Racism on Vacation
On the heals of the largest gathering of white supremacists (racism on full display) & domestic terrorist attack last Saturday in Charlottesville last weekend I would lying if I said I wasn't excited to get out of town for vacation. I'd be lying to you if I said I wasn't excited to get out of the D.C. bubble, disconnecting from the 24/7 news coverage of the latest douchebag comment coming out of the White House. I'd be lying to you if I wasn't excited about not having to preach this coming weekend, when we move from denouncing white supremacy & neo-Nazis to the question I've been asked most and been considering the most, "what do we do next?" What White America Must Do Next...
I'd be lying to you if I told you I wasn't excited to retreat from the chaos swirling as the racist skeletons in our family closet surfaced like a bad Thanksgiving family dinner.
Arriving at the beach on Sunday night I thought I would get a break from Confederate flags, Nazi salutes, and friends justifying racism, defending white supremacy as heritage and not hate, across social media. When I arrived at the beach late Sunday night I thought I'd be able to disconnect, which in part convicts me but on the other shows that I really have no idea what to do moving forward, other than denouncing. As a pastor I can preach, as a father I can raise my son to respect and love everyone, but as a human being, what is my role next?
I thought I'd get a break this week at the beach but as I found out walking into the go to beach junk store, racism does not take a vacation.
On display, along the back wall of the store, was every star and bars item a white supremacist, neo-Nazi douche bag could need: swim shorts, bikinis (thong and otherwise), towels, hats, shirts, and koozies. All of this, less than one week removed from the largest gathering of white supremacists & a domestic terrorist attack.
Are you kidding me?
As I finished purchasing my over-priced sunscreen (which in hindsight, I should've just walked out) I noticed the accent of the clerk, eastern European. So I asked her, "what do you think about what happened in Charlottesville over the weekend?" She told me that things like that do not happen back home and so on. So I replied and inquired as to why they store continued to sell the white supremacist/Nazi swag.
"The stuff sells. People ask for it when they come in the store."
Her response stopped me in my tracks. Less than one week removed from the largest gathering of white supremacists & a domestic terrorist attack it should not have surprised me. Less than one week removed from the largest gathering of white supremacists & a domestic terrorist attack I should have realized that the ideology of white supremacists and Nazis do not take a vacation. I should have realized this last Sunday as I loaded my bag into the car. I thought I'd get a break this week at the beach but I should have realized that racism, bigotry, and hatred do not take a break.
As I sat on the beach this morning and looked at the people setting up camp around us I noticed tattoos of varying quality and size featuring the stars & bars. I noticed swim shorts, bikinis, and koozies advertising racism, bigotry, and hated on . a crowded beach in Maryland.
'The stuff sells. People ask for it when they come in the store" surprised me but in hindsight I should not have been shocked. Everything changed when last Saturday, in the heals of the largest gathering of white supremacists & a domestic terrorist attack, the highest office in our land endorsed white supremacy. But racism, bigotry, and hatred sell. As I found out in the sunscreen and hermit crab warehouse, as I found out on social media as friends of mine tried to justify hatred and bigotry, and as we all found out when The Donald sided with evil, racism, bigotry, and hatred, evil sells. These things will get the Orange Faced Bully more votes, and it frightens me that the damage he, and those who think like him, is doing to our country will take longer to repair than his removal from office.
I thought I'd get a break this week at the beach but I have realized that racism, bigotry, and hatred do not take a break and thus neither can I. Those of us who think that all people are of sacred worth cannot take a break. Those of us who do not want our friends and neighbors to live in fear cannot take a break. Those of us who want do not want our children to have to deal with this cannot take a break.
If "the stuff sells. People ask for it when they come in the store" then the vacation is over.