Sunday, November 06, 2005
COLUMN: Racism Is Just Ignorant
People can be really, really stupid sometimes. In my world, that's usually a good thing.
From a humor writer's perspective, stupid is gold. You might see someone being stupid and turn away in disgust. Me? I'll look at the same person and my eyes will turn into little dollar signs like in the old cartoons. Ladies and gentlemen, stupid is my bread and butter.
The problem is, occasionally people show up on the grid who are SO incomprehensibly stupid that they step over the realm of what I like to call mockability. People who are SO ridiculous that, instead of being able to sum them up in a funny little column, all I can do is stare open-mouthed and wonder why I have to share air with these people. Being stupid is funny; being IGNORANT is just sad.
I hate those news-magazine shows like "20/20" and "Dateline," yet inexplicably the other night I found myself watching "Primetime Live." That's when I saw them: The Most Ignorant People on Earth. Ever. If you happened to catch the show, you probably already know what I'm talking about.
I will NEVER understand racism. I can't thank my parents enough for bringing me up in a world free of that stuff. No, I'm not a fool; racism's around us all every day. It's just that, as a child, it was never part of MY world. The first time I was ever exposed to racism was on the nightly news, and I just couldn't understand it. Here were people just openly HATING other people. For no discernable reason whatsoever. The 10 year old me didn't get it. The 34 year old me STILL doesn't get it.
And no, I'm not some kind of hippie peacenik, either. I'm not going to tell you not to hate people. There are people out there well worth hating, trust me. The guy who stole my girlfriend that one time? I hate that dude. The snitty tech support lady I had to wait 30 minutes on the phone just for the pleasure of hearing her attitude? Oh, I really hate her. Tom Cruise? Heck, we all hate Tom Cruise.
But to hate someone for the color of their skin? Oh, gimme a break. I just don't get it. People have different skin color because their ancestors grew up in different parts of the world. Big whoop. My ancestors are from Sweden and Germany. Your ancestors could be from Zimbabwe or Djibouti. Who cares? Should we hate Iowans because they're from Iowa? Of COURSE not. You and I both know that we should hate Iowans because they're bad drivers. (Just kidding. Kinda.) This brings us to the aforementioned spectacle on "Primetime Live," where we learned all about the butterflies-n-happiness world of Prussian Blue.
Prussian Blue are two sweet little 13-year-old girls. Blonde hair, blue eyes, and smiles that even Hayley Mills would've been jealous for. They're cute as buttons. And oh, yeah, they also wear the "cutest" little Adolf Hitler smiley-face t-shirts and sing songs of white supremacy.
There had better be a special place in Hell for these girls' mother. It became WAY obvious during the segment that these poor kids just don't know any better. They've just listened to their mom espouse ignorant hatred all their lives, and now they're just puppets in this sick show.
There should ALSO be a special place in Hell for the Primetime Live people. By featuring these kids, they're giving these ridiculous white supremacists exactly what they want: attention. And they approached the story from the angle of, "They're cute and loveable. They're the Olsen Twins of hate." The underlying message of the segment appeared to be that these wholesome-looking kids could be invading the pop charts at any day.
What Primetime Live failed to mention is that, while Prussian Blue are alarmingly cute little kids, they're also alarmingly AWFUL. They might look sweet, but they sound like two cats that ventured a little too close to the ol' rocking chair. It's the kind of awful that makes William Hung sound GOOD. Happily, you won't be hearing Casey Kasem say the name Prussian Blue anytime in the near future.
Yet Primetime Live tells us that our kids could fall sway to their demented songs of hate. Okay, check this out. This is an actual line of lyric from one of their songs. Sing along, everybody! "Who will face the end and watch a Valkyrie ride forth/ To join the gods and fallen stormtroopers of the North?" Happily, it turns out that white supremacists aren't so hot with the rhyme meter.
Still, Primetime tells us to be very afraid. And, in fact, I am. I'm really afraid that we live in a world where people are willing to exploit two little kids in the name of hate. Afraid that this is the sad result of our generation's well-intentioned fight for 1st Amendment rights. Afraid that no social service is within legal bounds of stormtrooping their house and rescuing these poor kids from their upbringing. Afraid that Rosa Parks died last week and there are kids out there who don't know what she did for our country. It's not funny. It's not even stupid. It's just ignorant.