Let’s start by facing a couple of ugly truths:
- The Confederacy were a group of traitors who lost the US Civil War
- The Nazis were a group of vicious bastards who lost World War II
There, now that we’ve got that out of the way, we can move on.
So, in case you’ve been living on Mars in a cave with your fingers in your ears, you might have noticed that United States is undergoing an upheaval. Which is a fancy, polite way of saying, “Shit’s on fire, yo.” Underlying tensions finally hit a boiling point and the resultant explosion has been felt around the globe. While the ongoing protests were officially kicked off by the death of George Floyd, the turmoil has been lurking there in the dirty underbelly of my country for a very long time. Frankly, it’s like unwrapping a bandage and finding maggots digging around a festering wound on your arm. No wonder everything was so itchy and painful. We had maggots. And festering.
While this post isn’t necessarily about the Black Lives Matter movement – I support it by the way, feel free to throw rotten fruit – it is about change. Now, racism is an attitude and attitudes are very hard to zero in on. While mainstream American culture decries racism, it’s always been there like those maggots in the festering wound.
Yes, that’s an ugly description. But it’s racism we’re talking about here, saying we found cute puppies in a box isn’t an apt descriptor. It’s an ugly thing and it deserves an ugly description.
Anyway, narrowing in how many people have a particular attitude is a tricky thing. Especially in the case of racist bastards who’ve learned to hide their beliefs under a thin veneer of respectability. So, how do you figure out if an attitude is changing if you can’t actually find it because it’s so well hidden? Well, one thing you can look for the active removal of physical aspects of that thing. When someone gives up Pokemon, they toss a mountain of cards in the trash. When someone gives up martial arts, they send their gi to Goodwill for the next generation to pick up. Not that Pokemon or martial arts are bad things, but they represent an attitude that doesn’t always have an outward representation. So you look for the removal of less-than-public affectations. In the case of racist beliefs, you check for the removal of tattoos. If there’s a sudden influx of people who want their swastika covered up with puppies (or Pokemon), you can safely assume there’s been a turning point in the attitude.
Interestingly, enough, exactly that sort of thing is happening. Maybe not in vast numbers, but it is happening. People are going in and getting their swastikas and Confederate flag tats covered up or removed entirely. Consider it a growing-up process, looking in the mirror and thinking, “Shit, dude, I’m not that person anymore. Maybe it’s time to toss this crap in the garbage.”
Racism isn’t going to go away overnight. It’s something that will have to be starved out of existence and, unfortunately, that’s gonna take time. And it’s going to require exposure to the sun. Those maggots and that pus would exist forever in the dark. Ripping off the Band-Aid ain’t pleasant, but it’s the only way to see the root cause of the crippling pain in your arm. So, while the country is tearing itself apart right now, it’s a necessary thing to get at the rot in the middle. Don’t worry, we can put it back together again. We’ve done it before.
Read the original tattoo removal article here.
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And now your moment of Zen.