Attn Racists: Pick a location and battle it out, for humanity's sake.Submitted by Tom Sorrell at 2013-06-15 23:26:43 EDT
Rating: 2.0 on 5 ratings (15 reviews) (Review this item) (V)
You know that song by The Offspring about the one street in a town that’s bad and swallows lives? The one where a girl's boyfriend “plays guitar and smokes a lot of pot”? Sure you do, it was so overplayed at one point there’s no way you don’t. It’d be like if I said “Hey, remember that terrible Sugar Ray track about morning and halos or that Everclear song about Santa Monica that everyone knows how to play? What’s that called again? Oh … right. Santa Monica. So imagine that street over and over and over and over, in varying degrees of awfulness. Some of the streets are lined with factories. Some with schools and trees. Some with businesses packed tightly into office spaces with too little parking and terrible access points onto roads that desperately need repaved.
One of those shitty roads still has my old house on it. An old three story tri-level thing that looked like a rejected Tetris piece. It was basically one level with another level on top of it – but that level was the third floor. The second floor was off to the side, yet still connected to the house. The whole thing was built into the side of the hill, weird and ugly. The house was tan, with a brown roof and a dark-red door, and it was like walking into an asshole every time I came home. Luckily it didn’t smell that way. It left that to town itself. I’m not kidding. My town had a paper mill and a steel mill. If you grew up near a steel mill and a paper factory, you know what I mean. If you didn’t, just move there and you'll never be afraid of hell again. The water even smells like sulfur to add to the illusion.
Right. So I grew up in one of those towns that kills people. A little burgh that sucks people in and chews them up and doesn’t even bother to spit them back out. My town sucks, then it swallows and people die in the stomach. It's a Sarlacc pit. The same families have been hanging around there for 100 years. You know who's an asshole and who's not by their last name. Half the people there probably still cover their dinners in molasses and think it's normal.
If you're lucky enough to escape the town shits you out into the world and you’re left with an awful sense of what everything’s about. And you smell awful, but you can't even tell because you're used to it. You end up with this terrible feeling of dread, because you know how awful people can be, but you don’t know much about people who aren’t white and ignorant. But still, you’re so happy to be free that you act like an asshole, at least according to people who come from cities of so-called refinement. Smug, social elites who see people born differently and make sure to raise their noses before clucking their tongues like their pedantic parents taught them to do. Because anyone different is definitely WRONG. Stuck in the middle between the two worlds is a shitty place to exist.
Or maybe that’s just been my experience. I don’t know, I grew up in a sheltered place that prepared me for everything in strange ways. There was one black kid in our town. He lived down the road from me. We started playing football together in the second grade. You know, go out back and throw and run and catch for fucking hours. I was always Joe Montana when I threw and John Taylor when I caught passes. He was always Steve Young and Jerry Rice. Looking back, he got the better deal.
Anyway, I didn’t know anything about race at that point. My mom was/is a liberal-ass hippy who taught me never to see color, so I didn’t. Not at first. I saw a kid who wanted to play football. So we hung out. This is how friendship works, right? We’ve all experienced this. You’re a kid. Common interests form life-lasting bonds. Jerry Seinfeld touched on this once. To paraphrase: “We were friends in second grade. He had an air hockey table. I’d have been friends with Hitler if he had an air hockey table.”
So this kid and I were friends, which was fine for a while. Then I started to see color. It started when I got to see the ugly side of my town. The hateful, ignorant, stupid, intolerant, loudmouthed, violent side of my town. I got to see nooses hung on his locker. I got to be called a “nigger” because I hung out with him and listened to rap music and had the audacity to wear my hat backwards, though never to the side. Still talked normal. Didn’t sag my pants. Didn’t act like I was hard. None of that stupid bullshit. A friend of mine was black and I liked music they didn't, so I was a "nigger" to these hillbilly, redneck motherfuckers, whom I loathe with every fiber of my being. I was "white trash," to one person, which was so ironic it breaks the scale.
I specifically remember the fat fuck who called me that spitting tobacco juice into a bottle while he sat on a broken lawn chair in front of his messy ass house that smelled like wet dog talking about why I couldn't come to his bonfire. Again, ironic. It's like if someone told me, "Tom, you can't lay down in that pit of Rottweilers." Ok. Cool. Thanks. I also remember being harassed by cops when my friend would ride with me. I still panic a little when I see a cop car, because every time a cop would whip around and pull me over they always spoke with that same bullshit, fakeass, "I'm-from-the-midwest-but-I-talk-like-I'm-from-the-south" accent just to let you know where you stood from the get go. One even asked me where I got a hat with the bill in the back. I told him you had to order them specially, but I could give him the number if he wanted it. He didn't like that. Not one bit. But then again, he was a racist asshole with no sense of humor.
