and because my related story is rather me-and-my-multi-racial family) specific, I share what my best friend's dad, a very white white guy with an Irish last name, does when anyone lets go with a racist statement in his presence.

He stares. He says, quietly, with no emotion, "You must be saying that in front of me because you assume I'm white."

He continues staring.
What could one possibly say when confronted by irrational, insanity.
As one of my movie heros once said, "Nazis. I hate these guys."

Rated, with sadness.
I'm not on FaceBook, and won't be ever, but I definitely sympathize with finding out someone is a racist dickhead. It's a sinking feeling, isn't it? Like, how did I like you before? I work mostly in financial firms, and there are a lot of conservative white people, so these days I tend to be suspicious that there might be something horrendous under the surface; I've been burned trusting work people before.
And now I wish I'd quoted The Blues Brothers. Damn you, Sheldon!
Staggering. Not the bigotry itself, but the utter cluelessness.
I don't do the face/space thing - but I would probably be willing to unfriend over such things. On the other hand, in real life, I often find myself confronted with a lot of not-so-subtle racsim - and other -isms. I try to ask questions about the -ism which will hopefully plant seeds of doubt in the -ist.
Oh sorry. Thought this was a list of assorted relatives, people I used to work with in an unamed southern state, people who go to the church I used to attend and the reason I'm not on facebook. . .

And it's ALL that! Plus a really good reason why I have a screen name!
I wish sentiments like those you quoted were unfamiliar. Sadly, those ideas have been rampant...and yet there are actually people who claim racism is a thing of the past.

A couple of others have already beaten me to mentioning the mind-bending idea of your former friend. His inability to make the connection between his racism and assorted prejudices to his complaint of you judging him by a "single metric". As you said, "WOW. Just wow."
I've been pretty amazed at what people are willing to say when it's just the two of you... throwing out far-right political comments as if nothing could ever be disputed about it, or sanctimonious judgment, or blatant, unthinking racism. I think you're absolutely taking the right position. If you can't influence thoughts, you can at least broadcast that hate speech is unacceptable.
Free Speech is a bitch isn't it. Because of the whole free speech thing, people like that get to spew their garbage all over the Internet. I guess eveything has a "down" side to it.
Sheldon, I have to nitpick, just because the original line is so great in all its quirkiness. What Dan Aykroyd says is "Illinois Nazis. I hate Illinois Nazis."
People of that persuasion should be dropped like used Kleenex in the same location.
I went to college in Bloomington. I am not shocked.
Jingling Jesus on Roller Skates...what a horrible dude!

And I had to laugh at your White Castle/Peoria references, since this area us what I just blogged about!
VR-My father was the MOST bigoted man I have ever known, then or since. He made Archie Bunker look like the most compassionate person known to mankind! I will not repeat the terms he used to describe people of color, but they were insulting and numerous.
When I was 14 , I met a young man at a church coffee house.
Scott called the house a few times and we often said that we had to get together, although I never formed any concrete plans, because of my father and his opinions. One Saturday morning I was up the street, headed back home, when in mach speed, Scott came flying by me on a bicycle, and he would not stop, no matter how I begged him!
When I got to my house my father sat directed at the back door, had a gun on his lap, and was the most furious that I'd ever seen him. I took one step in, and decided that wasn't the best idea. I began to take 2 steps backward, and he ordered me to go to my room. I spent the rest of the day in my bedroom,with him interrogating me ; Why was he here? Where had he come from? Who was he? How did I know him? He told me that white women with black men were pigs and NO white man would want that female who had consorted with a black man! He didn't use the term "black man" or "pig" or "consorted with"/ i was traumatized for a very long time because of this innocent encounter. The most we had done was dance! How could that be so terrible?
The next time I saw Scott, he was petrified to be seen with me.... It seemed my father had gone to the door when Scott knocked. Scott asked for me, and my father, all friendly like, invited him to step in. My father excused himself for a minute and came back with the gun aimed at Scott and told him if he ever came back he would blow his head off, in fact, if he was ever seen with me again , he would find Scott and blow his head off! Needless to say, a 14 y.o. black kid who had ridden his bike for almost 10 miles, from the ghetto to the suburbs, to visit a girl he had a crush on, learned a valuable lesson that Saturday afternoon! Avoid those 50 y.o. white men,who had early onset bigotry. The trick was figuring out who was sick and who was not
Sorry for pirating your post, Verbal!
Rated
/jaw hitting floor

I had an Italian relative with poor English skills visit me and use the "n" word. I explained to him that this was a bad word and why. He was mortified. He explained to me that my cousins (rural, white, Christian) had used the word and he just thought that was the common term for black people. He had no idea of its real meaning, and I was horrified to learn that my cousins were racist bastards.
I would like to validate your impusle, praise your actions, and second that emotion...........Well done, well said......

Rated...
"To judge me, by my politics, and only those things, is very short sighted (and terrifying that someone could even do that)"

What a hypocrite.
One time I was driving this old neighbor around Monterey Park as a favor. (Monterey Park, if you didn't know, is a heavily chinese suburb of East LA). We were talking, and old guy suddenly said, " all these chinese are taking over everywhere- look at them, they come over and open their stores..." on and on for a few minutes before he suddenly stopped- he must have suddenly realized he was talking to a chinese person. I felt so horribly embarassed for him.
I joined Facebook for a week, and had to get off. Everyone it seemed was a conservative, or worse, a racist. I couldn't believe what I was reading. I respect all opinion's, but refuse to argue with fools!
This is pathetic. I hear the average ages of "Face book" users are between 16 - 35.

Very frightening to understand that hate is progressing.
I've never had a Facebook page.... I think I can live without one for the forseeable future, as well.

Blast those Neos, Verbal Remedy!
Rated
Sometimes we simply cannot trust minds we are only 1/2 familiar with. Great, sincere, firm post Verbal.

