I’m sitting in Arby’s with the recalcitrant brother trying to convince him that, when asked why he ever got together with my sister-in-law, the only explanation that’s ever going to make any sense is that he was on drugs. He claims he wasn’t. I don’t believe it, one, and two, I just can’t believe it.
Who dates a crack whore unless he’s on crack?
Anyway, he was laughing about how his black friends make fun of him because he’s only got two kids. And then he was telling me how he had to lecture one of the guys on the job about using the word nigger, saying that it wasn’t cool and he didn’t like it and he wasn’t brought up that way.
As many of you know, my brother owes his continued existence to America’s most famous domestic terrorist group. Granted, it’s probably one of the lazier, least philosophically consistent branches of this particular hate group, but there’s robes in closets of houses I refuse to visit, and for me, that’s what counts.
It’s got me thinking about what constitutes racism. Sometimes, I think that most folks think that racism is some kind of meeting of the heart and mind–you hate someone because of what race they are and you act on it. You might get most people to concede that hating someone because of what race they are is racist.
But is making a joke at the expense of someone’s race racist? What if you make fun of whatever makes anyone different from how “normal” people are? I would argue that that is racist–not because it’s overtly and intentionally harmful, but because it assumes that white people are what’s “normal.”
I think that a lot of folks kind of subconsciously draw a big line between “I hate and wish that person harm because he’s different than me” and “I like my own kind best.” I think that line’s really fuzzy, in practice.
I don’t know. I can’t figure out where I was going with this.
I may have lost the ability to make coherent posts.
Here’s what I want to know: what does it mean that the recalcitrant brother both stands up against racism when he sees it and that he lets the Klan babysit my nephews? Am I a bitch for refusing to visit the Klan, even though they are the family of one of my nephews? I think so, but I’m not sure. Is loyalty to my belief that acting like a monumental asshole who, at the least, supports violence and murder based on fluke of birth is wrong more important than making an effort to have some larger role in the life of my nephew, a role that might positively counteract the bullshit he’s being served at home?
I don’t know. I don’t have any real answers. It kind of makes me want to throw up a little just trying to figure out what the questions are.