Roses are red, violets are blue, America is full of racists, what else is new?
That was my initial feeling when recently greeted by two videos floating around Al Gore’s Internet featuring two separate instances of overt racism. The other was curiosity over how that loud mouth woman in Walmart or that wheelchair-bound man who reminded me of Lieutenant Dan in Forrest Gump managed to hurl racial epithets and other strains of abusive language without catching a fade.
I’m in awe of how these folks just stand there and allow themselves to be verbally abused in this manner. Granted, the rent is high and the bail may be for assault, but my God. This is not so much a co-sign of violence than confusion over how people could just stand there and be berated (or have something thrown at them). I would love to learn such patience. Or is that masochism? Please advise.
Since each of those clips has gone viral, I’ve wondered if the intent behind the filming of each incident—exposure of racism in an effort to inform, or better yet, shame—may be an exercise in futility. There are some obvious cases in which such videos remain purposeful. Say, when a person is in a position of power (be it a school administrator, or a retail employee harassing customers) helping speed that bigoted employee’s journey to unemployment. Or anything related to law enforcement and their abuse of power.
In other cases, though, is this recording and sharing of their racist hate not giving them exactly what they want? What these videos share in similarity is that they each offer a racist looking directly into the camera and being racist. It’s not totally unlike those terrorists who actually court fame by committing acts of monstrosity.
When the president of the United States of America is an unabashed bigot who seeks counsel from avowed white nationalists and never feels compelled to speak out against hate crimes, aren’t those people now more emboldened than ever to follow his lead? Couple that with the insatiable need for content both in cable news and online media, all these people do is end up with the sort of infamy they more than likely covet.
They are not ashamed of the way they feel and it’s evident whenever you point a phone in their face and their prejudices are echoed with an even louder volume. You’re not going to change their mind. There is no way to make them feel bad for the hatred in their hearts. So why bother?
Perhaps it’s shocking for some to encounter that degree of racism, spurring them to turn on their phones and hit record. Still, it’s not an anomaly, it’s America. I increasingly wonder if week after week of sharing bigots being bigots online and these people subsequently appearing on local news, CNN and on late night TV does much in curbing that very problem.
Mariah Carey once sang, “Ain’t gon’ feed ya, I’mma let ya starve.” I think that approach to dealing with those types may be better than giving them the attention they so desperately want. That is, after you tell them to fuck off, choke on their stupid, and fall genitalia first into the fieriest pit of hell, and continue your grocery shopping in peace.