When I see an acquaintance mistreating animals or people other than their intimates, I call them on it and bail. I will not tolerate a stupid, bigoted, unkind soul.
I wish getting rid of patients were as easy as getting rid of Facebook friends. I'd love to have an eject button.
Can't you just give them a lethal injection, Steve? Or does that violate some highfalutin' medical ethics stricture?
It's even more unfortunate when those kind of remarks come from your family members...grandparents, cousins, aunts. Grandparents are no longer around but there are days I'd like to un-family some of the rest of them!
Fear and Ignorance. Some people are just plain old ignorant and some just fear the loss of any kind of power they think they might have. My neighbor, (we'll call him Joe) across the street hangs a gay flag over his complex. It is lively and colorful and so is he. He adds so much life to his little apartment complex, christmas lights, lots of trees and flowers, cats, a pool for the kids on the block, and he always helps me and the kids and anyone else on the block who needs help. He is great. Some guy bought the house on the corner next to him, took down Joe's flag and broke it in two - his first day in the house. He didn't even know Joe. I mean, what an idiot. Or as you say so well, what a dickhead.
How do you rehab racism? Apparently, you get him/her/them a gay roomate of the offending race. (Wow! These "negroes" aren't so bad after all!) I'm guessing Rog and his gay "negro" roomate have run off together and are now living in Key West and selling pastries ... Rog's Miss Fortune Cookies. You know the song: Down the way where the knights are GAY ...

And this is why I stay away fromFacebook, Twitter and all that stuff. They do NOT bring out the best in us. They find the worst ... all looking for attention. They're all worse than vampires on a moonless night.

Good post, Verbal! Rated.
Great post. The scariest kind of racism sometimes comes from people you'd never suspect of being racist.
I am so stealing that "you must be saying that in front of me because you assume I'm white" line. Followed by the Death Look.
Wow. Just wow.

See you write a whole blog bashing a racist here and you make the front page.
I write ONE accurate sentence about Dog the Bounty Hunter letting the N word slip and I get mobbed by devoted followers on my Examiner page. lol

Gotta love the south.

Excellent rant.
I just had a similar experience to this. Shortly after Obama took office I received an incredible email from one of Paul's very good friends. (I say I because he still can't actually understand this whole internet thing. He's very cute though.) It was about the White House now becoming the Black House with a ridiculous sounded-out phone number.

I let it go because he's not really my friend, although it was disturbing. I didn't even show it to Paul. Then last week he sent another and this week another. I was so creeped out that I finally decided to respond and showed Paul the emails. We crafted a response and sent it.

His response? "Gee, I don't know how this comes across as racist."

Sometimes I wish you could "unfriend" someone in life just as easily as on FaceBook.
Huh. That... seems unbelievable (Not read: I don't believe you). I wonder what makes someone turn out like he did? Mom and Pop must've taught him or something. Do people NATURALLY tend toward racism or what?! It seems like kids who're never told it's an issue would never perceive or consider that it is (minus the normal childish - and innocent- curiosities like "Mommy, why is his skin darker than ours?" or "Mommy, why is the girl from my class covered in freckles. I just don't get it. Maybe it's pounded into their heads from birth. OR... some other sort of pounding that caused a severe lack of functioning brain cells or something... huh.
Way to kick them out Verbal!!

Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone did that? The narrow minded racist idiots would have less and less people to bond (breed) with until their kind became extinct!
I am going to risk commenting here, just for you Verbal, but thank you for speaking out on this subject. Your experiences are similar to mine, no surprise since we grew up within less than an hour's drive of each other.

Due to the geographic area in which I find myself, I am exposed to a 24 hour cycle of racism. It runs in live commentary around me if I am out of my home, then in my head as I try to sort through a new bunch of this hateful nonsense each and every day of my life.

It is no coincidence in the universe that racial issues are coming front and center in this country. What has been hidden underneath polite veneer for most people, is completely visible now on the most unexpected people and it is not a pretty sight. I never realized the hate that lived in polite Christian hearts until last summer, and it is breaking my mind and spirit.

My husband has only become aware of it since joining Facebook. Although I have been bemoaning this state of affairs for over a year now, he finally sees what I mean. Where could you go in the country to avoid hearing these types of things, however? There is no protecttion from reading it, either, if you spend time on Facebook.

Let the media and others make fun of the President's and Prof. Gates comments. I believe that there is huge potential benefit coming from the national coverage of their combined comments and the collective reaction to what they are calling a "teaching experience". The hatred that is at the center of racism and which is at the heart of so much that is wrong in this country, needs to be exposed and then discussed.

Intellectual understanding and the (recently much-maligned) use of empathy in the application of the Golden Rule are the only possible remedies to rampant racism. Thank you, again, VR. Yours, LL
I had one of these high school throwbacks that wasn't on my Facebook. He emailed me. I got one that had a joke picture of "funny money" with Obama in blackface in the middle of it. The other was a "Progression of Presidential Cars." It shows horsedrawn carriages, then a parade of the president's limos, then Obama's is a jacked up grape purple metallic El Dorado. That's when I blocked his address.

Hmph.

(thumbified because there ain't nothin' wrong with takin' out the garbage.)
love. it feels kind of 'safe' to have you around Verbal.
Rated, with extra kicks for the racists in my family-acquaintance.

Facebook isn't all that horrible -- all social sites have their nasty little racist enclaves. The internet is just a reflection of society at large.

That's one arm we could safely amputate off the human body.
I have another story to add to this.
My dad, who means well and really "loves" everyone, sometimes makes inadvertently stupid remarks. But no matter. His heart is in the right place. He earned his place in heaven this day:
My dad had been working for months and months to get financing for a business venture he was trying to get off the ground. He and my mother were living in penury. Fucking penury. He got really excited because a couple of venture capitalists from Texas had heard about what he was doing and were interested.
My dad took them out to dinner. All was going well. They loved my dad's invention and were ready to invest a LOT of money.
And then it happened.
The guy from Texas leaned back and said, "You know, one of things I really like about being here in Seattle is you don't have many niggers here."
My father paid the check and left the table, told the man he didn't do business with racists.
And went back to penury.
Even thinking about that makes me proud.
"Fucksticks?" "All up in a bottle of gin?" I LOVE you people! Damn, it feels good to laugh once in a while. Even tho there's nothing funny about the subject matter.
Don't judge him just for his *politics.* As if racism is facial hair, or a preference for country & western music. It's not everybody's taste, but so what? How shallow of you, to focus only on his racism and miss out on what might otherwise be a swell friendship.

