Friday, June 27, 2014

Some Racist Bullshit

So there was this meme:


I originally saw this on Facebook via a white friend, whom I know to be anti-gun. However it was originally from NewsOne, the self-described "Black America's #1 news source." My initial reaction was that this is some racist-ass bullshit, and although there are multiple interpretations here, I think that stands up to scrutiny no matter how you slice it.

Let's start with the worse case: where the poster intends this as an argument against open carry. That's basically the most racist thing I've ever seen in my actual life. In the best case scenario of this worse case, the poster is actually hoping that pro-open carry people are anti-black racists and is encouraging them to act on that racism when deciding public policy. Holy fuck. In the lazy middle scenario, the poster is assuming open carry supporters hate or fear blacks, and they're hoping to confuse or guilt them into either changing their position or shutting up. Disgusting. But the worst-worst case is that the poster is actually the biggest fucking racist of all time, legitimately thinks that black people with guns are the scariest thing outside of bat-eating centipedes and geese, and blithely believes that everyone else is a racist fuckhead too. Ugh.

There's a slightly better case, though, in which the poster intends this as a commentary on lingering racism in our culture, with the open carry issue serving as merely a convenient foil. That still would mean the poster is racistly assuming the supporters of open carry fit a certain, uh, type. Let's not beat around the bush here: we all know open carry fans are WHITE and MALE and from the SOUTH. Except for oh wait, a third of U.S. households have guns with a fairly even distribution nationwide. Half the people I shoot with are non-white, and I move in some pretty pasty circles generally. But sure, let's be racist about this. Everyone else is.

If this meme is interpreted as being about racism, which was likely NewsOne's intent, I'm still left wondering: so what? Are there laws being passed or corporate policies being set that only whites can carry guns at Target? Nope, but ironically the first gun control laws were Jim Crow laws deliberately designed to make blacks helpless against the violence perpetrated by the KKK. But we all know Democrats would never do anything to harm blacks in America, right? Maybe they thought KKK stood for Kute Kuddly Kittens. Who would want to shoot itty bitty kitties? Awwww.

I guess at the end of it all, I agree that if you feel differently about a person with a gun purely on the basis of skin color (or sex), you definitely need to check yourself. But I can't help feeling like the creator of this meme was simply against open carry. He obviously believes that supporters of open carry will be uncomfortable with the image and it seems like that would persuade more people to be against open carry rather than not-racist. He's also letting people who feel uncomfortable with the image but who already oppose open carry off the hook, regardless of their bigotry (which is often racial, but even when not, it's still fucking bigotry; do I legislate what hobbies you can have? I thought we got over that with Lawrence v. Texas.)

Basically I come away from this feeling that the #1 black news source in America, with its "Justice for Trayvon" cover photo, actually wants me to be racist, and not just against "white-Hispanics." Which the economist in me thinks makes perfect sense. How else are they going to stay in business?

Openly yours,

S. Misanthrope

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