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"Not Racist."

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Common People - William Shatner feat. Joe Jackson (mp3)
Tennessee - Arrested Development (mp3)

Some serious bitch of a lady has written a piece on “Hipster Racism” over at Jezebel.com. It’s received some 96,000 Likes on Facebook.

I call her a “bitch” not because I am a sexist ass clown, and not because she’s a bad person, but rather because she, in a single column, opines repeatedly in ways that would lend one no other conclusion than that Lindy West must be a bitch.

Today I’m taking off my PC badge and placing it on the sink. I’m Sergeant Hulka, and it’s time to kick some whiny white opinionated butt.

The very first published sentence I ever wrote was a confession that I was a racist, sexist, homophobic white male. It was true in 1993, and it is true in 2012. I wish it weren’t. Every day I go to bed hoping I am fighting the good fight and being a better person in matters of discrimination and prejudice, but I never wake up the next morning thinking I’m clean or faultless.

Look in the mirror. Are you white? Then as your doctor, I have some bad news for you: You’re racist, too. White men are born like alcoholics and cancer survivors. Racism and sexism courses through us like carbon dioxide.

It’s not a terminal illness, but it’s nothing you can completely cure. The best we can hope for is to be in remission, to be on the wagon.  We can all work, every day, the rest of our lives, to be less racist than we are today, and our children can improve upon our efforts.

Ms. West, a woman about whom I know 0.04% of nothing, is a bitch because she is snarky and over-the-top superior as she compiles the many ways white people are capable of being racist while believing themselves not racist.

Ms. West is incredibly gifted at acknowledging and damning the syrupy ironic sarcasm in others whilst spewing out gallons of it herself. Ms. West thinks she’s the Dexter of hipster racists. Because she’s out there stabbing the really obnoxious ones, she is a more noble kind of serial killer.

Maybe she doesn’t fall into any of the traps she mocks or identifies, but that doesn’t render her some white queen of blameless behavior or thought. She is the KONY2012 of hipster racism, and I just don't think she deserves to be an unscrutinized heroine.

On our last trip to New Orleans, my three middle-aged white cohorts and myself came up with a fun new game. It was inspired by the time-honored tradition of adding the words “in bed” or “between the sheets” at the end of all fortune cookie fortunes.

Somehow -- and I don’t remember the specific moment -- we realized that you could include the words “Not racist” at the end of virtually anything you or someone else ever said and instantly make it seem like a racist comment.

“God I’m starving. When do we eat? Not racist.”
“That is the best gin and tonic I’ve ever had. Not racist.”
“What time did you wake up today? Not racist.”

Is this game some hipster ironic smug version of racism? Frankly, I don’t know or care. It’s funny. It’s especially funny if you play it in an elevator with lots of other uncomfortable white people who don’t know the game.

Seriously, it’s funny. Not racist.

It’s even bolder if you play the game with them and they don’t know it. Except it might get your ass kicked, because white people don’t like being called racists.

Not even redneck mega-racists from mega-racist Mississippi like being called racists. Even their black friends defend them and all of the vomit-inducing things they do for racist amusement. To read this Newsweek report after reading Lindy West’s column just makes me more disgusted with m'lady.

She can argue that my mere reaction -- that I find it more horrifying that punk rednecks in Mississippi are running over black men than the depiction of "slumming" in Lush's "Common People" -- makes me racist. Hell, maybe it does. Maybe Zoey Deschanel really is more dangerous to the future of unity and world peace than violent drunken hate-spewing Southerners.

Ms. West seems to have created her own expertise on What Is Funny and What Is Racist, and she seems comfortable insinuating that she is (a) Totally Funny and (b) Totally Not Racist Like All You Asshole Hipster Racists. All of which seems to be, intentionally or not, pointing to how much more Not Racist she is than her idiot hipster white brothers and sisters.

At best, Ms. West, you’re better by a teensy matter of degrees. So long as you’ve got a melanin level on par with mine, and so long as you grew up in a family of white people, you’ve got it, honey. You’re racist, too. So get down here and help dig us out of this mess, or shut your smug ass up.

Not racist.

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