Jeezus. People think that way. What a scary world we inhabit.
I love you. Madly. Deeply. This just makes me sad and angry on so many levels and you know it.
In the '70's newly taught in grade schools was the marxist manifesto "nothing wrong, nothing right. Nothing bad, nothing good. It's whatever you think it is." I disagree. We each have to draw "our" line in the sand for civilation sake. Hate and jealousy must go bye bye forever for the sake of life. Bottom line two edged sword murderous tongues need to stop their primitive tribal presence in this enlightened age. To not see that we are all brothers and sisters created by the same source is ignorant. Worst yet treating your sisters and brothers with killing instincts is tribal and evil. So why do some court evil and some court goodness. No fear of burning in hell which does not exist, nor fear of not getting to a heaven that doesn't exist would be a good beginning point to kick the belief that control of your personal spirituality is necessary by the haters of this world. Amen
I just had a random memory as I've been pondering this post. Allow me to indulge...

I was riding in a car with my then boyfriend and our roommate late one night after drinking. The friend "M" was wasted (as most alcoholics ARE), and he was talking about his new career as a firefighter. My boyfriend and I were being nothing but encouraging until "M" blurted out that he'd "save the members in a house in due order" and therefore... wait for it... he'd "save the family dog and THEN any niggers if time allowed."

I. Could. Not. Believe it.

I had to regain my composure but then immediately started chewing his racist behind out. At the same time, my boyfriend turned around (a dangerous feat when you're driving) and told "M" to "shut the fuck up because that isn't funny."

"M" said, "Come on guys. You know I'm just kidding. Lighten up. Besides, we have a black guy in our family tree." I perked up my ears cuz I hadn't known that I started wondering if maybe he really had kidding afterall.

Then he dropped this:

"Yeah, he's still hanging there as a matter of fact."

...................................... *silence*

It took a minute just because my mind didn't naturally go where his did. But when it clicked, I know I turned red hot. My boyfriend said "Dude! You say another piece of shit thing like that again and I'm kicking you out on the side of the road!"

That shut him up, but I've loathed him ever since (and not just for that, but certainly that was in the list). It was awful. I can't believe people like that even exist. I honestly didn't know it until that night. I thought those days were mostly gone. Or... maybe not from the older generations (my grandma's been a democrat her whole life but couldn't vote for Obama because "God told her not to"... right.), but certainly from the average younger person. I was shocked. I still can't stand him.

WHO SAYS THAT???!?!?!?!? EsPECially the bit about saving the DOG first????!!!!! You've gotta be freaking kidding me. But you weren't! Prick.

Okay I'm done. Sorry. Maybe I should have put this all in my own post. Just thought it belonged here.
Hi, I comment on this issue would have been too long so I put something up on my own blog. It may only be tangentially related, I don't know. But it does address the issue of whether or not hateful bigots are raised that way.
[Yawn/Stretch] Oh, hello. Is it morning already? Wow! Look at all of you busy little beavers who were here overnight while I was being all debauched in the back yard! So, coffee's brewing and...what's that? This is on the front page? [checks] Well, go figure.

I am reading these comments with a full-on mixture of smiles, horror, sadness, astonishment, and gratitude. Thank you, everybody, for contributing to the dialogue.

It's horrifying that the media asshats don't seem to understand how deep and pervasive racism is sitting RIGHT under the surface, ready to boil, and they're the ones turning up the heat right now. I swear, if I didn't know better, I'd think there was an intention to create race riots through talk radio.

(Julie, you asked if Rog's Mom & Dad raised him that way; no. He was arguing with his parents about his, ahem, "views" constantly.)

The mental picture of him running off with the gay black roommate, though? Priceless.
I have known numerous "racist assholes" in my life. One experience stands out.

I was walking toward my office in Salt Lake City, Utah, one afternoon to raise funds for organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center, Amnesty International, etc., etc. and these three skinhead types approached me all Duded up in their festive thrift store jackbootery, carrying twelve packs of Pabst Blue Ribbon under their arms. They said "Hail, white brother. We are going up to X's apartment to talk about the white race. Join us." I shook my head to clear it and replied: "Gee, fellas, I'd love to but I don't think my Rabbi would approve." and kept walking. I looked over my shoulder just to see how the statement had been received.

It was great fun watching their jaws still dropped. I am a typically light skinned, light brown haired, green eyed American of Bavarian German decent. I also weigh 200 lbs., am six feet tall, was at the time quite physically fit, had hair halfway down my back, am extremely self confident and those green eyes have a certain "intensity" that can, when needed, say: "don't do it" loudly.

I approached my job that evening with a renewed sense of purpose.

-Doc
LIFE IS TOO SHORT.
WHO NEEDS THE AGGRAVATION?
IF YOU THINK ABOUT YOUR OLD PAL...
HE WAS PROBABLY AN AVOWED RACIST IN H.S.
YOU JUST DON'T REMEMBER HIM THAT WAY.
MORE THAN LIKELY...HE REALLY HASN'T CHANGED.
YOU MAY HAVE IN THE AREA OF NOT SUFFERING FOOLS...
GLADLY. GOOD ON YOU!
LAM-09
But what do you do when it's a family member posting vaguely racist status updates? Ugh. It's making me feel sick. I want to believe that even the hardcore conservatives in my family are well-meaning and reasonable, just on a different belief system than I am. I usually just ignore the political stuff, then they start posting things about Obama being a radical Muslim from Kenya, and their friends start putting in their downright racist two cents. I don't even know what to do.
Well, I still live here in the great fly over ;P in a primarily immigrant community, and
It's not the big statements (like your friend's email) that bug me, it's the little jabs.
Like: "my gyne was down there so long I was beginning to think I'd hired a dyke." *snorts from all around* when they know full well you are one, and expect you to laugh too- and you do, and feel nauseous about it the whole rest of the night you are so angry
Like: "oh honey did you forget to take your meds today?" *everyone laughs, then covers their mouths* when they know full well you actually do take meds for clinical depression and well, after all she's a friend, she didn't mean it 'that way'
Like: you are sitting in class and a brown skinned baby and a pink skinned baby are up on the screen and are stated as being from the same pregnancy from the same parents and one of the girls in the back says that there is no way they are from the same father and implies that the mother must have been sleeping around. (nursing students- really- Karen was there (I'd dragged her along for the day) and almost lost her nut, since she teaches a racism class and is used to people being more circumspect in their words in front of her)

