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Last week, the Salina County Commission in Kansas was debating hiring an architect to improve a county building. Republican Commissioner im Gile - cost-conscious as any good conservative is - suggested that maybe they could avoid that by just "n****-rigging it".

Some laughs. Some gasps. And when one attendee asked what he meant by that, he answered - I kid you not - "Afro-Americanized".

Not surprisingly, there are calls around the county for him to resign. Probably also not surprisingly, Gile is resisting.

"I am not a prejudiced person," he told the Salina Journal. "I have built Habitat homes for colored people."

No, I'm not kidding. This is not snark. He said that. As a defense.

On the one hand, this is a quick laugh of a story. On another, it's a needle to poke the "rebranding" of the GOP. But I also see something else - a complex mix of history and change and failure and hope.

Read on . . .

I am a child of the South, in a big way. My maternal grandmother spent her hours on the front porch with old black women, sewing and drinking tea and - depending on what you believe - working a little old-style magic. My paternal grandfather was a police detective and an officer of some rank in the Ku Klux Klan. I grew up steeped in the complex Southern life of racism and the odd counter-current of interconnectedness that crossed color lines.

Yes, there was racism. But there were also color-blind friendships. It's hard to elucidate the swirling currents of that culture - especially at the bottom rungs, where white and black mingled via economic destiny - and the hundred ways they pushed us together and apart. It's hard to redraw the stereotypes you may have in your head and replace the caricatures of racist Southern whites.

But the fact of it is this: I knew a lot of good people that used Gile's term of art - including my dad, who wouldn't think twice about helping anyone of any color, even as he dropped n-words in casual speech without a thought. I knew real racists, and I knew decent people who treated everyone the same, but expressed the differences between people (real and imagined) in the terms they learned as children. I knew people who traveled back and forth on that spectrum, and people who never let a racist word drop by their lips, or gave the smallest sign that they subscribed to any prejudice - and some of those latter were good people, and some of them were ruthless fucks no sane person would turn their back on.

Like I said, complex.

That background means I can forgive someone like Giles dropping an offensive term from his childhood. It means I can see his "colored people" follow-up as just kind of a sad joke, just an old man that doesn't quite know what world he's in today.

But I can't forgive a party that still puts guys like Giles, whatever his good points, on a County Commission. My dad was a good guy - widely loved - but even if he hadn't died over thirty years ago, I wouldn't want to see him filling a seat on any public body in 2013. The way he thought, the way he saw the world - regardless of his character, his heart, his spirit - did not belong to this century.

Our lives are short. Rare exceptions aside, the fact is most people can only change so much in their lifetime. The residuals, the flotsam of our native eras, cling to us all the days of our lives. We can shake off a lot of it, but I'm not sure how much.

A part of me will always be of the South, in that era of the 70's and 80's. And a part of my dad would always have been of the South of the 30's and 40's.

We are what we are. That's why generations come in, one after another, like waves. Each new wave takes the torch and carries us forward a bit more, carries us forward past the point that last generation could have reached.

The GOP, for all their rebranding - or talk of rebranding - have still kept that torch in the hands of a past generation, of people who don't feel, don't see, don't understand the world they actually live in, versus the world they remember.

Commissioner Gile's comment is a punch-line; that Giles is still the kind of person Republicans elect to lead them is a eulogy.

Originally posted to Dark Armadillos of the Soul on Tue Apr 09, 2013 at 01:56 PM PDT.

Also republished by Kansas & Missouri Kossacks and Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Alms (209+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bob Love, some other george, econlibVA, mommyof3, jrooth, David54, howabout, Stuart Heady, SilentBrook, jennyp, samoashark, avsp, mookins, Alexandra Lynch, Dem Beans, Tonedevil, viral, arizonablue, Chaddiwicker, salmo, gramofsam1, Diana in NoVa, Rizzo, palantir, Dogs are fuzzy, not a lamb, Sam Sara, TheDuckManCometh, Nova Land, Spider Jerusalem, Mad Season, karmsy, whoknu, rja, ksuwildkat, MaryinHammondsport, CentristandProud, leftykook, Tinfoil Hat, Aaa T Tudeattack, deminva, RonV, Oh Mary Oh, slowbutsure, Simul Iustus et Peccator, TrueBlueMajority, ColoTim, Blazehawkins, aitchdee, copymark, tmservo433, NYC Sophia, Joieau, mumtaznepal, Whatithink, kathny, Dewstino, loggersbrat, OregonOak, Cassandra Waites, bigjacbigjacbigjac, 88kathy, paradise50, gizmo59, hooktool, JDWolverton, Dbug, chocoholic, Troubadour, lineatus, Shockwave, Regina in a Sears Kit House, 207wickedgood, kyril, roadbear, Flying Goat, kurt, ozsea1, J Orygun, pgm 01, RudiB, MikePhoenix, radarlady, mkoz, Joy of Fishes, Calamity Jean, cspivey, rodentrancher, Creosote, OleHippieChick, DarthMeow504, Hatrax, Blue Bell Bookworm, akze29, IreneNC, Mayfly, Rogneid, Kristina40, The Geogre, not4morewars, JayC, oortdust, Moravan, rivamer, majcmb1, zbob, stlsophos, The Pollster, stevie avebury, cececville, wonmug, fisheye, citizen dan, here4tehbeer, Foothills of Oblivion, Pilotshark, verdeo, TheGreatLeapForward, tommymet, ms badger, high uintas, thomask, Youffraita, mkfarkus, Noisy Democrat, tom 47, Miles, eeff, Habitat Vic, dannyboy1, Arahahex, RainyDay, Haf2Read, MaryCh, FindingMyVoice, niterobin, Witgren, Massconfusion, alswearingen, mjfgates, jediwashuu, OllieGarkey, HoofheartedBC, papercut, tommyfocus2003, texasmom, catfishbob, Pariah Dog, annan, MBNYC, Oaktown Girl, DrLori, Raynfala, Ree Zen, NearlyNormal, Senor Unoball, JayBat, MrLiberal, BlueOak, Chas 981, SusiesPurl, jhop7, Batya the Toon, bartcopfan, malharden, Mickquinas, BlueEyed In NC, I am a Patriot, emperor nobody, sagesource, Halfton81, sow hat, home solar, knitwithpurpose, pragmaticidealist, alx9090, Gowrie Gal, blueoasis, redcedar, Sharoney, amygdalavet, Teknocore, chemborg, citylights, GearRatio, elginblt, AnotherMassachusettsLiberal, Hoghead99, JBL55, lostboyjim, leeleedee, shesaid, Lujane, defndr, Penny GC, maybeeso in michigan, vickijean, Buckeye Nut Schell, Kvetchnrelease, noemie maxwell, SanFernandoValleyMom, jack 1966, SuWho, leonard145b, glorificus, livingthedream, walkshills, figbash, sidnora

