June 09, 2007

Of Faggots, Freaks and Niggers

I find it absolutely fascinating how, in one form or another, almost every road and every subject seems to lead back to race and racism, either explicitly or impliedly, with regard to the underlying dynamics involved. See, for example, my essay from yesterday about the defeat of the immigration bill: "The Triumph of Racism."

From the Sojourners/Call to Renewal forum last week:
O'BRIEN: Do you think homosexuals have the right to be married?

EDWARDS: No. Not personally. Now you're asking about me personally. But I think there's a difference between my belief system and what the responsibilities of the president of the United States are. It is the reason we have separation of church and state. And there are very good people, including some people that I'm very close to me, my daughter who is sitting in the front row here tonight, feels very differently about this issue. And I have huge respect for those who have a different view about this.
Thank you so much, John. I'm delighted to hear "there are very good people" who "have a different view about this," and that you "have huge respect" for them. You know what you can do with your ignorant, arrogant condescension, pal.

As I wrote several months ago, in "We Are Not Freaks"
It is one thing to be openly hated and despised, as gays and lesbians are by many on the right. We're used to that, and we got used to it a long time ago. As was required, we manufactured intellectual and emotional armor to protect ourselves. In the current climate, we have to put it on every single damned day. It weighs a great deal, and it exacts an awful price. But without it, we would suffer injuries too grievous to be borne.

But how much worse it is to be cajoled into taking off that armor -- to hear you tell us that you understand we're "just like you" in all the ways that matter, and that we're really "just the same" -- and then to read or hear about "how easy" you think it is to "make fun" of us, especially when our status as Freaks is too obvious. How much worse it is when we believe you, when you tell us you think we're all equal -- except that you can get married, while almost every leading Democrat will say, well, no, we can't get married. But we can have "civil unions." Because, you see, Freaks don't get married.
The forum goes on:
EDWARDS: So I think we have to be very careful about ensuring that the president of the United States is not using his belief system and imposing that belief system on the rest of the country. So what that...

O'BRIEN: But if it's...

EDWARDS: So what that -- I'm sorry. All I was going to say is I think what that means in this case is the substantive rights that go with partnerships, civil unions, for example, and all the subsequent rights that go with that, should be recognized in this country, at least in my judgment, should be recognized. And I think it is not the role of the federal government to tell either faith-based institutions, churches, synagogues, what they should or should not recognize. Nor should the federal government be telling states what they should recognize.
Hey, you hear that, states? If you want to make sure those purty white daughters of yours don't marry none of them filthy niggers, you can just outright prohibit it, if good ol' John has his way! Ah, the good old days. Take us back, John! Take us back!

Which brings us to this essay, which I recommend you read in its entirety. Among other things, I was very struck by certain parallels between what Ms. Moore writes and what I described in the "Freaks" article. Ms. Moore concludes as follows:
I no longer resist the fact that I live in a racist world, in a racist society, in a racist city and a racist neighborhood. I spend my money in racist stores and attend racist classes. White doctors, teachers, service people, firemen, policemen and clergy are racist. I don’t care how many of us are here or how much money we are making or how many of us are graduating from how many colleges. When whites are born into this society, they know inherently that they are superior to all third world people, and especially to blacks. No matter what negative condition they find themselves in, they are still superior to blacks. And some blame blacks for their negative condition. Liberal whites decide just how much slack they will cut us, and then assume we should not only be grateful, but also friendly. I have never met and probably will never meet a white who believes himself racist. He will tell me about his racist mother or his racist brother-in-law or his racist neighbor, but not him. Rather than to accept the fact that I might be equal, or maybe even better, white people have told me that I’m "not really black".

This situation will never, never improve until whites can admit to themselves that they are by definition and innately racist. They should identify as closely with their racism as they identify with their gender. If you are born white, you are born racist. Blacks like me become racist in defense. Identify that you are racist and, recognizing yourselves as such, you can check yourselves. Blacks do not want your love. Your like isn’t even important. And your understanding is not necessary. We don’t even care whether or not you smile at us. What we do want is that you not stand in our way. What we do want is equal justice by law, no favors. And just for the record, affirmative action is just that, not a favor.

Thirty years ago, in a fit of panic and pseudo-generosity prompted by fear, the white power structure admitted blacks, almost indiscriminately, to some schools and some jobs. Since this action was indiscriminate, many blacks failed. At which point the whites sat back and said, "See! We gave them a chance and they failed." And that was the end of it. So now it’s cut welfare, cut the quota system, beat ‘em up and throw ‘em in jail.

It will take years of exposure for the rest of the United States of America to fully realize what a monstrous thing American racism is. And all during this time one proceeds quite naturally with one’s life dealing with racism on a day-to-day basis, too overwhelmed by the monstrosity of it ever to be able to get up on a soap-box screaming in rage. And as the realization slowly inches its way into the consciousness, the surprise, the hurt and then the rage take over. How many times must one silently, but clearly, be called "nigger" before it finally sinks in? And if one is to be a nigger, then one had better track down the meaning of this negritude.

My particular racism is my particular experience. I’ve never written about it before for two reasons: I wasn’t sure I was black enough to discuss it with blacks, and it does no good to discuss it with whites.
Read the complete article.

In the "Freaks" piece, I said:
Speaking for myself with regard to these issues, I don't want you to "understand" me or to be "tolerant" of me. I don't want you to "study" me, and try to graph all the various points of similarity and difference between us: I want you to recognize that I am completely and entirely a human being, just as you are. And I want you to understand fully what that means, and to genuinely mean it.
The sad, pathetic truth is that many of you, and this goes double for many "well-intentioned" liberals since they resist the truth even more, so convinced are they of their own enlightenment, are just not comfortable with faggots and niggers. You don't actually believe we're "just like you."

So admit it. Admit that you don't. I won't lie and tell you it will make you feel better. It won't; it will make you feel worse, as it should. But it's the truth, and the truth is the necessary place to start.

In the meantime, to paraphrase Ms. Moore: Get the hell out of our way.