I can't tell you how many times I get to hear racial epithets coming out of literally everyone's mouths regardless of skin tone, place of birth, or sexual orientation. Hell, it took me months of dating Karen to get rid of the phrase "that's so gay"to describe something stupid. It is just intrinsic to this area- and hell, to people as a culture- trying to sort us from them. Part of me wants to yell and scream about it, part of me is just glad it is so obvious in others because it helps we work out issues in myself that I probably would just dismiss, because that would be easier. I know there are some cultures that I shy away from trusting, because I have been hurt numerous times before by members of that group- isn't that racism, or culturism at least? Is anyone free of this that deals with cultures beyond their own socioeconomic, racial, culture group? I wish I knew of an easier way to guard against it other than constant examination of my reactions.
Too bad about the people who just can't take responsiblilty for their own bad decisions, bad energy, and bad assness. Maybe they'd be able to wake up, learn something, and get joyful.. if they could only pull their heads out of the endless, swirling toilet of blame. Flush, Swirl, and Swish...gurgle gurgle.
Wait guys, here's another side of the same coin. I am a second generation New Yorker who ran into an ex-boyfriend of mine who I had not seen in over 25 years. He had been an actor of some note at the time of our relationship and we were well ensconsed in the creative world of so-called with-it New Yorkers. So, pleased to see each other we had an impromptu lunch to catch up on our lives. Good conversation bubbled, me basking in his compliments of how I had not changed one iota from 25 years ago, blah, blah, pleasant yadda, when somehow we entered into vaguely political waters -- probably whatever was in the newspapers about the MiddleEast --when he lowers his voice and says "well we know it wasn't six million killed...." I choked, actually choked on my salad. Let me tell all of you commenters right now that the two of us are both people of color, both educated, both in the arts, as I said above, with-it New Yorkers. I was stunned and weirdly embarrassed for him. What had happened in 25 years??? I leaned forward and said: "Really? then how many do you think died?" And he said "there's documentation that proves only a few thousand". Mind you this is someone who I slept with for god's sake. As a New Yorker I have occasionally overheard lots of dumb stuff from passer-bys depending on the borough I happened to be in but this was a mind-boggling ingnorant statement from someone I thought I KNEW. I have to admit I then became a bit frightened and wanted to get away as soon as possible. Frightened not because I feared physical harm but because that type of racist ignorance frightens me. The problem with living in a city like New York all ones life is that you become very protected from the insanity you posters have been mentioning. We go along happy in the belief that we are above being exposed to all that knee-jerk bigoted nonsense you mention that exists in the hinterlands - so when something like what happened to me happens you can't even think of a clever retort - you just want to bolt.
Needless to say I never saw him again (gave him a phony telephone number) but did read a review of one of his plays in which he was mercilessly panned as a playwright. Of course. How can one be creative with a hole in his soul?
I couldnt agree more. I work for an organization that tracks neo-nazis and it amazes me that they have enough brain cells to to grow hair..... oh wait.... they are typically skinheads.
"I wonder what makes someone turn out like he did? ... Do people NATURALLY tend toward racism or what?!"
While people aren't necessarily taught by their parents, they are taught racism. Young children, left to their own devices, seem to not care at all about color.

"You've Got to Be Carefully Taught" from South Pacific, 1949
You've got to be taught
To hate and fear,
You've got to be taught
From year to year,
It's got to be drummed
In your dear little ear
You've got to be carefully taught.

You've got to be taught to be afraid
Of people whose eyes are oddly made,
And people whose skin is a diff'rent shade,
You've got to be carefully taught.

You've got to be taught before it's too late,
Before you are six or seven or eight,
To hate all the people your relatives hate,
You've got to be carefully taught!

I live in Portland, Oregon, which is very liberal. But there is still much racism aimed at blacks, Latinos, whomever. There is also homphobia, too, even though we have a large out population that has had official support from the city government for many years and from the state for a couple.

We also had the murder of Mulugeta Seraw, an Ethiopian immigrant, by racist skin heads, and the passing of an anti-gay marriage ballot measure a few years ago.

I have become active on facebook recently and have seen no racism at all. To the contrary, I recommend, on Facebook, Tim Wise: "Tim Wise is among the nation's most prominent anti-racist educators, and the author of 4 books."

People are taught to fear the other. It helps the powerful to maintain power.
VR, I have to tell you: every time I see that picture at the top of your post, it re-freaks me out.
I hide people on FB when they start bugging me. I don't see their stuff for a while and if I get curious I can unhide them.

Unfriending requires refriending if you get curious. Awkward-er...
Haven't had to unfriend any budding racists (yet), but I did have to remove a former friend who was arrested in a "To Catch a Predator" type sting. Shocking.
I just did the same thing with an email acquaintance I've been trying to reason with for 15 years. The last straw for me was the email that arrived that said "Don't blame me -- I voted for the American." My reply was terse and pointed and concluded with my own bumperstickerism: "You can't fix stupid."
Neo-Nazism isn't just one little thing about a person, like the kind of watch he wears. It's formative of identity -- and he knows this, or wouldn't be one. It is a worldview, and one that is based on fundamental errors about reality and ethics. A willingness to embrace those errors, esp. in adulthood, is deeply revealing of character.

And he doesn't see that???
oyez, Verbal. Sometimes we tread on mines online, little bombs of vile spew and perverse thought-gnarls, under bland, even likable scenery.

It is wise of social network tools to allow "quiet" un-friending.

I find it so hard to do this at times. I recently got into a to-do with a freethought person, who's opinions i liked so i Friended on FB. When he posted a luadatory thing about Noam Chomsky I posted contra, giving links to Chomsky's support of neo-nazis and holocaust deniers.

What a melee. I would have thought that Skpeticism and Freethought would make our exchange lively but fact-based. Nope. To him, I was instantly a Zionist Liar with some weird rightwing agenda. ME!

My goodness, the byways of human opinion, what we want or NEED to be true. I too had a nutjob moment months ago trying to "prove" that organic foods are more nutritious to a rightwinger, only to find that the scientific evidence so far is very weak (more studies, please!).

My rabid NEED to be right about my beloved natural gardening and heirloom tomatoes put me in the same neighborhood, brain mechanisms-wise. Not unlike your friend Roger, methinks. He has a lifelong Idee Fixe about the races that MUST be true, to him.

Relaxing my own convictions, in the face of convincing evidence, is so damn hard, and I am Good Skeptic. This is all so hard.