    Alms for the poor scribe.

    "We are buried beneath the weight of information, which is being confused with knowledge; quantity is being confused with abundance and wealth with happiness. We are monkeys with money and guns." - Tom Waits

    by Jaxpagan on Tue Apr 09, 2013 at 01:55:44 PM PDT

    •  I would double rec (15+ / 0-)

      for Tom Waits in your tagline. Outstanding!

      Did you ver notice how har it is totype accurately on an iPad?

      by RudiB on Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 12:48:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Well written and thoughtful. (12+ / 0-)

      I'm surprised it hasn't made the rec list.

      If there is no accountability for those who authorized torture, we can no longer say that we are a nation of laws, not men.

      by MikePhoenix on Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 12:55:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Thanks... (4+ / 0-)

      As someone who is both a southerner and a sociologist, I connected to this diary in so many ways.  Very thoughtful and well-written.

      "Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions." - Thomas Jefferson

      by Shinobi Mystic on Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 02:50:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Sorry if I Missed the Explanation (5+ / 0-)

      But can you explain to me what "n****-rigging" is supposed to even mean? I am not trying to get a rise out of you or be offensive; I honestly have never heard of it before.

      Someone posted that it is the same as jury-rigging, but it has to mean something more. Clearly, the term applies to some (negative?) stereotype of African-Americans, but I can't figure it out just from the context. Are African-Americans supposed to be good at improvising engineering solutions? Work for cheap? Figure out short-cuts? Deliver shoddy product?

      I'm closeted in circles that neither use nor tolerate this type of language, and I appreciate learning something new.

      •  It is the same (5+ / 0-)

        "jury-rigging" is quite old - 17th Century, I think - originating as a nautical term for a temporary or improvised repair. As to the other term, I can only say it was common in the old South, had largely the same usage (though a much more offensive meaning, as it implies that's how "they" do things).

        "We are buried beneath the weight of information, which is being confused with knowledge; quantity is being confused with abundance and wealth with happiness. We are monkeys with money and guns." - Tom Waits

        by Jaxpagan on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 03:14:07 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I was in the US Navy before... (3+ / 0-)

          I knew of any other word for it.  N-Rigging was as commonly used as any other term I knew of.  It was just what it was called.  I used the word all the time and no one at school, at home or any of the jobs I held before I went into the Navy would even hint that the word was offensive.  I simply didn't know any better.  

          Looking back, I should have known but you know what they say about hindsight.

          I empathize with the old guy because it does not appear that he could comprehend how that word would be offensive.  I knew a lot of good people who had no clue that they were racists.  Words like N*** were just vocabulary no different to them than calling someone an Italian or an Asian.  It may sound crazy to you and I but to them, it is all they have ever heard.

          However, no matter how much I empathize with him because of his ignorance, he does not need to be in a position of power over a community.  If he is so self unaware that he does not see that is wrong, he is not fit for office.  If my dad and grandfather were still alive though, he would be welcome to come over and have a barbeque with them because he would fit right in.

          "Perhaps the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not YET sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favour..."

          by Buckeye Nut Schell on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 09:16:00 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Jesus.... (16+ / 0-)

    I use the phrase jerry-rigging a lot (and as a sailboat owner, I DO it a lot too.  A LOT)...

    but he actually SAID this?  

    Wow...

    Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

    by Wisper on Tue Apr 09, 2013 at 02:23:20 PM PDT

  •  a linguistics sort of comment (8+ / 0-)

    This comment is not to be taken as defending Giles in the least, or people like him. But having said that--

    Words are just sounds that convey meanings. There are words (or actions), and then there are the meanings we give to them. These are two different things. And meanings can vary from person to person, and from region to region, and from era to era.

    I have personally heard people say "n--r" and "c--d" and knew full well that they didn't mean anything racist by them. It's just how they talked.

    And, in the context they were said, and by the people who heard those words, no racism was taken by the people who heard them spoken.

    Yet, having said that, sure, I absolutely get that these days considerate people don't use those words, because they could easily be taken as insulting. Meanings change over time, and words that in some other time, place, or context were innocent (or more innocent anyway) now, in our culture today, carry a different meaning.

    What am I saying here? Maybe something like, sure, the words spoken are important. But so is the meaning intended by the speaker. Sure, speakers need to be aware of how meanings will be heard. But sometimes they aren't.

    Shorter me: consider if it's only a reverse dogwhistle. Because sometimes that might be all it is.

    •  I was initially inclined (7+ / 0-)

      To feel the same way, but everything he followed it up with was more than just words.

      http://callatimeout.blogspot.com/ Jesus Loves You.

      by DAISHI on Tue Apr 09, 2013 at 04:13:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  To an extent (13+ / 0-)

      My grandmother, who was born in the 19teens and lived poor on a central-Virginia farm, said colored her whole life.  And on one level, she didn't mean anything by it: It was her term for people now more commonly called African American.  

      But on a deeper level, her use of colored was imbued by a complex web of racist sociological, economic, and pathological attitudes about African Americans.  Many of the same attitudes that inform a statement like That's very white of you.

