I won’t lie. I know I’m a terrible person for saying this…
I’m deriving no small amount of joy in watching the racially motivated civic unrest in America. Mostly I say this because all of it seems to be occurring above the Mason-Dixon line.
Not Daryl Dixon you schmuck.
I was born and raised and lived my entire life in what basically lay below the line denoted by the Missouri Compromise…for the historically illiterate, that means “The South.” Yep. The drawlin’, ‘baccy chawin, cousin humping, KKK lovin, barefoot, poor, ignorant South. It often shocks people when I tell them that I’m a Southerner since I don’t have a heavy accent, use big words, and am not racist, homophobic, Republican, or even an Evangelical Protestant.
I’m actually a bisexual, transgender, former Catholic, Progressive, egalitarian from the DEEP South. Like there are parts of the South that I’m scared to go because it’s so backwoods redneck.
I’ve seen this guy before….regularly.
I’ll be honest with you. Yes, the South has racists. Lots of them. I don’t think you’ll ever meet a Southerner who won’t admit that. The South IS racist. But let’s be really honest. So is everywhere else in the country.
You see, the type of racism that you think of when you think of the South is that blatant racism, the in your face type.
Yes, this is a real t-shirt. And yes, I have seen someone wearing it boldly and proudly in public. To be fair, it was a rural dirt track…
Over the years, I have had to deal with that legacy as a Southerner. I would meet people from the North, the West Coast, etc., and I would be asked straight up, “You guys still lynch people down there don’t you?” I have read book after book about American history, and all of them keep mentioning the racism of the South; slavery, Jim Crowe, Segregation, Plessy vs. Ferguson, on and on. The South is defined by it’s racist legacy. Mostly because we’re always reminded of it. When comedians want to sound like a racist, no matter what part of the country the person is from, they put on an ignorant “Southern Accent.” As I said, yes, the South does have its racists, and we have a history of racism that we will never escape, but it honestly not that fair.
You see, those fancy textile mills of New England were fueled by slave picked cotton. Without question, the American Industrial Revolution was financed by that slave harvested cotton. The money that financed those factories was backed up by money made through slavery. Many of the largest banks in America such as J.P. Morgan Chase, Bank of America, etc. were formed from banks that gladly took money from those slave owners. Insurance companies like AIG and Aetna were formed from companies that insured slave owners property…i.e. slaves. Not just the South, but all of America was built on slavery. Sure places up North abolished slavery well before the Civil War, but as late as 1850, states like Indiana said that black children were not fit to be educated in the same schools as white children.
“But that’s the past,” you say.
Yeah, yeah it was, so get off our back then. But let’s keep this going…
Guess the 10 most segregated cities in America? Atlanta? Birmingham? Memphis? Nope. All but one are “Northern Cities” The city that has the most blatantly racially motivated profiling? New York City. A 2012 poll said that 57% of white New Yorkers had no problem with it. I don’t doubt for one second that if the Chief of Police of Birmingham, Alabama even had a passing thought of instiuting a “Stop and Frisk” system in his city he would be called a racist by the white public media….AND HE’S BLACK! I hate to use Wikipedia, but it seems that most of the race riots since 1980 in the U.S. weren’t in the South. For as hippie liberal as California likes to pretend that it is, and we all jerk ourselves off about, between Rodney King, Fruitvale, and the passage of that Gay Marriage Ban….well, California…hell every one but the South being called liberal….
I’m only scraping the scum off the top here. We won’t get into the Zoot Suit Riots of the 1940’s, the race riots in the North during the Civil Rights movements, the fact that at one time 30% of all white males in Indiana were members of the KKK (even electing a member Governor), there were Klansmen who were in city government in places like Maine, the Klan had a resort in New Jersey, the fact that New York state and California are home to some of the most dangerous White Supremacist groups in the country…
You see, up North and out West, you white folk have had the ability to say, “Oh, but they don’t represent us, we’re not ALL like that…” Meanwhile your cities are being rocked by protests where racial minorities have had enough of the police brutality, the economic segregation and white flight, the “NIMBY” nature of your lives. Yankee Racism isn’t that in your face racism like you think all Southerners have. Yours in more insidious. It’s that de facto segregation, you have from all your White Flight. Do any of you remember all that outrage about Mandatory Bussing? Where you were forced to let all those poor black kids come to your fancy all white schools to give them a fair chance? All those neighborhoods that quickly lose their value the minute a black family moves in?
Yeah, you guys are racists too. You don’t actively go out and try to suppress racial minorities, you just don’t want them living near you, working near you (unless they’re mopping your floors or trimming your hedges), or dating your daughters. That is almost even more dispicable than that KKK style racism you get down South, because you can at least point a finger at it and say, “Yep, that’s racism!”
Instead you hide behind bootstraps and “I don’t mind blacks, I just don’t like black culture.” You get nervous when you’re the only white person on the subway with some black teenagers, you wonder who that strange brown guy in your gated community is. You don’t call them “niggers” but you sure will call them “urban” or “thugs”. But it’s cool…you have a black friend (that you’ve never hung out with outside of work) You can say it’s about economics, culture, or crime, but it’s still rooted in racism. You’re just a different type of racist.
That’s why I’m enjoying this. All the fretting by New England and West Coast limousine liberals, bohemian bourgeois, and so forth about race. It’s hilarious to see them come to realize that racism didn’t end in 1965, that it’s alive and well and threatening their gentrified neighborhoods. As a famous black man once said…”Welcome to the real world.”
You know the only difference between a racist Yankee and a racist Southerner? The Southerner doesn’t check for black people before telling a racist joke.