I have a confession to make: I’m white. Whew! It feels good to get that off my chest. If you don’t believe me, I’ll show you all the moves I learned from my “Learn to Breakdance” poster I had back in 1983. See, check this out:
Watch me moonwalk. Check out this headspin. Now, the windmill! See, I told you. In fact, that last move wasn’t even a windmill — I was just dizzy from being way too heavy to do a headspin. Dadgum! I’m out of breath!
Because I’m white, I can joke about white people in general. Jewish comedians can crack jokes about Jews. Black comedians can make black audiences laugh until they cry while joking about black issues.
But we’re still a long way from being able to safely cross some lines. For instance, when Will Smith slapped Chris Rock at the Oscars last year, nearly all condemnation was targeted at Will Smith. However, if it had been Ricky Gervais or Larry the Cable Guy making the same comments about Jada’s hair, the vast majority of people in America would have defended Will Smith and talked about how racist and out of touch the white comedian was. There are just some places you don’t go.
And, likewise, what if 9/11 had happened with Obama in office? Even if it were the exact same circumstances, the reaction would have been so different. The calls for unity would be drowned out by the white right-wingers coming to the White House with pitchforks.
I long for a day when this melting pot of America has been stirred up enough that skin color, ethnicity, national origin, sexual identity and such becomes so blurred that we truly are one people. It ain’t gonna happen in my lifetime, unfortunately. There are folks walking around today who remember when there were “whites only” water fountains and segregated schools. It wasn’t that long ago.
And I’m sure some white guys like me would love to publicly voice opinions such as not being big fans of boys walking around with pants just above their knees or that it would be nice to pump gas without cars blaring rap songs with the n-word every four seconds. Some of us would like to hear no one ever use the n-word again.
But, if you do broadcast such an opinion as a white person, you run the risk of being branded out-of-touch, prejudiced or even racist. It’s a shame because honest dialogue is a good thing, though too many folks on the left and right run from it nowadays.
I’d like to think we can finally stop worrying about racism. Haven’t we finally gotten past all of that? Let’s move on. Let’s move forward. Right? Can I get an amen?
And then Mark Taylor comes along.
I had never heard of this guy until this week. Apparently, he has been a coach at a couple of schools here in Houston County where I live and in recent years has been a prominent trainer who has helped many young athletes excel and become superstars. He’s got pictures with folks like Nick Saban and Kirby Smart — who right now are looking for those photos so that they can burn them and any evidence they ever met this guy.
Because Mark Taylor is an actual, verified, proud racist. I don’t think he’s ever lynched anybody, but he’s joked about it. I don’t think he has ever literally hunted black people with a gun, but he has joked about that, too. And he definitely likes using the n-word.
How do I know? Because the fool filmed himself doing all of this racist stuff and more. He thinks it’s funny.
I only know about him because a Facebook friend posted a simple question on Facebook: “What’s going on over in Houston County?” I had no idea what he was talking about, so I checked the comments.
The story is now all over the web. The videos are everywhere. Mark Taylor is infamous. Google him. He has reassured worriers that, yes, racism is alive and well.
Particularly bothersome for me who has had so many black co-workers and friends is what I hear from about 1 percent of people on one side and 1 percent of people on the other.
One 1 percent is black people suggesting — or saying outright — that this is the way all white people are when they are in private. They believe we all say racist stuff and make sick jokes behind their backs. I hate that, but I understand why some now have doubts that they might not have had last week or have had previous doubts cemented and apparently affirmed by this idiot’s actions.
The other 1 percent says this is about the First Amendment. Those are the kinds of folks who think you have the right to say anything without consequences. In other words, they don’t understand the First Amendment. That amendment is about keeping the government from squashing your speech, not about freeing you from any types of consequences for voicing unpopular opinions.
This guy’s comments aren’t opinion anyway. They’re just a sign of a mental illness that has taken root in his brain. In recent years, many Mark Taylors in America think they now have carte blanche to express racist views. They think it’s now OK. Again.
Now, I’m troubled. I wonder if the black friends that I grew up with and black friends I’ve made in the decades since wonder if there’s one iota of Mark Taylor in me.
“I thought Chris was OK, but now this. Plus, he doesn’t like the n-word from anybody, doesn’t want to see boys’ underwear and hates today’s rap music. Maybe he is a touch racist.”
Well, I wish I had the words to express how sick Mark Taylor and his ilk make me. But, for once, I can’t find any. If it makes you feel any better, though, I also hate today’s “country” music, which is about as white as anything gets.