There are still people around who refer to African-Americans by that term. I met one, today. That she's also a Tea-Bagger should come as no surprise...nor should the fact that she's elderly and has a black maid. So what was my reaction? I changed the subject.
I'm torn about that. I mean, the woman was a client and she's old so nothing I say will change her mind and might get the job cancelled. But still, I let this woman's casual racism pass without comment. And why did I do that? To be honest, I wanted to understand why she thought such nonsense, because by this point I'd already learned she's lived in other countries and traveled extensively. So as I packed books, I got her to talk about her travels and her life and history...and I came to see that she was probably the epitome of an "Ugly American." The type who think the world revolves around them, and that their way is the right way and nothing else matters. God, the things she said about the Japanese along with quick snide references to British Jews and the Chinese. I felt like I was living in 1954.
And now all her friends are dead, as is most of her family, and all she has besides her two dogs and a beat-up cat is Fox News, where everyone thinks like she does -- "We of the upper-class white race are entitled to whatever we want because we're better than anyone else." And I pity her. I could write a character like her and make you feel for them, I think, because they're so displaced in the world of today, it's actually sad. Not sad enough to want to go back to how things were -- no, that I'd fight like and animal -- but these people are lost and will never be found, even after they die. And they just cannot understand that.
What mitigates my sadness is that there are so many of them across the country -- even in positions of leadership. Look at the governors of Texas and Arizona and the Sheriff of Phoenix. Look at Haley Barbour and Lindesy Graham and John McCain, not to mention Rush Limbaugh and the ever-growing psychosis of Glen Beck. They honestly cannot see how diseased they are. It's more than sad and disgusting...it's scary, in too many ways.