I have quite a bit of family in Cincinnati, Ohio. And, since it’s only four and a half hours away from Pittsburgh, I’ve made that drive many times. So many that I’ve memorized and look forward to certain landmarks unique to it. The rush of the speed limit jumping from 55 to 70 when passing through West Virginia. The gradual change of topography as you leave Appalachia and enter Ohio. The outlet mall I’ve always meant to stop in but never actually have. The straight-away stretch near Columbus where I got my first speeding ticket. (I was going 101. I had just bought my Charger, though, so it’s excusable. Well, somewhat excusable.) The 50 foot billboard on the side of the highway an hour or so from Cincinnati that says “HELL IS REAL” in the biggest and scariest font I’ve ever seen.
And, most of all, the large farm house somewhere in the middle of Ohio with a giant Confederate flag painted on the roof.
The first time I noticed it, I had to double take to make sure my eyes weren’t playing tricks on me. The second time, I made a mental note to never, ever, ever, ever stop or get stopped for anything within a 30 mile radius of that barn.
But, as I made more and more drives to Cincinnati, something strange happened. I started looking for it. Pointing it out to people I was driving with, like a museum tour guide showing off a painting. (“Note the expert craftsmanship as each star was delicately and evenly painted. You have to marvel at the detailed racism…“) And, if I was so focused on the drive that I missed it, I’d actually get…disappointed.
Part of this “appreciation” for the barn is due the fact that it’s a long, boring drive, so you look forward to certain things to stay engaged. But, even more than that, egregious examples of racism just aren’t seen very often in polite society. Pittsburgh aint exactly the most progressive place on Earth. But as racially stunted as this city might be, you’re just not going find many proud out-of-the-closet racists. And a small part of me — a very, very small part — appreciates the type of honesty that barn conveys.
After years of hearing everyone from Donald Sterling to Donald Trump awkwardly and insincerely deny their racism after getting caught doing or saying some unambiguously racist shit, it’s kind of refreshing to see someone who happily broadcasts “Yup. I’m racist. Racist as the fuck. I have two pleasures in life. Hating niggers and eating bacon. And I just ran out of bacon.”
This is why I was kinda disappointed in Sterling’s CNN mea culpa. If you’re reading this, Mr. Sterling, I have a question for you. Why deny your racism now? You’re a trillionaire with like 17 minutes left to live. What do you have to lose? Own that shit, Crip walk off the set, and give the camera a peace sign right before your spleen explodes.
And this is why, while a part of me hates Robert Copeland for calling President Obama a nigger, another, more disturbing part of me thought his “explanation”…
“I believe I did use the ‘N’ word in reference to the current occupant of the Whitehouse,” Copeland wrote in the April email sent to the two other commissioners and forwarded to O’Toole. “For this, I do not apologize – he meets and exceeds my criteria for such.”
…was the most bad-ass thing I’ve ever heard.
Racists of America, if you’re reading this, please follow Copeland’s and the owner of the barn in Ohio’s lead and step your bitch-ass games up. This is the 21st century. We have a Black president and a Black God now. What the hell are you waiting for? America is browning right before our eyes. It’s time for you to be out, proud, and loud.
Sure, I’ll hate you for it, but it’ll be appreciative hate.