Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Oklahoma! OK!

I have a message for you. You are disgraceful. You have violated all that we stand for. You should not have the privilege of calling yourselves “Sooners.” Real Sooners are not racist. Real Sooners are not bigots. Real Sooners believe in equal opportunity. Real Sooners treat all people with respect. Real Sooners love each other and take care of each other like family members.

And Boomer Sooner goes the dynamite!

The thing is, I don't think this message should be limited only to whom it's directed; it's something everyone needs to heed. I've been a white person in the South, which means I've heard similar ear-assaults. The funny thing about white bigots is that, when they're among other white bigots (or assume that the white people in their company are fellow bigots), they'll really let that stuff fly. As stupid as they are for harboring that racism, they're not too stupid to hold it in in mixed company, or to write it off as a joke if they're caught on it. They know it's impolite, which somehow manages to make it worse than it already is.

The Sigma Alpha Epsilon video was leaked on Sunday, which was also the 50th anniversary of the Selma march, a pivotal event in the American Civil Rights Movement. Intentional timing? Who knows? But the contrast is stark. While the anniversary event brought out throngs of people and the original march itself drew a brave crowd, this video shows what happens in the increasingly small spaces where white bigots feel safe spewing their venom aloud. Those contrasting situations — and the respective reactions toward them — show where we're headed as a country, and also how far we have still to go.

At least we're marching in the direction of compassion and love.

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