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Street Smart

Should I be offended?


August 13, 2020

I have a sign in my bar that says, “Beer; Helping white men dance since 1885.” I bought that sign because I love the humorous truth in that statement. I know I can’t dance and anyone who has seen me try will support my claim. However, give me a beer or two and I think I’m Fred Astaire (a buddy of mine swears that I once won a dance contest while trying to make it to the bathroom, but I don’t remember that!).

I looked at that sign the other day and wondered how it would be received by the so called “counter culture” we’re all reading so much about these days. To these people, everything is offensive, so I guess, based on their vision, I should be offended by my own sign. Damn, how do I boycott my own bar? Should I burn it down or just make signs and march in front of it? Where do I go to report my own offensive behavior? Then it dawned on me that, as a white guy, I don’t have the right to be offended…everything wrong in the world is the fault of people just like me. Whew, that was a close one!

Obviously, I’m being facetious, but there is a pretty big kernel of truth in what I just said. In my opinion, these “counter culture” dimwits are entirely too sensitive and are blowing these racial issues way out of proportion.

I’ve mentioned before that I grew up in a Black neighborhood. My two best friends were a Black kid and a Mexican kid. A teacher in our junior high school referred to us as “the three Amigos” long before that was a common term (today she’d be in trouble for using the obviously racist word “amigo”). I think back on the relationship we had with one another and marvel at the way people are so easily offended now. I’d ask each reader to imagine every derogatory term you’ve ever heard for a Black, Hispanic or white person. Now, envision a group of friends (we Three Amigos) that used each of the terms you just thought of on a daily basis to make fun of one another. That’s the way I grew up. We called each other by the most offensive/inflammatory terms we could come up with (most learned from each of our admittedly bigoted fathers…a story for another time) and laughed at one another’s creativity. Our challenge was to come up with a better insult than the one just aimed at us. We loved it and never saw the ‘offensive’ aspect. We made fun of all of the racial stereotypes and had a great time doing it. We called it “playing the dozens” back then, but I don’t know if that term is used anymore. Google it. A great example of this is shown in the movie Remember the Titans. If you haven’t seen it, it’s a movie worth watching. There is a locker room scene where the Black guys on the football team start playing “the dozens” (we also called them ‘mama jokes’) with some unsuspecting white teammates. It ends up hilarious and is an accurate depiction of the relationship I’m trying to describe.

The racial relationships I just described bled over into my law enforcement career. I worked a variety of small, but very ethnically diverse units. The overall daily interaction with my co-workers was much like the relationship with my friends growing up. We were absolutely (and I believe hilariously) brutal in the way we made fun of one another and that all contributed to the sense of brotherhood we felt. We could comfortably call each other names that would make these counter culture idiots puke! And…we did it everyday. We just didn’t have the issues we read so much about today.

An interesting aspect of the scenarios I just described is the way we all felt about and protected one another. It’s hard to describe but I’ll try with this example. I (as a white guy) could call my Black friend the most inflammatory name (we all know what that is) and he would just come back at me with something equally insulting. As wrong as the counter culture would view this, we saw it all as funny. However, someone who was not in our circle of friends couldn’t get away with the same behavior. We never analyzed the "why" of that, but it’s all true. I could insult my friend with racial slurs and we’d both laugh about it. Anyone else trying the same thing would have a fight on their hands. A Black guy, who wasn’t a friend, couldn’t come up and call me a ‘cracker’ without repercussion (usually at the hands of my Black buddy). We looked at each other as brothers and were very protective.

Racism is a real thing and I get that (my dad made Archie Bunker look like a rank beginner!). However, I’ve lived both sides of the issue and believe that all of the racial tension we’re reading about and seeing on the news is way overblown. Now, according to the counter culture idiots, everything bad that happens to a "person of color" (I hate that term!) is because of racism. Have any of these people considered that maybe, just maybe, what happened to a person had nothing to do with the color of their skin and everything to do with that person’s behavior. People should be held accountable for their actions regardless of race, sex, religion, sexual preference or political affiliation (if I forgot anything I’m sure it will be pointed out to me!). What we see on the news is a small percentage of these "victims" getting the lions share of the media attention. I’ve said before that I think racism (and all other “isms”) would die of natural causes if the liberals would just quit resurrecting them and/or keeping them on life support.

I’m done with my rant. I gonna go watch Blazing Saddles and have a good laugh!

Blaine Blackstone is a retired Los Angeles Police Sergeant who enjoys the simpler life in Thompson Falls. He can be reached by email at [email protected]


Reader Comments(1)

newjlg7 writes:

I enjoy your column. Thank you for the common sense.


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