About a month ago, Emily and I drove to downtown Los Angeles. It was a drowsy, overcast Sunday morning and traffic was minimal. We were on our way to a friend’s graduation.
And then it happened. We got into a car accident. Fortunately, it was minor – no one got hurt – but by the reaction of the other driver, one would’ve thought the accident was an act of terrorism.
Once we collided, the other driver pulled up beside us, rolled down his window, and started yelling. “You fucking hit me! Pull the fuck over right now!” He actually hit us, for the record, but we did pull over. He jumped out of his car, stormed towards me, and the next words that came out of his mouth are the ones that I’ll remember forever.
Fucking Asian drivers.
He didn’t call me a gook, chink, or nip, but those probably would’ve been less offensive. His three words said a lot about him: here’s someone who has turned a stereotype into a truth in his world, and has thus accepted his own racism.
I’m shocked but I’m not shocked.
That was my reaction to hearing about what happened in Charleston. I’m shocked because these were people in a church. The victims included pastors and the elderly. Why would anyone target them to murder?
But my initial shock was quickly dissipated by the harsh reality that hit me that Sunday morning.
Racism is still alive.
In no way am I trying to equate what happened to Emily and I to what happened to the victims in Charleston. We’re alive and well; there’s no coming back for these church goers. We live in Southern California where the population is diverse, a cultural melting pot where acts of racism aren’t usually life threatening. The Confederate flag still flies in the air in Charleston.
Think about that: the Confederate fucking flag.
I will never live in the South. I’m sure there are a lot of great Southerners that live there – the term Southern hospitality exists for a reason. It’s these crazy motherfuckers that screw it up for everyone else. I’d rather not deal with that shit.
I think it’s disingenuous and absurd for people to simply point at guns. It feels like these people want to blame what happened on the easy access people have to firearms.
How about we look at the asshole who shot these people?
He was white, and he hated black people. It’s really that simple. Was he mentally ill? Yes. Did he have easy access to a gun? Yes. But the main issue is that his actions were led by his racist ideologies.
I must admit – I think Lynyrd Skynrd’s Free Bird is a great song.
But I’ll never be a fan of a band that so proudly waves the Confederate flag like they do. That flag represents the blood of thousands and a shameful period in this country’s history. It’s a reminder of the worst in humanity, to believe that we aren’t entitled to the same basic rights.
I don’t necessarily like Bill Maher. He’s a little too hateful towards religion and the Republican Party for my taste, and he once said the 9/11 attacks were not a cowardly act, which is ludicrous.
But I keep thinking about his words on racism today. People want to blame guns or mental illness for what happened in Charleston, but the underlying reason is, for lack of a better term, black and white.