I met a guy today; he’d just moved to South Carolina from Lansing and saw my Detroit tee shirt. I was waiting for service at a small engine repair shop in Charleston. He decided to strike up a conversation. He said, “I left my job in Michigan because my ex-boss’s wife was smokin’ hot. Too bad she was a nigger. But I’m not a racist.”
I looked away, hoping he’d get the message that I wasn’t interested in listening any further. He followed me, saying, “I just think the races should be separate. I’m for purity, but I’m not a racist.” I looked away again; I was speechless. He kept talking. “I once had a dog who was real smart even though I didn’t train her at all. Where we come from means somethin.’ ‘Course that’s just my opinion. But I’m not a racist.” I began to feel sick, violated. I just wanted to get away.
He kept going. “And we got them on welfare with Obama phones. But I’m not racist.”
Finally I said, “if you’re not a racist, who is?”
He looked at me square in the eye and said, “niggers and Liberals.” And he meant it. Finally, I managed to get away from this scumbag, climbing into the comfort of my own car, safe in my little cocoon, putting as much distance between us as possible.
As I drove I began to ponder. I have spoken with many conservatives who would never admit to agreeing with this man. Yet they believe it is the blacks who are the problem and the Liberals who are racists for wanting to spend their hard-earned tax dollars enabling black people’s laziness by keeping them on welfare, and other similar conservative talking points, supported not by facts but by fear. But they are never racists. Liberals are.
And you know, maybe they have a point. After all, I walked away from this man, hoping and trusting that he and his kind might one day drown in the vitriol of their own hatred. I felt anger, disgust, judgment, but I did not speak out. Now I am shaken and physically sick from the encounter.
So am I a racist? Perhaps the question really should be, “how and when did being race conscious, fighting for equal opportunity for all beings, become racism?” And, more to the point, “how can we stand by and let this Orwellian doublethink continue?”
Today I was silent in the face of hatred. Then I realized it was the ideas expressed by this individual that are the real enemy. He is only a mindless cog, being manipulated by much more powerful forces; he is being systematically programmed to elicit hate and generate fear. My fight is not with him, but with those who would inspire him, who would raise his banner. Ours is a mighty, difficult quest, because it is a war of ideas that cannot be won with guns or money. It is a righteous cause and the consequences of losing are too dire to ignore. So fight we must.
Yes, I am an angry Liberal, but I am not a racist.