Monday, June 29, 2015

What Racists Feel

I have lived in  South Carolina now for ten years.  Exactly.  Well, ten years and two days, to be exactly exact.

Even after ten years, I still have feelings for people wearing camouflage in non-hunting, non-military situations [which, as a non-hunter and not in the military, these are the only situations in which I would encounter people wearing camouflage prior to moving here].    I can exclude here people under the age of - well, let's say ten.  People under the age of ten are excluded.

Everyone else, however, I don't know if its my brain or my gut or both that just draw these wildly uncharitable thoughts about these people.  
"Are you so [explicative] stupid that you don't know I'm not a [explicative] deer, and that there are no trees in this [explicative] building we're all in?  That means I can see you.  You know that, don't you? [explicative]" 
"What, exactly are you trying to hide from?"   
"So, you're the hunter, and I'm the pray.  Ok.  I get it.  Stay away from Mr. Toughguy.  Message received. [explicative, explicative]" 
"Do you not have anyone in your life who loves you enough to tell you that you're not ten, and you're not hunting, this isn't [explicative] Halloween and we're not at war (at least here) and therefore, you look like a [explicative] idiot wearing army/hunter dress up clothes?"
Yes, my friends, these are the things that go through my mind and my gut when I see someone over the age of ten wearing camouflage.  Even just a hat.  All of this comes with no training, nobody ever told me to feel this way about people wearing camouflage.  I just do, even though I feel guilt bordering on shame when I feel these feelings.  I make huge judgements on their character and intelligence even though my only interaction with them is that I happened to see them and they happened to be wearing camouflage.

Imagine if the people you loved told you to hate another group of people in just that same way.  The color of their skin instead of the color of their hat.  

I feel my guilt every time my gut stirs on seeing camouflage.  Imagine if instead of guilt, I felt pride.  Pride because my clan had taught me to hate people who wear camouflage - hate to the point of killing them and that it was not only OK, but just and righteous to rid the world of these camouflage-wearing drains on society.

We had a lynching again this spring.  It was in Mississippi.  The news didn't call it that.  They said that a "black man was found hung in a tree".  Whatever.  It was a lynching.

If I want to, but can't shake my gut's reaction to camouflage, how can we even hope that racism will disappear from clans trained take their racism as a source of pride?

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