I am as white as white can be in the USA.
As blue collar as WHITE blue collar can be, working in a factory.
If you look at me with my shaved head, I could be a buddhist monk or… a Neo nazi.
I Identify as a LIBERAL.
Although that is my self-designated political identity, I CAN empathize with and understand how the OTHERS feel and are. Those other white folks that hate folks like me. The same kind of people that own the company I work for and that I work with.
I can EMPATHIZE with THEM when I hear the people next door talking SPANISH all the time. Or people in the grocery store. Or see some woman with a head covering or a man with her dressed a little differently. I can hear the SHADOW murmurs of bigotry in me muttering about “dammit the language here is ENGLISH!” Or, an impulse to ridicule the woman with the head scarf or any person that my SHADOW self deems to be what THAT SHADOW SELF views as not traditionally “American”.
I have a harder time empathizing with any whites that want to say bad things about blacks. To use that filthy “N” word I take pride in NEVER HAVING CALLED ANYONE! Not even in my most angry moments with any person of color. Theirs or mine. It has always shown people to be LOW to me. There have been times when I felt disgust with a BLACK coworker for how he is … but I have NEVER called him the “N” word like a fellow worker often does or refers to him as such. I understand WHY they use THAT word. It is to make the OTHER more “OTHER” and dehumanize them and thus REMOVE ALL CHANCES FOR EMPATHY. It breaks the human connection and bond they do not want. They want to continue hating because hate is difficult when you feel some connection with someone and see they are a little like you. That Mirror Image Of Humanity.
When I HEAR and SEE that SHADOW person inside myself resenting people very different from me, I reach for my INTELLECT AND RATIONAL THINKING. I remember the DIVERSITY of this country and how there have been WAVES of immigrants over the years from all over the world. My ancestors among them. I am sure groups of them were spat upon in one of those waves. I think of how this is what the USA is made of and has been made of: ALL. ALL PEOPLE IN THE WORLD. Every place. Every religion. Most languages and cultures. Some hold to them proudly and stubbornly and often add them to the melting pot of the USA. I remember that the American flag is NOT ONLY red, white and blue: It is the color of every skin every eye every heart and every HUMAN that comes here. Unlike the SHADOW self bigot I could become, I see the USA as BEING the IMMIGRANTS that try to come here legally or illegally. The voices in Spanish, Chinese, Russian, German or Canadian that come here. Sometimes walking through my neighborhood I smell America and wonder in my bigoted way laughing at myself…. “Who in the hell is eating GARLIC at 8AM!”.
That is the USA that is rational and REAL.
It goes far beyond the shots of SHADOW bigotry I and so many others think and feel THEN LET GO.
Because in a way that is part of us but we DO NOT BECOME THAT.
As that bigotry BECAME so many in the Right Wing.