My Mixed Feelings About “That” Word

Sign for "colored" waiting room at a...

Sign for “colored” waiting room at a Greyhound bus terminal in Rome, Georgia, 1943. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This has been a difficult weekend. We started with a horrible tragedy and moved through two days of arguing about how such events can be averted. On Friday we mourned, on Saturday we were lost, confused and angry, and on Sunday we completely lost our minds, as witnessed by the comments highlighted in this post.
Leaving aside the continuing argument over gun control, or better mental health awareness, I will never get the sheer magnitude of the invective leveled at our 44th President by self-described conservatives. Until this weekend he has not actually pursued gun control (despite what those who completely misunderstand the UN’s small arms treaty think.) Regardless of his reproductive-choice rhetoric he allowed his head of Health and Human Services to nix having Plan B contraception over the counter. He started at the compromise position in the health care debate and ended up with the Republican plan for health care reform. By any measure he has been significantly to the right of any Democratic President in any living American’s lifetime. Yet they seem to hate him so much more than any of those others and refuse to acknowledge their reason for it. Which is why the hateful word used in the above link is actually somewhat refreshing.
Please do not mistake me. That word twists knots in my stomach. I loathe even thinking about it, much less reading or hearing it. There is so much ugliness in its history and use. Still, I am glad they are finally coming out and using it. This is not some first amendment rights rant, by the way. Yes I will argue they have the legal right to use it, just as we have the right to call them scum for doing so. I will also argue they do not have the moral right to do so, which is entirely different. Being bereft of a moral right does not mean you cannot do it, it means you cannot do it and be considered a decent human being. No, I am glad for an entirely different reason.
So many of these people the past few decades have been in hiding, until we elected a black President. Slowly but surely they’ve been poking their heads out, but all the while still maintaining that they aren’t racist. I hear family express concern about my living around “those” people. I see the President in white face, or watermelons in the foreground of the White House in protest signs. Finally I have to read comments claiming that this person or that have seen people on welfare driving Cadillacs.
Never mind the very real issue of people losing their jobs after paying for said Cadillac, how did you know the person was on welfare? Please, tell me, what clairvoyant powers led you to this truth about a stranger? What evidence was there? What was it about this person that made it absolutely clear to you that they just had to be on welfare? Say it! Tell me! Say that fucking word! Show the courage of your fucked up convictions!
Despite what people on the Left used to want to believe, and what those on the Right so desperately want to convince people of, we do not live in a post racial America. If nothing else, the election of our first non-white President has forced us to come face to face with that. These privileged tools are so outraged that a black man sits in the highest office in the land that they can no longer hide behind their coded language. It is so offensive to their sensibilities, so outside their warped values, that they must tell us what they think of him and, in using that poisonous word, every other PoC in the country. It is sick and saddening that these people still exist in America, but at least we know who they are, at least we can no longer keep our heads in the sand.

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3 thoughts on “My Mixed Feelings About “That” Word

  1. Pingback: Whose Dream Is It Anyway? « Hand of Ananke

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