      So I take to heart this diarist's points about a father who was a good man, but crippled by attitudes that belonged to an earlier century.  And I absolutely agree that the lion's share of opprobrium goes to the political party that sees fit to offer up these sorts of representatives.  These innocent outbursts -- they seem to come in waves, don't they!  Just a few weeks ago, we had that well-intentioned dim bulb in Alaska talking about wetbacks on his farm.  

      It's no different, on a certain level, than those tools Akin and Mourdock trying to calm frazzled nerves by explaining how God loves rape offspring, too.  Sigh

      An elected official who talks about nig-rigging a public building is precisely the sort of person who profoundly misses the rationale behind having incentives for government contracts with minority-owned businesses, or who thinks affirmative action is primarily a way of demonstrating bias against honest white folk.

      A 47% return on investment--that's pretty doggoned good!

      by deminva on Tue Apr 09, 2013 at 05:44:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I don't know if it can said who is good (4+ / 0-)

        or bad. We all need to recognized that we live in a world that needs to be repaired, and we all have a role to play in that work. The work is both to our own person, in our various communities and to the whole world. I hope that I may remain teachable.

        Did you ver notice how har it is totype accurately on an iPad?

        by RudiB on Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 01:10:16 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Well george, I disagree; (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bigjacbigjacbigjac

      words are not "just" anything.

      God bless our tinfoil hearts.

      by aitchdee on Tue Apr 09, 2013 at 06:19:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  This kind of talk doesn't just come (0+ / 0-)

      from one side or the other. The black side of my family who are from St. Louis refer to bald tires as Mexican tires. The Mexican side of my family took offense, then laughed and said they had their own phrases. It's all about who's on top of the pole, IMO.

      It is the goal of everyone to rise above doing this stuff. What the representative did was horrible, he wasn't making a casual remark, he knew what he was saying.

      "The scientific nature of the ordinary man is to go on out and do the best you can." John Prine

      by high uintas on Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 08:15:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Absolutely not (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      home solar, deePA

      Just because someone did not actively intend to be a racist does not mean that a white person saying the n-word is not performing a racist act. The very reason white people even used the word, and often still do, was because of white supremacy. They used the word because they could. Because they were in a position of power to say what they wanted, and no one would question them, even if the connotations of what they were saying was hateful and hurtful. Other white people would just give them a pass, often by saying, "They don't mean anything by it. That's just how they are."

      Going along with that was the deliberate blindness to their own color. This is quite common even today. A lot of white Americans are completely blind of their own color.

      So, yes, a white person saying that word is a racist act. Ignorance of history is no excuse. In fact, the very fact that someone could say it and then plead ignorance of the history is bigotry as well. James Baldwin called this kind of ignorance a crime, and I agree.

      Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

      by moviemeister76 on Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 02:28:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  We changed that term to "southern-engineering" (10+ / 0-)

    a few decades ago. It means fixing things without spending any money, basically, with whatever's handy.
    It's race neutral.

    You can't make this stuff up.

    by David54 on Tue Apr 09, 2013 at 02:29:35 PM PDT

    •  It's called Jury Rigging :P -nt (5+ / 0-)

      I think people should be allowed to do anything they want. We haven't tried that for a while. Maybe this time it'll work. -George Carlin

      by CentristandProud on Tue Apr 09, 2013 at 05:12:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I've heard that for many years (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mickquinas

      here in Texas and always interpreted it as "on-the-cheap."  Or, in our case - anything to avoid driving miles to town and back.  

      The truth always matters.

      by texasmom on Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 10:58:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Your interpretation... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        home solar, texasmom

        ...using what's on hand to avoid driving miles to town and back, is closer to the meaning of jury-rigging than on-the-cheap. The term originated on sailing ships when you couldn't sail back for supplies, because the rigging you were using to sail your ship was broken and needed to be repaired with whatever you had on hand. Ships frequently carried tons of extra masts, spars, rope, and so on, so they would have something to work with.

        "The problems of incompetent, corrupt, corporatist government are incompetence, corruption and corporatism, not government." Jerome a Paris

        by Orinoco on Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 03:50:03 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  UM, yeah, no. (0+ / 0-)

      So, it seems to me that "southern-engineering" is pretty much simply a repainted version of the original.

      So it's not race specific, it still uses an irrelevant adjective (one that is often used to describe groups of humans) to negatively modify its referent.

      Why not describe the work as "expedient-engineering", or  (as a supervisor of mine used to joke) "value-engineering", or "rigged for convenience"? What does "southern" as a descriptor have to do with any of that?

      Kudos for finding an alternative that wasn't explicitly racist, how 'bout one that isn't demeaning at all?

      Do not be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good. ~ Romans 12:21

      by Mickquinas on Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 02:21:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  A politically correct Lt. Commander (0+ / 0-)

        tried to introduce us to "field expedient" but few of us yankee sailors saw any point to replacing the perfectly good term 'jury-rigged.' This particular Lt. Commander was from Texas, and it might have been that 'jury-rigged' wasn't the term he wanted to replace.

        We joked about it: "Hey! You seen my field expedient desk (clipboard) anywhere?" "Use the field expedient crapper (some bushes) behind the motor pool!" "Looks like Joe has a field expedient headache (hung over)"

        He didn't make it up. Mess Tents were described in official Navy literature as "Field Expedient Messing Facilities" and we had designs for a "Field Expedient Hygene Facility" consisting of pallets, pipe and shower heads, a pump and a water truck, surrounded by tarps raised on tent poles for a modicum of privacy.

        "The problems of incompetent, corrupt, corporatist government are incompetence, corruption and corporatism, not government." Jerome a Paris

        by Orinoco on Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 04:08:48 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for a nuanced consideration (19+ / 0-)

    of a complicated and enduring problem. Which is NOT simplified by the persistent use of the n-word in black culture.

    My hope is that in the future such words will be emotionally disempowered, as dated and silly as the term "darkie" is now. But for now, all emotional consideration is due.

    •  I tend to think (0+ / 0-)

      that making certain words taboo gives them undue power to keep injuring the oppressed. But I don't get to make that determination for historically oppressed groups.

