Dear White Trash
In February, I wrote a post on the blackface scandal in the Virginia government, in which I took a brave stance against blackface. I'm sure you're all thinking, “Wow, Jennifer, that was super courageous of you. Taking a stand on civil rights in the year 2019. You're truly a trail blazer.” While I do try to be a ride or die kind of woman, I have to admit I didn't expect any blow black on my blackface piece. At least not from people I know. Because I make it a point not to associate with people who are down with blackface. Imagine my surprise when I found myself in my first ever Facebook fight with someone I completely forgot existed.
I'm from West Virginia. My hometown has one stop light that is completely unnecessary. As far back as I can remember all I ever wanted was to get out of this one light town. In 1998 I got out. This brings us to the present. I've been writing a blog for three years. My sister has posted every piece on her Facebook page for the past three years. Person I Forgot Existed has never commented on any post, thus allowing me to continue forgetting her existence. That is, until my sister posted my brave stance against blackface. And Person I Forgot Existed lost her mind.
Before I continue, however, I would like to point out that not everyone from my hometown is a useless piece of white trash. There are good, intelligent and compassionate people who don't deserve to be lumped in with the rest of them. For example, there is my sister, my mom, my dad, Tricia and Melanie. There are more than five good people, but in the interest of time I'm only giving shout outs to those I know read my posts.
During the entire twenty years I lived in my hometown the African American population was two. Despite only knowing two black people, who most everyone seemed to like, racism thrived. People tossed the N-word around with reckless abandon. It made no sense. Why such hatred for black people? They're not here. They can't be affecting your lives at all. Racists in cities with an African American population higher than two can at least make up idiotic excuses for their hatred. They claim black people are responsible for drugs, crime and lower property values. But Person I Forgot Existed can't even say that.
Here's a tip for spotting racists: Any white person who jumps at the chance to call black people racist is totally racist. Like this moron I used to know got all worked up over BET, who was all like, “Tell me how that's not segregation, calling it Black Entertainment Television.” So I told him. “I've seen white people on BET. People of all races are welcome to watch it. Their target audience is black and that's perfectly okay. Because the target audience of most networks is white and you're perfectly okay with that.” And then he was all like, “But you couldn't have a network called White Entertainment Television.” And I said, “No, but we have a network called Country Music Television, which I think we both know is not-so-secret code for white people.” We haven't spoken since and I'm perfectly okay with that.
Remember how they tried to make honky a thing in the seventies as the white equivalent of the N-word? George Jefferson really pushed it hard, but it never landed. Because white people haven't suffered the pain of enduring centuries of enslavement, violence and oppression, the only people offended by the word honky were racist.
So this Honky I Forgot Existed went on a rambling diatribe proclaiming racism no longer exists. For real. She made one small concession to the existence of racism. And I quote, “I guess if you’re looking for it, then yes you can find it.”
My roommate, who requests I refer to her as Dee Dee On The Street, has asked me to respond with her favorite Malcolm X quote:
“We didn't land on Plymouth Rock. Plymouth Rock landed on us.” (Note to the reader: You should shout that out loud when you read it, then slam your fist on a table or other flat service in your vicinity.)
Anyway, Person I Forgot Existed claims racism has been eradicated because she attends the largest multi-cultural church in West Virginia. And by simply ignoring racism it went away. The population of West Virginia is ninety three percent white. So multi-cultural means there is like one Asian family in the congregation. I feel I shouldn't have to explain to a middle-aged woman that ignoring problems won't make them go away. I've spent twenty years ignoring white trash and they came for me with a resentful vengeance because I dared to declare my staunch animosity for blackface.
Person I Forgot Existed claimed I am “sowing the seeds of discord” by acknowledging racism when I should be calling for unity.
Because I've read more than one book in my life, I'm aware of another call for unity. On April 12, 1963, eight white clergy men in Birmingham, Alabama wrote an open letter entitled, A Call For Unity. In the letter, they took issue with civil rights demonstrations "directed and led in part by outsiders." The term “outsider” was a thinly veiled reference to Martin Luther King, Jr. And as we all know these white Christian leaders totally solved racism and Martin Luther King recently celebrated his ninetieth birthday. And February is Black History Month to honor those courageous white men.
Photo by Bill Huber from Goshen, United States | CC-BY-2.0