I’m not terrible shocked by stories of racism in the US. Why should we be? We have a racist element in our country; we need to do everything we can to work against it, but everyone knows it is there. This is just true.
So. When I read this Huffington Post article about a W. Virgina local paper printing a voicemail in their “Gripes and Gratitudes” section that was littered with disgusting bigotry and racism, I was less interested in the racist caller and more interested in the paper itself.
First, the “gripe”:
We were really glad to hear that School Board is getting rid of them queers. The next thing is we need to get rid of all the n****rs, the spics, the kikes and the wops. You know even them Catholics, they are wrong as baby eaters. We need to clear them people out and have good, white, God fearing Christians and everybody else needs to be put to death for their abominations. We’ll keep Lincoln County white and right. Thank you.
Ok. Everything about this is terrible. Obviously.
What’s possibly interesting is why it was printed and what the paper’s editors make of such an opinion. Again, from HuffPo:
Ultimately, the paper decided to run the screed to raise awareness of the kind of hate and bigotry that still exists in Lincoln County. (O’Donoghue noted that Burns also gave the paper permission to print the gripe.)
“We made clear, that while all readers are entitled to their views, we feel pity for people who resort to racial slurs,” he told HuffPost.
That last part is problematic for me. I know that there is a national taboo upon the use of racial slurs, especially the N-word. There should be. There’s no place for racist language. But are we really capable of granting that people are “entitled to their own views” when those views are actually calling for the killing of everyone but “God fearing Christians”? When we read something like this, or encounter such a picture of the world, is it really the racial slurs that deserve repudiation? Perhaps, in such times with such views, we should worry less about the language, and more about the content?
No matter what language anyone uses to describe it, is one really entitled to a worldview like this?