      So, we live in a culture where slurs have been repurposed by some (Queer Nation, or Dan Savage's news column, "Hey Faggot!") and culturally outlawed by others (n-word).

      Life is complicated, huh?

      Did you ver notice how har it is totype accurately on an iPad?

      by RudiB on Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 01:20:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I need to correct myself (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Creosote, SeattleTammy

        after a bit of post-publishing fact-checking.

        Dan Savage's column was called Savwge Love. He used th salutation, Hey faggot, for a number of years, but has since renounced it.

        Like I said above, I don't get to decide. But I do should get my facts right the first time, or at least correct the record and apologize, which I hereby do.

        Did you ver notice how har it is totype accurately on an iPad?

        by RudiB on Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 01:30:28 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Any other career (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bigjacbigjacbigjac, kyril

    Sensitivity training would be the least of repercussions. As a public official this sort of attitude affects more than just a few coworkers though, it can have serious consequences for modifies.

    http://callatimeout.blogspot.com/ Jesus Loves You.

    by DAISHI on Tue Apr 09, 2013 at 04:11:59 PM PDT

  •  I heard that a lot down there (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sam Sara, kyril

    It's not uncommon.

  •  Brilliant diary. (14+ / 0-)

    Great way of looking at it, thanks.

    And a bit of self-congratulating must ensue here: A lot of us reading this right now, have come a long way, indeed, from our socio-cultural roots. I have; so have many others.

    The burgeoning of the contemporary progressive movement represents countless brave, private journeys made against difficult odds.

    It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

    by karmsy on Tue Apr 09, 2013 at 05:04:17 PM PDT

  •  Wow (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kyril

    Just wow.  I guess its a positive thing that they are being open about their racism instead of pretending they are not.

    It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

    by ksuwildkat on Tue Apr 09, 2013 at 05:09:29 PM PDT

  •  My late father (born in the 20's) (9+ / 0-)

    ...was troubled by mistreatment and unfairness, saw no problem at all with describing a young black Marine as a "black boy" while angrily denouncing the white redneck cracker who routinely hassled him and badmouthed him....

    (The cracker was from GA, the black Marine was a farmer's son from MS, the cracker was useless and couldn't be trusted to make coffee, the black Marine was a typical farmer's son who knew how to fix stuff and had a good attitude)

    "Ronald Reagan is DEAD! His policies live on but we're doing something about THAT!"

    by leftykook on Tue Apr 09, 2013 at 05:26:40 PM PDT

    •  I know those people (0+ / 0-)

      I grew up with white people who said terrible things, but had had black friends at work and on their softball team and such. Church, not as much -- unless they were Jehovah's or members of some pop-up, one-congregation denomination.

      The rural South, particularly towards the bottom of the income ladder, is often much more complex in racial terms than outsiders are aware of.

      Conservatives believe evil comes from violating rules. Liberals believe evil comes from violating each other.

      by tcorse on Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 09:21:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  An interesting, nuanced take, but THIS was great: (9+ / 0-)
    ruthless fucks no sane person would turn their back on.

    ...Son, those Elephants always look out for themselves. If you happen to get a crumb or two from their policies, it's a complete coincidence. -Malharden's Dad

    by slowbutsure on Tue Apr 09, 2013 at 05:40:47 PM PDT

  •  Here's the source (11+ / 0-)

    For those who want to see where the story came from:

    http://www.salina.com/...

    Just so we can give credit to the newspaper that covered this.

    Many small newspapers in Kansas are the only source of this kind of news, and they are being extinguished left and right.   While the internet can get news out there, print media in these small towns are sometimes the only way this kind of thing can come to light.

    Great diary, Republished to Kansas/Missouri Kossacks.  

    Gandhi's Seven Sins: Wealth without work; Pleasure without conscience; Knowledge without character; Commerce without morality; Science without humanity; Worship without sacrifice; Politics without principle

    by Chris Reeves on Tue Apr 09, 2013 at 06:14:15 PM PDT

  •  This was a great diary. Having moved from (7+ / 0-)

    the north to the south, I do hear folks who are 60-70-80 use the terms they were taught and grew up with ... and most mean nothing at all by it.

    BTW, I heard the term n-rigging in the north all during my childhood from construction workers.

    Doesn't forgive it, but your diary explains its.  Well done.  Good diary.

    "Privatize to Profitize" explains every single Republican economic, social and governing philosophy. Take every taxpayer dollar from defense, education, health care, public lands, retirement - privatize it, and profit from it.

    by mumtaznepal on Tue Apr 09, 2013 at 06:25:13 PM PDT

  •  A good example of how Kansas has changed... (10+ / 0-)

    When I was a kid and a teenager, this guy would have been forced out of office.  You might have heard things like that in whispers or among white men of a certain age among themselves in private, especially in southern Kansas, near the border with Oklahoma, but Salina?

    What has happened to the state I grew up in?  Have they all gone batshit insane?  This present Kansas more resembles the Kansas of my uncles, several of whom told me stories about segregation, about how, when they were kids, their parents would scare them with stories about black people.  But they got over it.  They and my father realized that it was nonsense.  I never heard the N-word in my home, among my relatives - nowhere in my childhood.  I heard it a couple movies and on TV.  That was it.  Did someone invent a time machine and apply it to the brains of the people of Kansas?  Because it sure sounds like they've regressed back to around 1937.

    Holy shit.

    Tell me what to write. tellmewhattowrite.com 'To know what is right and to do it are two different things.' - Chushingura, a tale of The Forty-Seven Ronin

    by rbird on Tue Apr 09, 2013 at 06:25:39 PM PDT

  •  Well said, well written...thank you. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dhcallahan, bigjacbigjacbigjac, kyril
  •  "Afro-Americanized" (4+ / 0-)

    This IMHO, should be where your sympathy/familiarity/personal experience toward the "humaniizing" of vile racists and racism (via recognition of a bygone era of overt vile racism as a cultural norm) should end, but clearly it does not.