Circles back to the Friend? un-Friend? and I concur: quietly un-friend for unrepentant racism and personal attacks, too. Yep.

But the longer I live the more I step away from suchlike with unease, with an echo of recognition that unsettles me, and a desire to use that unease in some positive way, even with the worst of that Hater lot.
Why is racism a right? Freedom of speech becomes freedom to hate.
This kind of speech should be a felony. Besides erasing assholes from FB, we should erase them from human society.
Thank you, Bill Michtom, for posting the You've Got To Be Carefully Taught lyric. It is/was/will always be one of the most poignant statements ever penned on the subject of racism. I once had occasion to send the same words to my dear Mother, after she said something really dumb. They shook her.

Thanks again, Verbal.
I found out recently -- through Facebook -- that an old friend of mine had become (at some point between high school and now) an unrepentant racist. I'm all for free expression, and of course she's entitled to her view... but I regard that level of racism to be completely irrational and... well... stupid. It's not something I can stand to be around, no matter how close we used to be.
I NEVER got to those facebook sites or any like it.
I come here to be abused.lol

If you'd like to know some shit about racism in its various forms, you ought to hear from ME about how it was to grow up in the tighty whitey western burbs of Chicago in the 50's and date a black girl from the city.
Even though I'm 70 now, I can STILL get down and kick some serious ass physcially.
I heard the shit from both black AND white people.
Some white people wouldn't let us be together at their places while some of the black guys gave me shit about taking one of "their" girls.

I once brought one of my friends home while some of my relatives were at my house.
Later on, after my friend and I had left, we sat & had some good laughs about how my parents and other relatives wou;ld walk all over their tongues and stumble trying to "prove" they weren't prejudiced.
They didn't realize how transparently ignorant they were.

So, as a man, I'm STILL waiting to read a blog about the gender bias that I've experienced on the web and in real life.
I'd write one butt, the gender bias I'd hear would just piss me off as much as racism does.
"How can one be creative with a hole in his soul?" Wow, sekai2001@aol.com - just Wow.

The next time somebody asks me what social networking and blogging and such is all about, I'm going to tell them about this conversation.

What a delightful group to wake up to.

Mahalo~
There are none so intolerant as those who preach tolerance.

The hatred and vitriol being spewed here by the self-righteous quite simply is astounding. Thanks for providing me this insight into the workings of the leftist mindset.
Well, it shouldn't be a surprise at this point that Facebook is merely a "popularity contest" for many "adults" who seem to have forgotten that high school and their adolescence ended many years ago. I discontinued my Facebook account after only one month. By the way, I'm picutred here next to one of my favorite Democrats, and the only thing that I have against him is that he's a White Sox fan (actually, being a Cubs fan for 25 years hasn't worked out very well for me, and President Obama is correct, once again, in his particular beliefs given the 2005 World Series outcome). Paul Haider, Chicago
"MissChristy"

"the marxist manifesto "nothing wrong, nothing right. Nothing bad, nothing good. It's whatever you think it is." I disagree. "

Aside from the fact that your overall post made no rational sense, here's a clue: JHuse because you don't agree with/like a thing does NOT mean it is "Marxist," or whatever other dirty word you can lay your tongue to.

Clue: as for the source of the conception you seem to be rejecting: try Hinduism. Try stoicism. Try the lessons taught by cognitive-behavioral psychology.
"There are none so intolerant as those who preach tolerance."

There is a difference between paradox, on the one hand, and on the other, irrational nonsense. To be polite, even though you don't deserve it: You don't achieve paradox.

"The hatred and vitriol being spewed here by the self-righteous quite simply is astounding. Thanks for providing me this insight into the workings of the leftist mindset.

"bullbleep"

Criticizing racist hatred isn't hatred; it is criticism, and it is reasoned. Your "argumentive" "style" is borrowed from the likes of O'Reilly: third-grade playground name-calling and bullying.

Another clue: the political spectrum is complex, which means it is more than 1+1=2. There is Left, there is CENTER, and their is Right. The vast majority are MODERATE/LIBERAL, NOT far right lunatic fringe extremists who label everything to the left of Hitler as "Leftist," while confuounding British -- socialist -- economics with far-right Nationalist Socialism.

It's easier to hate, and lie against everything you hate than it is to think. It's also the intellectual laziness you insist applies to those you view as your inferiors.

But both hate and lying are immoral. And the first person damaged by them is the hateful liar.
Yeah, being judgemental is a cursed thing, isn't it? Now what was all that about "God-foresaken cornfields and silo towns and the great flyover"? That's a whole lot of people to be judging in one rant as well.
Some of us are old enough to have grown up before the Civil Rights movement of the sixties. We grew up with racist attitudes that were a part of the air we breathed. Racism is learned. One is not born a racist. You have to work at overcoming it, just as you would have to work at overcoming the habit of smoking. In order to "save" someone from the sin of racial hatred, there must first be what the Czech playwright and president Vaclav Havel called a "revolution of the heart." Only then can there be a revolution in behavior.
Wow. My first True Racist Invasion.

I'm so proud.
VR, you said "Racist!" and one appeared! Quick, say, "Money!"
All I can do is give a big "sign" here. Given that I usually refer to two of the racists I know as "mom" and "dad," it's hard to dismiss them as "racist assholes." The same is the case with sisters, their husbands, an uncle, and probably an aunt or two. It's all pretty painful and makes family reunions the equivalent of three days straight of root canals. To paraphrase a Hee Haw song, "if it weren't for bad roots, I'd have no roots at all."
Here's an actual event. Back when Johnny Mathis began singing this little white home girl from Compton, California feel in love. I had a crush on Johnny Mathis. Now I had never heard prejudice in the years growing up BUT my father was very concerned because I ate, slept and sang and sang with Johnny Mathis on the radio and all day long. His music, his voice, his presentation just bore witness in my spirit and me and my spirit hummed all day long ... such joy. BUT my father was very concerned and tried to stear me away to other music. That's all, I didn't think a thing of it. Then it came out the Johnny Mathis had come out and all off a sudden my father never mention anything about me listening to his music. Well, low, all these years later I still love Johnny Mathis. My dream is to live just down wind from him in the Hollywood Hills soooo just in case he's singing his music will blow downwind to my waiting ears and I will feel blessed. Priceless

Fortunately for me there was never prejudice in our home although years later I found out what a racist my father really was/is. And he's not even a hipocrite about it. So I do believe becoming a racist is learned in the home, church, schools and government in that order from my observations. Just look at the Republicans choking to death on President Obama's dignified, well paced wisdom in handling any and every decision. With Obama you have to keep tuning in - I love it.

