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.