    What is complicated is not the statements from this vile racist, but the ways and lengths you, many others who commented in this thread, and many who witnessed him saying these vile words, are going to to fit him in to your big tent of what "racist boasting/racist further defining/at the end of the day still racist in their worldview of other races (yet somehow not racist)" people say, over and over and over.

     He didn't worry about it in the past because it didn't get challenged in classic polite southern society, and he doesn't worry now because enough still won't challenge him.

    You can't stop dandelions by sighing at them or rolling your eyes, or saying you secretly despise them, racism is a lot like that. For racism to die, people must be comfortable seeing it killed where it grows, when it appears.

    •  I really like this: (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      high uintas, deePA
       What is complicated is not the statements from this vile racist, but the ways and lengths you, many others who commented in this thread, and many who witnessed him saying these vile words, are going to to fit him in to your big tent of what "racist boasting/racist further defining/at the end of the day still racist in their worldview of other races (yet somehow not racist)" people say, over and over and over.  

      Indeed,
      regardless of whatever niceness
      may be in his heart,
      he's racist.

      I married a black woman,
      and I live in a black neighborhood,
      with my wife's brothers and uncle.

      If someone draws battle lines and wants to fight,
      I'm physically and emotionally on the black American's side.

      But there may be a little bit of racism in me,
      and a little bit in my wife,
      in just about anyone.

      But when someone uses that kind of language,
      those particular words,
      it makes better sense to declare a great deal of racism,
      in that man,
      rather than not.

      Call him racist.

      Be simple about it.

      Seems to me.

      Bringing a child into the world at this point in history is a crime, the crime of child endangerment.

      by bigjacbigjacbigjac on Tue Apr 09, 2013 at 08:55:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Mark Twain established a literary convention: (0+ / 0-)

      respectable men who used spittoons and wore both shirts and shoes (ie" Judge Thacher) NEVER used the n-slur ... whereas "ignorant" barefoot rascals  like "Pap" Finn who spit tobacco juice on the parlor floor,  ALWAYS did.

      There must have been some Fine White Christian Gentlemen who understood that the privilege  of calling people ugly names (not to mention lynching them ) was all the Reconstructed Southland was going to offer Poor Whites in lieu of education and opportunity.  

      That was circa 1885.  

      Whether Sam Clemens also knew, or if he cared -- that's a whole other question.

      •  Interesting if true... (0+ / 0-)

        ....then it would be double-edged, denigrating the black man to everyone, and the white man who used it to "superior" whites. One would admire the efficiency of such a maneuver if it were done in a better cause.

        "They smash your face in, and say you were always ugly." (Solzhenitsyn)

        by sagesource on Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 03:26:09 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Bullshit (7+ / 0-)

    If you don't know that saying the n-word in any context in 2013 is offensive, then I don't know what to say.  I can't believe there are people defending this remark.  

    "Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me--and I welcome their hatred." Franklin D. Roosevelt

    by djbender on Tue Apr 09, 2013 at 07:56:27 PM PDT

    •  Agreed. (4+ / 0-)

      I'm growing very tired of the argument that "Well, they use that word, but they don't mean anything by it."

      Well, they may not THINK they mean anything by it, but the fact of the matter is, words have meaning.  And the words in question are inherently offensive and oppressive.  To use them implies a complicity in the mindset that spawned them, whether intentional or not.

      •  The question is (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        The Dude 415, talismanlangley

        when ignorance about the weight of those words can no longer be considered innocent, but has to be in some measure deliberate.

        I am not willing to say that ignorance is never an excuse.  But sometimes ignorance is an offense in itself, because it can only come from a complete callous disregard.

        •  That's why (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          deePA

          I also don't buy "Well, that's just the time they grew up in" as an excuse for racism.

          There were white people who fought for civil rights back then too.  Just because they were born in a time and place when such things may have been acceptable doesn't absolve them of a responsibility to grow and learn beyond such things.

          •  I have been thinking about it lately (0+ / 0-)

            in terms of difficulty settings.

            When you are surrounded by acceptance of something, it is damn hard to recognize that it's wrong.  The fact that some people managed it doesn't mean you can justly blame everybody who didn't.

            The question is at what point is the difficulty setting low enough to mean that by this time anyone who hasn't managed it just isn't trying.

            (As to those white people who fought for civil rights back then: I guarantee you a lot of them held views that today we would consider racist.  They did their best then.  We do our best now.  Someday, somebody's best will be successful.)

            •  Sorry, but I disagree. (0+ / 0-)

              The fact that some people managed it means that it was more than possible for people in those situations to recognize how wrong it was.   To me, saying it's hard just means those people that didn't learn weren't willing to put in the effort necessary to do so.

              •  My point is (0+ / 0-)

                that the level of effort necessary to learn was exponentially higher for some people then than it is for anybody at all today, and that there is such a thing as an unreasonably high level of effort to expect of people.

                Some people speak fifty languages fluently.  Does that mean it's more than possible for everybody to do that, and if they don't it just means they aren't willing to put in the effort?

                (I can't give you an example in the same sphere of learning a moral issue rather than a skillset, because if there's anything like that today that future generations will despise us for not getting, I'm as blinkered about it as you are.  Although one could theoretically make the point that learning only one's own language is a moral issue.  Maybe future generations will despise us for that.)

  •  Could we make it simple, and say this: (7+ / 0-)
     That background means I can forgive someone like Giles dropping an offensive term from his childhood. It means I can see his "colored people" follow-up as just kind of a sad joke, just an old man that doesn't quite know what world he's in today.  

    Just a racist.

    A nice man,
    but a racist.

    We all might have a little bit of racism in us,
    but anyone who uses
    nigger-rig
    and
    Afro-Americanize,
    and
    colored people,
    maybe we can keep it simple,
    and simply call him a racist?

    A nice man.

    Salt of the Earth,
    in many ways.

    But racist.

    What do you think?

