Saturday, July 07, 2012

Controversial conference draws racial lines

From CBS42 in Birmingham, Alabama, courtesy of a facebook friend:

Down a dirt road near the imaginary line that separates Marion and Lamar counties there is a gathering of people seeking a very different sort of divide - along racial lines.

Flyers for the three day event say "Annual Pastors Conference All White Christians Invited."

The organizers say they are just following their religious faith and not motivated by racism. It's put on by Christian Identity Ministries and the Church of God's Chosen. Organizers say some of the church members are also members of the Ku Klux Klan, but KKK membership is not required to participate. However, being a "white Christian"- is.

"We don't have the facilities to accommodate other races and we have nothing not one bit of animosity no racism whatsoever," said Pastor William J. Collier, Christian Identity Ministries.

Some people who live in the area are outraged the flyers that promoted the event- and the idea behind them.

More here.

Clearly, this is just a white supremacist event--the Christian Identity movement has long been understood to be nothing more than Southern race hatred cloaked in religious imagery. So this is just a manifestation of kooky old school KKK styled racism. I mean, this is not as if some actual Christian church was having a whites-only conference. These are fucked up redneck assholes, and if you click through to see the video report, you can even see how their spokesman is missing some teeth. Seriously. White trash scum.

But what gets me about this story is how the hardcore racists use the same rhetorical tactic, or perhaps, the same kind of intellectual denial, that countless mainstream whites across the US employ: "Yeah, it's whites only, but that doesn't make it racist; there are no racists here." I mean, obviously, these guys are, in fact, total racists. But what about all those Republicans who support voter ID laws that ultimately suppress the non-white vote? They say they want to combat voting fraud, which isn't really a problem, but support laws that are the modern day equivalent of Jim Crow. They don't think they're racists, either. What about all those anti-welfare voices that go on and on and on about how people ought to work? You can bet your booty that the face of the welfare recipient they're seeing in their heads is black. These people insist they're not racist, too. What about people who are scared shitless of street crime? What about people who support the War on Drugs? What about people who freak out about people speaking Spanish?

It's like, what the fuck is racism, anyway?

If you support ideas, philosophies, and policies that end up oppressing non-white people, then you support racism. You're a racist. You may very well be willing to break bread with black people, may very well be willing to have a friendly conversation with people who are not white, but how the hell does your hospitality ethic and sense of good manners get you off the hook for supporting keeping people of color down?

So many whites think the era of racism is over, but all that happened is that these people simply found a clever way to think of themselves as not racist. Redefine racism in a way that gets you off the hook and, poof, you're no longer a racist--you're one of the good guys. That's why these well mannered white people who don't care if you're black, brown, pink, or green totally freak the fuck out when you call them on their bullshit. They fucking said they're not racist, so they're not racist. How dare you call them racist?

We've still got a very long way to go.