When I was a young ‘un, back in the olden days, growing up under Jim Crow, we referred to black persons as “colored.” It was the polite word. My South Carolina grandmother, born in 1900, always called black persons “darkies”; she thought it impolite to remind them that they were black (as if they didn’t know it).
(I heard the N-word from my father’s lips only once: we were watching a football game and Paul Warfield was racing for a touchdown. My father leapt from his chair saying, “Look at that [N-word] run.” We were raised to know that that word was, at best, rude.)
I was young and unaware. Now I’m old and at least somewhat aware. I’m a Southern boy, and I know bigots–and bigotry–when I see them.
Many years later, referring to Jim Crow, my father said, “I’m glad those days are gone.” But those days aren’t gone. Jim Crow keeps trying to make a comeback. And Jim Crow has many companions, among them Dan Snyder and his acolytes (and the Republican Party, but that’s a different post), who think that “Redskins” is not a slur. (Full Disclosure: I have a “Redskins” mug purchased many years ago, when I lived in Northern Virginia and Washington, D. C., had a professional football team. Awareness is not a one-time thing–it’s a process. It just went in the trash.)
Those days will not be gone until persons who consider themselves “respectable” realize that defending bigotry and bigoted behavior in all its forms is not only not moral, but not “respectable,” until they realize that tradition is not a defense for hate-fullness. The Rude One expresses this rudely, but effectively.
Invoking tradition in the defense of bigotry is dressing bigotry in Sunday-go-to-meeting clothes, nothing more.
Follow the link to the image. Read the comments. They are a lesson in how bigots rationalize bigotry.