    Bringing a child into the world at this point in history is a crime, the crime of child endangerment.

    by bigjacbigjacbigjac on Tue Apr 09, 2013 at 09:25:40 PM PDT

    •  Yeah, I'm growing (4+ / 0-)

      way past weary with giving these freaks the benefit of a doubt. If you're so fucking addle brained you don't know those are offensive terms then you're too fucking addle brained to hold any kind of office. #JS

      ~War is Peace~Freedom is Slavery~Ignorance is Strength~ George Orwell "1984"

      by Kristina40 on Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 05:11:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  IMO (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      shanikka

      If Americans are honest with themselves they will acknowledge that we all have a little bit of racism in us. We were born in and came of age in a race sensitive society and try as we might some of it sticks. Even if it's just that we notice and define people by their race the way we do gender.

      "The scientific nature of the ordinary man is to go on out and do the best you can." John Prine

      by high uintas on Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 08:23:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  '... the swirling currents of that culture ... (0+ / 0-)

    Like I said, complex.'
    Thank you for so sensitively articulating what is both complex, and simply understandable, if perceived through the heart.

    'A civilization flourishes when people plant trees under whose shade they will never sit' Greek Proverb

    by janis b on Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 02:00:34 AM PDT

  •  One of the best diaries I've read this year (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    texasmom, knitwithpurpose

    Well-written and giving great level-headed, hard-nosed and tender insight into a culture I don't share and do not understand (I'm Michigan-born).  Great job, and thank you.  

  •  Excellent piece. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    texasmom
    Commissioner Gile's comment is a punch-line; that Giles is still the kind of person Republicans elect to lead them is a eulogy.
    The rebranding of the Republican party as a socially modern, tolerant and inclusive party is it's death knell in the delusion that their economic policies have worth.

    Racism misogyny religious fundamentalism and the outdated ethics you address is the glue that holds the party together and   to self defeating economic policy.

    I've been thinking there's more to winning the 'wedge' issues than meets the eye. They are the only reason Republicans win elections.

  •  Inter-generational conflict (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Batya the Toon

    I agree with author. My grandparents used words that would not be acceptable today because they were from a different time. The same as I am from a different time than my daughter.

    However, I see a lot of our problems as stemming from an increase in inter-generational conflict. As people live longer more generations are living (and fighting) together than ever before. Fights over medicare, taxes, and the meaning and use of words (like here) will only escalate as each generation vies with more and more others for fewer resources.

    Peace
    Chris

    •  The "different time" thing (0+ / 0-)

      seems problematic to me though.  Because I'm sure there were white people during the time period they came of age that didn't use those words, and felt they were unacceptable.  

      At what point do we have a responsibility to learn and grow and move ourselves beyond what is considered "acceptable" at the time?

  •  This might seem kindof campy/corny, (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Miles, high uintas, sagesource, METAL TREK

    but I think you can understand the roots of southern hospitality and the mix of prejudice & interconnectedness if you peek back in time to feudal europe.  The nobility literally represented foreign occupation - "barbarian tribes" would conquer roman provinces and set themselves up as the new feudal lords.  The maintenance of this system required a code of mutual assistance - I help put down your peasant revolt if you help me put down my peasant revolt.  So, when you say "It is very noble of you to help your neighbor" you could literally complete the sentence with "It is very noble of you to help your neighbor put down his peasant revolt".  The nobles also had no interest in needlessly stoking rebellion, so as long as the peasant "knew their place", they were treated reasonably enough and helped out with the small things.  But, at the end of the day they were peasants and anything they had that their lord wanted, he took.
       Fast-forward that mentality to the south, and you have pretty much the same thing: southern racists helping blacks change tires and "southern hospitality" and all that, and it all works as long as everyone "knows their place".  This may also explain why so many (white) people have gone bat-shit extreme, the "know your place" seems to have fallen apart with the advent of a black president, so the hospitality goes out the window.

    ... just my random thoughts ....

    To any wingnut: If you pay my taxes I'll give you a job.

    by ban48 on Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 08:05:35 AM PDT

    •  Concessions to the "inferiors".... (0+ / 0-)

      ....are often ritualized and in that way limited, as with the Roman Saturnalia. Most traditional societies have some sort of festival where they pretend the first are last and the last are first, to console the last for being last the other 99% of the time. Or they tell the last that their compensation is certain, but deferred: "Work and pray, live on hay, you'll get pie in the sky when you die!" as Joe Hill put it.

      "They smash your face in, and say you were always ugly." (Solzhenitsyn)

      by sagesource on Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 03:30:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Excellent post (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    home solar

    I looked at the title & kept staying should I open this a few times now.
    I'm glad I did.
    I used that term constantly ! I don't know how long ago I decided to stop saying it.
    I guess in my mind I still say it to myself when I see a bad choice of repairing or building something.

    Now I'm trying to stop saying who rednecked this?

    0_0

    I could fit in Giles shoes easily, I try hard to not put them on though.

    Thanks For Posting

  •  ah yes, "colored" how it takes me back to the (0+ / 0-)

    halcyon days of my childhood and white hoods and burning crosses and race riots (by both races, according to the media of the time)

    This guy could be Haley Barbour's drinking buddy

  •  Instead of N-rigging it, why don't they just (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gffish, amygdalavet, yg17, Hoghead99

    contact the architect and Jew him down on his price???

    Ayn is the bane! Take the Antidote To Ayn Rand and call your doctor in the morning: You have health insurance now! @floydbluealdus1

    by Floyd Blue on Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 09:19:45 AM PDT

  •  Nicely put (0+ / 0-)

    The robb'd that smiles steals something from the thief. -- Shakespeare

    by not2plato on Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 09:21:16 AM PDT

  •  1981 - Lee Atwater said, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sagesource

    “You start out in 1954 by saying, ‘Nigger, nigger, nigger.’ By 1968 you can’t say ‘nigger’ — that hurts you.

    Backfires.

    So you say stuff like forced busing, states’ rights and all that stuff. You’re getting so abstract now [that] you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites. And subconsciously maybe that is part of it.

