Blinded by the white

The parental kidnapping story that started in North Yarmouth, Maine, and ended in Salem, New Hampshire continues to unfold, and finally a reason for the parents’ alleged action — taking their 19-year-old daughter by force to get an abortion in Massachusetts or New York — is starting to emerge.

An incredibly stupid, ignorant, and hateful reason, but a reason nonetheless.

It seems that they didn’t approve of the girl’s choice of boyfriends. It seems she had the gumption to get knocked up by a black guy.

I’m ashamed to admit that there’s a streak of racism in northern New England. When I grew up, I had a drunken family member proclaim Dionne Warwick as “a good singer for a darkie.” I had an elderly neighbor who used to yell at his TV whenever one of those “jigaboos” won on The Price Is Right or some other game show. But for the most part, it’s largely a genteel, impersonal racism — they don’t wish any ill on black people, but they just don’t want to deal with the whole issue. And the fact that the Northern New England states (Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine) are very homogenous white states makes that an easy attitude to maintain.

While I’m on the subject of racism, a couple of people questioned why I used such inflammatory, racist language in the first part of “The White Man’s Burden.” To answer them, yes, it was a deliberate choice on my part. The United States was a racist society at that point, and our anger towards the Japanese was fueled, in part, by the sense of racial superiority that had been challenged by their very successful attack at Pearl Harbor. We’d denigrated them, mocked them, and looked down on them for decades, and suddenly they were showing that not only might they be our equals, but perhaps even our superiors — they had hit us, hit us hard, and it was several months before we even began to fight back successfully. There was a lot of anger over that, and I thought the best way to convey that outrage was to use some of the language and terminology that was in common usage at the time.

That people questioned it didn’t surprise me. I expected it; in fact, I was hoping for it. But what did surprise me is that no one is calling me racist or sexist on titling the entire series “The White Man’s Burden” — a title that should be explained on Thursday.

How To Pay For Those "Tax Cuts For The Rich"
The President's Address To The U.N.

23 Comments

  1. Parker September 19, 2006
  2. B's Freak September 19, 2006
  3. cirby September 19, 2006
  4. Georgie Boy September 19, 2006
  5. Muslim Unity September 19, 2006
  6. JohnAnnArbor September 19, 2006
  7. cirby September 19, 2006
  8. GeminiChuck September 19, 2006
  9. HeritageNOThate September 19, 2006
  10. nihilistic_disintegration September 19, 2006
  11. JohnAnnArbor September 19, 2006
  12. cirby September 19, 2006
  13. GeminiChuck September 19, 2006
  14. Xennady September 19, 2006
  15. field-negro September 19, 2006
  16. cirby September 19, 2006
  17. JohnAnnArbor September 19, 2006
  18. Daniel September 19, 2006
  19. James Cloninger September 20, 2006
  20. Candy September 20, 2006
  21. Duncan Avatar September 20, 2006
  22. Robert September 20, 2006
  23. cirby September 20, 2006