Now regarding Sodomoyor: She may claim to be "a wise Latino women wiser than any white male." Every women in this world knows they are wiser than any white male. Sooooo. I declare "I am a white Irish/English women and I am wiser than any white male." AND our little girls can claim the same.

Let's hear it from the women in the world.
Your story totally creeps me out. You certainly didn't need smut like that to besmirch your good name. Ick. That loser deserved the ol' heave-ho.
This is why I forgive the occasional unconscious mistake. There's a difference between people who are not perfectly enlightened and those who embrace racsim.
benwaz = duane661, it seems. He wants to be a multitude.

Both brand new users, both without an image, both friendless, both speak rather incoherently in strung together cliches. The ironies just pile up.

Reassuring to know we are not invaded by gangs of skinheads. Just one lonely guy with a very small stick to sharpen.
This is why it bugs me madly when people express the so common as to be requisite "I respect everyone's opinion." I don't. I respect their right to hold whatever opinion they want and even to express it but I don't respect ignorance, stupidity or hatefulness or anyone who expresses or acts on them.

that was all I was going to say but the many interesting stories reminded me of one of my own, a bit of a lighter slant on this ugly subject.

When my first daughter was age 4 we joined a new pre-school car pool, everyone fully vouched for by the school and people I knew and trusted.

Abdullahi's father would leave work to drive the car pool and so my daughter would be the first on his route, even before his own son. My daughter walked to the car with him and was alone with him for 3-5 minutes. He was from Nigeria, a black man with a big bushy full beard who spoke English with a heavy accent.

Soon my daughter was expressing reluctance to leave with Abdullahi's father. Concerned, I had a long, probing conversation with her. He had never touched her or hurt her or said anything mean to her. It turned out she just didn't like "the black skin on his face."

My stomach still churns a little remembering this 30+ years later. I had married her father as a stupid and somewhat sheltered 19 year old raised by liberal progressive catholic nuns, heavily influenced by my "Humphrey liberal" father and was I shocked when he and his family demonstrated that intelligence and advanced education were no bar to ignorance and bigotry. I was truly panicked at my daughter's reaction and fought a growing fear that racism could be genetically transmitted. Because I sure didn't give her any chance to learn racism in the less than 4 years since her birth.

After much thought and exploration with daughter, I remembered the year before when, seeing a white man with a 5 o'clock shadow, she asked, "Mommy, why does that man have black skin on his face?" And I remembered a white neighbor man with a full beard she had been apprehensive about. It was the beard!

Whew.

The child went on to have mostly non-white friends until high school and wear out her "free to be you and me" record (containing the "carefully taught" song).

It's not genetic. IT'S A CHOICE.
you think peoria is bad.. you come visit me in red bud.. where i actually read in the local paper about something that happened at our yearly picnic.. a couple adopted or is sponsering a foster child, an adorable lil black baby.. someone saw them at the parade and rudely called the woman white trash bc she had a baby that wasnt white.. you hear that alot around here, she wrote to the paper calling them out.. sad thing is, all she ended up doing was fueling the fire.. she was giving them just something else to talk about..
i hate this dinky lil town.. there is a law on the books that say an african american caught in town after sun down will be drug to the center of town and hung.. it gets better there is a town about 20 mins east of us that anyone who is not white will drive about 20 miles out of the way to avoid bc the cops will arrest you just for not being white.

love southern ill... just to pieces im telling you..
Appalling. People are scary. And they just pop up like it's nothing. It's not nothing. But you already said it so well.
SOME (MUCH MILDER) STUFF ABOUT RACE, FROM SO CAL --
My s.o. balked when I suggested a vacation to Andalusia. Her response, something on the lines of how Spanish history/culture has had much cruelty, and (in her opinion) remains a part of its people; she said "Spain creeps me out." She is not an idiot, but always has had reservations regarding our local Latin population which, as everyone knows, has recently grown quite a lot. Indeed, many whites in southern California, who are otherwise open minded and tolerant people, today harbor a feeling that can only be described as racist. I consider this to be more of an economic issue than race : people get impacted, in one way or another, then as a result of what I would call mental laziness, turn to racism as an easy intellectual resort - i.e. instead of blaming the ills of capitalism (god forbid) they blame each other. Nonetheless, race is, and has been for at least three hundred years, an ongoing issue here in Mexico, uh, I mean, so Cal. My response :

Obviously, we southern Californians are impacted by what is actually an uniquely negative side of what might be called the long arm of Spain and Portugal, in terms of perhaps the most evil of its people having historically arrived at this part of the world and ruined it in many ways, namely the native Americans, indigenous peoples from both North and South America.

Talking to Travis [a white guy who lives in back of our house] a few weeks ago was disconcerting as he is angry at 'Mexicans,' because he's lost work by being undercut by carpenters who'll work for less. What was interesting, was when I casually mentioned the idea of whites giving back the area to people who were here before [one of my usual tongue-in-cheek jokes], such as (I said) brown people. He knew I meant Latins and retorted "The real original people weren't Mexicans. They were the Indians." I didn't pursue it, because I wasn't interested in starting an argument, or anything towards negativity. But later, I thought about it. This is what I might have said : What is the difference between a so called Indian, a native from this southwest region of the continent, and a Mexican (Colombian, Nicaraguan, El Salvadoran, Chilean, Peruvian etc) ? One parent? And that would more than likely constitute the rape of a native woman by a white man, wouldn't it? Yes, a European man, likely from Spain, or Portugal. A soldier, sailor, explorer, pirate, crazed Christian missionary, or the like.

[Back to the conversation about Spain, with my s.o.] Do these men who first sailed to the Americas and raped the area, in one way or another, do they truly represent the majority of people from the nation of which they came?