    I’m not saying that. But I’m saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. You follow me — because obviously sitting around saying, ‘We want to cut taxes. We want to cut this, we want’ is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than ‘nigger, nigger.’

    You know.”

    Conservatives say if you don't give the rich more money, they will lose their incentive to invest. As for the poor, they tell us they've lost all incentive because we've given them too much money. -GC

    by cobaltbay on Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 09:49:10 AM PDT

  •  Great diary, thank you Jaxpagan. I'm gonna (0+ / 0-)

    bookmark this so that when I get angry with my southern cousins I can remind myself of their active love for, and working efforts on behalf of others, and not just focus on issues   and change that they can't accept or even understand.

  •  Not just a generational thing... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Hoghead99
    The GOP, for all their rebranding - or talk of rebranding - have still kept that torch in the hands of a past generation, of people who don't feel, don't see, don't understand the world they actually live in, versus the world they remember.
    I would agree that the GOP "rebranding" conundrum is partly a generational thing.  But it is by no means exclusively a generational thing.

    If it was exclusively generational in origin, the evidence for it would be large numbers of younger Republicans who harbor noticeably more progressive & enlightened viewpoints than their elders.  While admittedly I don't socialize very much with Republicans, so it's possible I've missed something, I nevertheless see no evidence that this is the case, i.e. that there is an entire generation of younger, more progressive Republicans, just waiting in the wings for their chance to take over the party.

    On the contrary, young elephants seem to be nearly as obtuse, set in their ways, and hostile to progress as their elder counterparts.  I believe the Republican problem is much more than merely generational.  It goes much deeper than that.  It is cultural.  Ultimately, it is ontological.

    These people aren't regressive & reactionary simply because they've been conditioned to be that way (although that's part of it).  It's because that's who they really are, at the very core, in very essence.

    That's not something that's subject to much change - regardless of which generation happens to be calling the shots.

    Truly knowledge is power. And knowledge of spiritual things is spiritual power.

    by Mystic Michael on Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 10:12:35 AM PDT

  •  I was in the USAF in the late '60's (3+ / 0-)

    Everyone was mandated to go through "Race Relations Training," a lengthy, in-your-face, dramatic self examination of one's prejudice/bigotry/racism regarding Blacks/Whites and Browns and Yellows - but mostly focused on the prejudice against black Americans by white racist Americans.  Everyone ha to go through it - officers and enlisted.

    The military had a zero tolerance for racism from the moment I entered Basic Training in 1966.  I saw some racist, so-called & self identified "southern rednecks" who hated blacks - they changed - I saw them change & accept the reality of a fully equal and fully integrated USAF OR - they got out of the Air Force.  One or the other.  Their choice.  I saw beautiful change in some people.  

    We have more work to do in the US.  The US

    •  To Finish... (0+ / 0-)

      The US has a lot of work to do on racism still.  It is in our DNA - BUT - I know the nation is changing and will change.  Most prejudices and bigotry are based in ignorance.  Enlightment brings death to ignorance, most of the time.

      Love & Peace.
                   

    •  It's too bad that the U. S. Air Force Academy (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tommyfocus2003, METAL TREK

      does not now have a similar program to rid its ranks of the Christian dominionists who have made that institution a hotbed of hatred and disgust for all who don't subscribe to their limited Christian dogma.

      •  I know all about that mess & the Father (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gffish

        of a Jewish Cadet who sued.  I thought the Academy was forced to stop those officers/faculty/staff from harrassing and proselytizing right wing extremist christianity to the students.

        I thought the problem was stopped/resolved.  Bigotry never dies - it changes forms and targets and victims but never dies.  We must always fight the bigotry & hatred.

      •  Actually I saw a very touching pic & story (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gffish, lostboyjim

        when the Air Force was doing its gay equality/sensitivity training during the end of the  transition period.  I saw rows of young Airmen & women in classrooms, hearing and learning about prejudices against/toward gays and the mandatory hassle-free acceptance of gays as  mandated by Congress,  the USAF and President Obama's administration.  It was a beautiful sight and it reminded me of the effectiveness and beauty of making haters choose their hatred OR their careers in the USAF back when I served as a young Airman.

  •  This was a great diary. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    home solar

    You fully understood where this kind of remark came from.

    It's easy for people raised in the 50's and 60's, and earlier, to blurt out the phrases they heard as kids, without necessarily subscribing to the racist structure which produced them.  For instance, when I was a kid in Texas in the 50's, we routinely described negotiating the price of an item as "jewing them down."  It never even occurred to me until I was in high school that this phrase referred to the Jewish people of the Bible, the state of Israel, and the Holocaust.  Looking back now, I'm embarrassed that I ever used it, but I wasn't anti-Semitic, then or now.

    So I can understand how a well-meaning, mostly unprejudiced person (is anyone raised in this society entirely free from prejudice?) might inadvertently say "n***r-rigged" if he grew up saying it. (Merle Miller's oral history of Harry Truman, Plain Speaking, notes that Truman routinely used the n-word in private, because that's how everyone talked in rural Missouri in the later 19th century.  And Truman desegregated the Armed Forces.)  But as the diarist brilliantly points out, when he followed up with the remark about "colored people," we know we're dealing with someone who just hasn't progressed to the level of awareness, and self-awareness, required for holding public office in a pluralistic society.

  •  really enjoyed this (0+ / 0-)

    thanks, tipped & rec'ced.

    "Some of you are going to die... martyrs, of course, to the Freedom that I will provide!"

    by emperor nobody on Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 02:47:10 PM PDT

  •  Wonderful diary (0+ / 0-)

    I'm from the south (live in CA now) and used to say n----rigging, now I say jury-rigging. Other southern expression I used to use included "Come join the white folks" when someone was sitting off by themselves, and "Busier than a set of jumper cables at a funeral" I never used the n-word in that expression.  I stopped saying these expression because I knew they were offensive, even if none of my friends were offended (and even though they thought my southernisms were cute).  In my mother's generation some people use them, some don't, my grandmother's generation never say anything wrong.  People who have lived in the same area all their lives in my opinion are much more likely to keep offensive expressions in their vocabulary because none of their friends are offended or shocked.

