Friday, November 21, 2008

Do Racists Know They're Racists?

I don't know if I can word this quite the way I intend. What I've been mulling over a lot lately is the relationship that hard-core racists, those who aggressively and vocally express their hatred for non-white people using words that would make many of the rest of us blush, have with the word "racist."

Do they feel misunderstood if someone uses that word in relationship to them? (As in, I'm not a racist. I'm just right.)

Do they embrace the word as a badge of honor?

If they don't own the word, what, exactly, do they think a racist is?

I have a reason for thinking about this. My daughter is currently dealing with a racist in her life, a family member, who, during election season, tried to fill her ears with scare tactics regarding putting a you-know-what in the White House. She told him to cut it out; she didn't want to hear it. This person almost lost his job because he would not shut up around his coworkers during the election (although I don't think the n-word was actually used in the workplace -- just a lot of badgering). Now that the you-know-what is heading to the White House and my daughter put a stop to all the n----r talk, this person continues to pester my daughter by redirecting his passion toward all of the President-elect's non-pigment-related flaws, whatever they might be.

My daughter does not have the option of dropping this person from her life, and I'll leave it at that.

Again, I wonder what this person's relationship to the word "racist" is -- badge of honor? Or insult?

I don't want to get close enough to ask, frankly.


kkryno said...

Don't you just hate it when someone like that doesn't at least get the fact that you don't want to hear that filth; that you insist they refrain from it while in your presence? I really am of the opinion that a person with such deep-seated hatred for others whom they feel are inferior to them may just be a lost cause. People that far gone don't seem to respect the right and opinions of others because; as you said, they feel they indeed "ARE just right."

Bitty said...

I agree -- this kind of person is a lost cause. Only an extreme amount of reason gets through (shut up or you're fired), and that doesn't change the racist's mind -- only his behavior.

Bee said...

I've wondered about this question a lot. No answers, though.