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Can't Miss Slants

Why I’m a Racist POS

Where/when I grew up, there weren’t a lot of black people around. Not to say that there weren’t any racists there, but that you just didn’t see it because everyone was white. The village of Folsom (where I grew up) had about 500 people, 1 was black; an old man, Mr. Ronnie. Nice guy, kept mostly to himself (why didn’t even cross my mind back then). Went to private schools until 10th grade, so that was all white and once I switched to a public school in 10th, it wasn’t really all that different. My graduating class was around 300 and maybe 10 of them were black and like 3 Asians. Not a lot of diversity and I really never gave race a second thought. To me, back then, the rebel flag was about being a Southerner; something that you’re supposed to be really proud of down there. I even had a bumper sticker on my first truck that said, “American by birth, Southerner by the grace of God.”, and I’m an Atheist (although I didn’t admit it back then as the deep South is not a good place to turn your back on God). I got the tattoo after Army boot camp while waiting for AIT to start and even though there was a lot more diversity there, I still didn’t get exposed to what it meant to other people…this is the first place I witnessed a rap battle tho. Anyway, came back home since I was just in the National Guard and joined the Navy about 18 months later. Boot camp, nuke school, no issues. It wasn’t until my first ship where one of the guys I became good friends with (a black guy) kind of sat me down and talked to me about it.

I’m still proud of being from the South because places like Wisconsin suck dirty hamster balls, but I now understand that it means different things to different people. Funny thing is, growing up in a non-diverse life made me not racist…I never learned to hate for anything other than the type of person someone is. Of course, that type of environment doesn’t work for most as with very few exceptions, my family and friends from back then are very racist now. That was never more clear to me than the time I came home for Mardi Gras with some shipmates; 2 white guys and a black guy (the friend mentioned above). The plan was to stay at my father’s house, but after we were there for about 10 minutes, my father pulled me aside and told me, “That nigger isn’t staying here.” After a heated exchange, we all left and ended up staying at a cousin’s house. I couldn’t even bring myself to tell Reese the real reason why we left; I just said that it was some bad blood between my father and I. He bought that as I had told them about his drinking and all.

 

-Nichols