Look, it's not that I hate white people. Or police officers. I don't and I don't. I'm just talking about racist and ignorant people. This brings me around to my point. I was going to an eatery known as Wing Stop a few nights ago to pick up an order of boneless wings with Louisiana Rub sauce. That flavor is like heaven, by the way. I pulled up in my car with the windows up and the radio on, listening to Robert Johnson. Mr. Johnson was/is a quintessential blues man. He's one of the two Johnsons, the other being Tommy, who supposedly sold their souls to Faust ... or something. Anyway, I had it loud, but again, the windows were up. I’m not one of those people who rolls around with the windows down and the stereo cranked ... not unless I’m on an open road in the country somewhere. At that point I let it rip, like Tom Cruise in Jerry MacGuire when he sings to Free Fallin’, but in the city, never.
Right, so the music was loud with the windows up and I pull in. A group of six black kids, ranging from 18 to 21 or so were standing there mid-conversation. They stopped and stared at me like I was insane. In case you’ve never heard Robert Johnson’s music, it was just him and a guitar singing into a can in a corner of a Texas warehouse with no air conditioning. And it’s blues. Delta Blues, from the 20s. It sounds old. To these kids it apparently sounded like Willie Nelson or some other random country singer. Hank Williams, maybe, or Andy Williams. Burl Ives.
Whatever, the point is they all stared at me strangely while I walked into the store to fetch my meal. When I walked out, they were gathered around their car with the local country station turned to max volume, giggling and laughing as I walked by. Now, I didn’t catch on at first. I thought it was a funny scene, actually, like something out of a Mel Brooks movie. I laughed and walked to my car, then the radio started and I heard Robert’s haunting voice and the cool strum of his guitar in the thick Dallas heat.
"Ah ha," I thought. "They were making fun of me. They were calling me a hillbilly."
Oh well, normally. I don’t care what people say, especially idiot kids. Their opinions don’t even count. But, these were black kids giving me shit for listening to Robert God-damned Johnson, the blackest mother fucker you’ve ever seen. One of the men who helped create that sweet Delta sound that influenced so much other music. Zeppelin was influenced by him. So was Eric Clapton. The Rolling Stones. The list is long. The list is distinguished.
That doesn’t matter to these kids. Of course, they don’t listen to Eric Clapton and I don’t blame them. That said, Robert was playing a simple blues lick on his guitar. One vaguely similar to the riff in the greatest hip hop song ever recorded, Bridging the Gap, by Nas. You don’t even have to like hip hop to like this song. It’s just amazing. It's nearly perfect. One of the lyrics goes “The blues came from gospel, gospel from blues. Slaves were harmonizing them ah’s and oo’s.” And he’s absolutely right, of course. But these kids don’t know that, right? Or maybe they do. Hmm. The way I see it is there are two options:
A. I know more about black people’s music than they do.
B. They were racist little assholes that see a white guy and assume he’s a hillbilly.
Honestly, I think it’s a mixture of both, but I don’t want to go into the music thing now, so I’m going with B, because I get it all the time and I’m sick of it. I’ve dealt with the same bullshit from both sides now, and both sides are equally full of shit. All these stupid racist fucks who don't know shit about shit need to get gone and stay gone. White and black, to hell with them all.
You know the people I mean. I see white people smiling to black people’s faces while holding back a sneer they reserve for a dog when it shits on the rug. I see black people shit-talking and openly mocking white people and saying stupid shit like "YOU PEOPLE?" (it means you, second person, ie: everyone around me who is not me). Yet to call a black person a racist is ridiculous, right? No? Oh. But when you point this out those people get loud and stupid and violent. I know. This is how the white people are too, when they’re trying to hide their racist bullshit, but only barely.
Look, I know this is a rant that’s been done a million times before, but I’m doing it again, because there’s a distinction here that needs to be made. I don’t have a problem with black people. I also don’t have a problem with white people. I have a problem with the racist assholes on both sides. As far as I’m concerned, they should just get together somewhere and duke it out. Agree on a place, then get together and start brawling like West Side Story or Anchorman. All I ask is that you announce it first, so people who don’t give a fuck about simple shit like race and hatred can get the hell out of the way. I know don’t care about either of your causes. I think you’re equally stupid and totally full of shit. Color be damned, and all of you people who only see it too.