We should probably forget about Spain being anything like what people we've come to know during our lives here in southern California, who speak the Spanish language. For all intents and purposes, these so called Latins shouldn't even be speaking Spanish. That they do, and are Christians for that matter, suggests laziness more than anything else. I've always thought it ridiculous that Latins and Blacks are Christian : Okay, let's get raped, enslaved and then join the religion of the racists who screwed us over, too. That way we can get the full effect of assimilation. Ridiculous. But, there it is. The way of humans, since the beginning of time, at least in western civilization.

This laziness, which is obviously something that you don't appreciate about them (southwestern Latins), is certainly not representative of Spanish citizens. If anything, laziness (and drunkenness) is an Italian trait, tradition, more than it is a Spanish characteristic. [She had suggested vacationing in Italy, instead. Okay, I was starting to sound racist myself. But, I was only remembering my old music composition teacher, who'd studied in Italy and told the story of how his teacher was always late to day lessons, and how this was/is (?) considered a tradition there: party before work. Actually, I kind of dig that idea. But, like the intellectual asshole that I am, I used it as a defense of Spain. Oh, well. It's hard not to be racist, isn't it?]

The one person, whose word you would surely respect on this matter, is my cousin Gail. The person who, during my childhood, shared with me her appreciation of Spain, mostly in the form of our learning classical Spanish dancing (flamenco), and castanets etc. Which itself is an interesting characteristic, namely of its men, at least the flamenco dancing ones, who are a type of man, a characteristic people who contrast greatly with the macho American type, with whom I have so many problems. [Now, that's a form of bigotry - what I call 'effemiphobia' - that is far more interesting to me than race and, I think, far more common. - i.e. not to be confused with 'homophobia' which is probably far less common (remember that Robin Williams joke about the macho guy in the back of the auditorium who was checking out some guy's ass) : there is only one meaning for the term 'effeminate' : men who behave effeminately. My excellent group therapist used to call it "female qualities in men." Norman Mailer (a heterosexual) once stated that effeminate behavior is more common than people are usually willing to admit. Such as, when men show female qualities in bed. (Don't forget your cunnilingus, guys. She's waiting..) Most women have always agreed, though usually only amongst themselves, that this makes for a better male lover... not to mention bi/homosexual women who aren't obsessed with macho/effeminate roles. In the 70s, we used to call it, Unisex. Long haired guys etc. But I digress...]

Interestingly, as I was reading about Spain's more recent history, I discovered perhaps one reason that might have urged Gail to consider Spain as something of which to seriously pursue, and have respect for, when she was a teen. This is because, Gail is Jewish. More so than me, or even my aunt Lee, her mother. Because Gail and Mark's father was a practicing Jew. Anyway, I found that Hasidic Jews constitute a considerable part of the Spanish population, and therefore culture. As do the Basque people (Gypsies), by the way. In fact, recent events have had the Basque (in the north regions, at the border of Spain and France, the place that inspired Debussy and Ravel to compose so much of their music) trying to gain independence, which has caused some amount of terrorism to occur in that area : perhaps a good reason to stay away from Spain, actually, though that is in the north, and I was suggesting visiting the south, which is several hundred miles away from that conflict. Anyway, this Jewish history and culture represents the most unique, and intriguing side of Spain, which is that the nation is rich in diversity of culture, what with the Moors legacy, along with so many other uniquely diverse stories that have come out of this place. I'm almost sure that was what inspired Gail, originally to become a fan of Spain.
Poor guy. To quote a line from Blade Runner: "How can it no know what it is?".
"Yeah, being judgemental is a cursed thing, isn't it? Now what was all that about "God-foresaken cornfields and silo towns and the great flyover"? That's a whole lot of people to be judging in one rant as well."

Well said.

While I don't disagree with most of the comments here about the evils of racism, I couldn't help thinking the same thing. I live in so-called flyover country-- Kansas to be exact. There are plenty of closed-minded, racist people around here, but you find those people everywhere. Yet you never see most urbane hipsters bat an eye when jokes are made about rural folks, as if we're all the same-- inbred, stupid, and reactionary. You're not in Kansas anymore Toto, eh? Somebody add up for me the number of times that line has been used by Hollywood to suggest some rube is out of his league. Dozens of times at least. I notice, because I'm from Kansas. You know-- bloody Kansas, John Brown, Quantrill, Nicodemus, highest per capita casualties of all Union states in the Civil War Kansas? But when I said I was from Kansas, you thought of Dorothy, tornadoes, and desolate, black-and-white wasteland didn't you?

Most of the people I know here in Kansas would be Democrats if that party would leave the second amendment alone and begin stressing the importance of individual responsibility to a working society as vociferously as they stress the importance of corporate responsibility-- just like Obama and Cosby have been preaching to the black community for some time now. Calling on fathers to step up, for mothers to get involved in their childrens' education, for community groups to take back the streets and corners from the thugs. It's a good start. Why don't the rest of us join them in our communities? Call out the racists but stamp down the rural ridicule too. Hate speech is hate speech, and generalizations are generalizations.

Every so-called race, religion, ethnic group, nationality, and demographic group contains bigots. To contraphrase Dean Martin-- everybody hates somebody sometime. What percentage of fit gay people don't feel revulsion when they look at a fat person for instance? Or don't laugh behind the back of a person with poor fashion sense? Will unqualified acceptance of all by all ever be a possibility with the human race? I doubt it. But doing unto others as you would have others do unto you is a pretty good place to start.

And for those upthread who think they can prove something by quoting the words of a song in a musical? Well, I suggest they study a bit of cultural anthropology and cognitive neuroscience instead of Broadway productions for their behavioral science. Different skin colors, hair textures, and facial features often elicit fear and loathing by groups when they are seeing them for the first time. At the very least they will inspire a great deal of curiosity, with skin being rubbed to see if the "color" comes off, hair being grabbed at to feel the "strange" texture", faces and noses and lips being groped to ascertain what bizarre thing has led to such grotesque features compared to local standards of "beauty" and "norms".

What must be learned is acceptance of diversity. Fear and revulsion come naturally.
"I joined Facebook for a week, and had to get off. Everyone it seemed was a conservative..."

Don't you just hate it when those damn conservatives come around and fuck everything up. I just hate them.
Based on my own experiences as a member of the dominant cultural and ethnic group in this country, i.e., a caucasian, NOTHING surprises me when it comes to bigotry or racism. I can't even count the number of conspiratorial "conversations" that have occurred about "this" group or "that" group or "those lazy bastards", etc. And what angered me was the presumption that,as a mistake of birth, I shared or even wanted to hear these repugnant thoughts. They have always made me lose all, or nearly all, respect I had for them prior to them opening their stupid, misinformed, disrespectful mouths.