  •  Kansas is the south (0+ / 0-)

    We try to shove racism way down south and lookaway, lookaway, lookaway down south in Dixie....

    Love Me, I'm a Liberal!

    by simplesiemon on Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 04:55:43 PM PDT

  •  I'm not racist. I just use the language of racists (0+ / 0-)

    "It strikes me as gruesome and comical that in our culture we have an expectation that a man can always solve his problems" - Kurt Vonnegut

    by jazzence on Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 05:29:52 PM PDT

  •  "Afro-Americanized" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    talismanlangley, The Dude 415

    I'm again going to challenge the "no harm no foul to be found here" comment writers, to square their "Can't say the man meant to be a bigot", archaic ideas of tolerableness with this term.

    How about it, one bad term, two is not always a trend, or just a racist through and through?

    There was no time and no place this was acceptable, except where people were raised in ignorance, and with a given tolerance for the ignorant racism of others.

    Perhaps you don't feel the statements are really racist because perhaps that would make you really a racist enabler, in some small way then, and now. A racist society is not defined by the racially motivated extremists, but by how free they are to be extreme on a regular basis, as allowed by the rest of that society.

  •  In the article I read about this, he said that (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bigjacbigjacbigjac

    it was all OK because he has a friend who happens to be black.

    "I have a friend who happens to be black. Like it was a fucking accident!" -George Carlin

    "How come when it’s us, it’s an abortion, and when it’s a chicken, it’s an omelette?" - George Carlin

    by yg17 on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 05:52:46 AM PDT

  •  An elderly gentleman in Virginia once explained (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lostboyjim, bigjacbigjacbigjac

    to me that the situation of the black man in American, north and south, is basically untenable.

    "The white man in the south doesn't mind having a black man living next door," he said to me, "just so long as that black man is not his equal.

    "The white man in the north wants that same black man to be treated as the white man's equal," he added. "just so long as that black man doesn't live next door."

    •  The author Mark Mathabane had an observation (0+ / 0-)

      A black South African, Mathabane had success with his autobiography Kaffir Boy. After moving to America, he lived in both the South and the North, and eventually decided he preferred to deal with Southern racism because it was simple and upfront, whilst what he encountered in the north was slyer and more backhanded.

      "We are buried beneath the weight of information, which is being confused with knowledge; quantity is being confused with abundance and wealth with happiness. We are monkeys with money and guns." - Tom Waits

      by Jaxpagan on Fri Apr 12, 2013 at 03:20:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Fruits of the Southern Strategy. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bigjacbigjacbigjac

    Also known as realignment.

    Republicans welcomed conservative Southern whites into their ranks, pretending to the public (and perhaps themselves) that it was all about conservatism, not racism, as if racists attitudes and even racist beliefs can go away without being seriously challenged.

    Find out about my next big thing by reading my blog. Link is here: http://bettysrants.wordpress.com/2013/01/05/my-next-big-thing/

    by Kimball Cross on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 06:16:01 AM PDT

  •  I know how hard it is to speak of your father. . . (0+ / 0-)

    . . .in those terms. I lost my father just a few years back. Reflection has allowed me to see his finer points, many, as well as some that weren't so good. I still cannot speak of the latter.

  •  I love this diary (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bigjacbigjacbigjac

    And I think you've hit the nail on the head.   People everywhere, but perhaps more noticably in the South, see the other has lazy, shiftless, etc.  But their personal friendships are unhampered by this, and these friendships easily cross racial lines.  They would never call their friends, or perceive them to be, lazy or moochers.

    I think this can also apply to LGBT issues.  I know my parents voted to change the TN state constitution to forbid gay marriage.  But when I asked them should I bother sending them a (hypothetical) wedding invitation, mom practically burst into tears at the thought that I wouldn't.  

    I used to think that the only thing you needed to do to gain LGBT rights was to come out of the closet (and in many ways I still do).  But the fact that persistance racism exists against the group, even while admiring the individual, speaks against that optimistic view.

    Minority rights should never be subject to majority vote.

    by lostboyjim on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 07:51:34 AM PDT

    •  It's almost like . . . (0+ / 0-)

      . . . a social convention, rather than an earnest belief. The abstract idea of racial differences (and hierarchies) being unconnected to real, daily life, which frequently involved people of all colors and creeds.
      That's not true of everyone, of course - like I said, I knew genuine racists as well - but for many, it's almost like something they adhere to in an idealized way, a custom like church attendance or codes of dress, more than a personal dislike or disdain.

      "We are buried beneath the weight of information, which is being confused with knowledge; quantity is being confused with abundance and wealth with happiness. We are monkeys with money and guns." - Tom Waits

      by Jaxpagan on Fri Apr 12, 2013 at 03:24:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  There is another angle to this (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bigjacbigjacbigjac

    One of the big conservative memes is to be scornful of "political correctness"- always said in quotation marks.
    So his follow up of "Afro Americanized" was probably a nudge-nudge-wink-wink about "political correctness", it isn't racist (in their heads) to make fun of the tight a*ed liberals.

    They use terms like lib-tard in the same way. Retarded is an offensive term to people in the disability community. But it is OK, in their minds, to use it to insult someone else. Sensitivity and tolerance are liberal values to be laughed at.

    Of course, we have our own blind spots. I wrote a post once about the use of "drinking the Kool-Aid" being a horrific statement referring to the Jonestown massacre. Some tried to argue it really referred to Tom Wolfe's book- but the connection doesn't make sense. Since it is a convenient cudgel against the right, people on the left who usually abhor sensitive appellations, have no problem using it.

    All that being said, the larger point is the most important one. Life and race in the south was, and continues to be complicated. One dear friend of mine suggested I buy her mom Chocolate Flavored Creme Drops- but then got a bit embarrassed and told me not to get upset if her mom called them N*er toes.

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