VR, I feel your pain and confusion; however, I have reached the point of almost complete cynicism meaning that I am surprised when a "white" person doesn't express some vile opinion of the "Other." Unfortunately, since the campaign that elected Obama and the "war on terror," openly racist comments have become more prevalent. I've heard avowed Christians swear that the life of a single Iraqi child is worth less than that of a cockroach because that child will only grow up to be a "terrorist" and an "enemy of Christ."
Bile rose in my throat as my former friend spoke those irretrievably
harsh and imbecilic words.

I was convinced that caucasians in America had somehow cornered the market on bigotry until I lived in Asia for 4 years and found out that the ONLY thing that mattered to the residents of the population that is more than 99% homogeneous. It did not matter that I spoke the language (more or less), was respectful of local customs and the people, or lived among the people. It took me a few months to understand the meaning ones heritage had to these people; however, it took a full two years to appreciate the scope of its importance. I lived that way for another 2 years before I returned to the US, much wiser and angrier for the lessons learned.

I believe the experience of living as the "Other" taught me a valuable lesson possibly similar to the life one leads in this country as a person of color, in particular the darker the color the more difficult the life. It made me realize the rage one must feel if you're part of a culture that in many ways doesn't want you around merely b/c of the accident of one's birth. That's kind of the way I felt by the time I left that country after 4 straight years of being simultaneously invisible and hated for being visible, resented for living and breathing and not being one of "Them."

I'm not sure how this may help you understand your friend's "transformation," but I hope it may prove instructive regarding the universal practice of dividing the world into "us" and "them" and making value judgments on the relative worth of the accidents of one's birth.

JR
file this under heads-up:

The new member named Benwaz, responded to a comment I made above, has sent me a "pointed" threat. His entire email:

"to drive through your heart bloodsucker."

He is referencing this comment by me, above; my comment was:

"benwaz = duane661, it seems. He wants to be a multitude.

Both brand new users, both without an image, both friendless, both speak rather incoherently in strung together cliches. The ironies just pile up.

Reassuring to know we are not invaded by gangs of skinheads. Just one lonely guy with a very small stick to sharpen."


I will leave it to you to read duane661's and benwaz' comments. It's vile racist spew, a magnitude more WTF? than the occasional apologia-for-my-rightist-anti-PC feelings that some OS'ers post.

I am no snowflake, and my comment was combative, but this is a direct threat, And it was not made in comments, but rather privately to me, so it merits attention, methinks.

I filed a complaint with Kerry.
As those of you know who read my post Funny, You Don't Look Jewish, I have had my own share of racist slurs. I recently had to "defriend" an old class mate (who had never been much of a friend in the first place; merely an old school mate who had decided to find me) when her comments turned increasingly to End Times stuff and she kept insinuating her Christian conservative viewpoint into anything I posted. It was just too much. Certainly, I think, we had little clear idea who some of the kids we grew up with would turn out to be.
On the other hand, I also had people I could not even remember write an apologize for being anti-semitic "back then" and tell me how sorry they were to have treated me that way.
So, I'm having a somewhat pleasant conversation with this guy about family histories and he's telling me he can go back 3 generations (wow, knows his grandparents!) to his "Nordic roots". I said, that's great I can go back to about 1840 on the Irish side of my family but because my mother's side had to move around so much to avoid getting killed, we can only go back about 5 generations. He ask's me "what's your mother's side?" and I say European Jew but we don't know where the family originated. He looks at me and I swear on my mother, father, sister and brothers graves...."Jewish? I thought you were white?" So after I pick my jaw up from the floor, I said "That's funny because all of my family and friends think I'm white too!" Let's face it, racist assholes are all over the place since Obama won the election. Too bad they aren't required to post their real names on most blogs so at least the rest of us can see who the true assholes really are.
VR grew up in one of the emptiest, cornfield-i-est patches of The Great Flyover, O thou few objecting kittens.

If ya can't call 'em as you lived 'em, well then you can't really call anything at all.
I'm of mixed race and let me tell you my whole life is filled with these moments! These people are crazy-go-nutz! I've had "Friends" talk bad about Mexicans and when I call them out on it the say,” You’re different." What?? How?? My oldest daughter and my sister are very dark. We have actually had people not serve us when we're around. The waitress brings in the menu and then never returns. Both my daughter and my sister have been accused of stealing just for walking and looking! If the stupid store clerks knew my sister is in the legal profession and makes 3 times as much as they do and has traveled the world a few times over they'd faint! My daughter at 23 is an entrepreneur and has run her own business since 17 and here they are the Claire's cashier letting all the 13 year old 5 finger discount earrings while they follow us, legitimate customers around the store expecting to nab a thief!
My Mother's family can be quite a hoot too! I'm told when I was born they all gathered around the crib exclaiming how "White" I was and they couldn't believe it. This all from dark haired, dark eyed Germanics. My Green eyes come from my Father's Spanish side. These people need to get out and travel the world more often. :-p
**J.R. Bauer**
I really appreciate your comment. I think of anyone here you really understand what it is like to be hated just because you were born. It is one of the saddest experiences a person can go through. Being of Mixed Race can give one at times no refuge.
Yikes! Haven't had anyone this blatant on my FB page. Some have been annoying and I just turned off the Newsfeed on them. Oh - to be able to do that in real life. :-)

Thanks for your story and kudos for standing up for what is right.
It was so strange to read your post because most of the people I went to high school and college with would be more likely to picket White Castle on the grounds of animal cruelty or workers' rights than to use it as a jumping off point for racist humor.
Whoa! People actually still say "negros?" It's so scary how total assholes can hide in normal people's clothing.

"I'm not rude to minorities, even Jews (that's counterproductive and unfair at the moment)." Hell yeah, it's counterproductive--we'll sue the shit out of you!
Splendid opportunity for you to ask of yourself why you once found appealing, someone who could write now what you clearly find offensive. I hope you don't leave it with he's somehow through life completely changed into become a monster, which is just so very unlikely. If its "dickhead" followed by our "you rock!" closure, it's unequal to you.
fuck you white bastards siding with the niggers. there are niggers of all colors and your one of them.