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Words never truer spoken from my big brother..... again, proud lil sis ova here! He has a way of putting my thoughts and feelings into written words so much better than i could..... long, but true and WORTH it:
It looks like one of the exposed Nazis is from Mason, Ohio, or at least spent significant time there recently.
Mason is where I grew up. I attended Mason City Schools from 4th grade until graduation.
I'm absolutely disgusted, angry, and ashamed. What I'm NOT is surprised or shocked.
There's always been an extremely racist and bigoted undercurrent in SW Ohio. I've written about it for many years online, 14 to be exact. It's a nasty cesspool that bubbles below the surface, the "polite racism" where people go straight Klan with their clique, but talk in code in polite company. The people that fly the stars and bars and spit vitriol when they feel safe, but when called out claim "heritage", even though they can't name a single detail about their distant family. It was disgusting then and it's disgusting now.
My junior year, I was friends with one of the only black dudes in my school. We bonded over a shared love of skating and punk rock. His name was Stanley, and he was a year younger than me. Another kid, Joe, wanted to fight Stanley one day, simply because Stanley was black. You see, Joe fancied himself a neo-Nazi and alternated the window dressings of his bedroom in his family's home with both the Civil War Participation Ribbon and the Nazi flag... in suburbia, in a nice neighborhood. Where his parents were in all this, I don't know. But I drove Stanley to the fight that day. Joe walked out of his house with quarter rolls in each fist and proclaimed, "Come get some, c**n n***er" chic graduation ceremony collections
***I'm only censoring these words to avoid online filters. If it were truly my choice, I would not do so because I think, in context, that exact quotes should be used to convey the message the sender truly intends. However, should someone report this post out of petty spite, the presence of those words will trip FB's algorithm and it will be deleted. I'm not going to be silenced by bullshit hypocrisy and automatic IT coding.
Anyway, once we made Joe lose the fist-packs it wasn't even close, Stanley wiped the floor (and the front fender of my Mazda truck) with that hateful little twat's face. You'd think that maybe, just maybe, it would lead to some respect. But it really didn't. The next year, Stanley transferred to another school district. Before he left, he told me that it was his mother's choice because of the racist elements in the town and that she didn't feel comfortable having her son in such an environment.
That was 1996. A Nazi in Mason, Ohio.
The next year, my senior year, involved me a bit more directly. If you're a Gen-Xer, you probably remember how Malcolm X became a fashion brand in the 90's. You couldn't go anywhere without seeing shirts and hats emblazoned with an "X" for several years.
Apparently, that didn't sit well with the bigots in my school. Several of them went to the flea market and bought shirts with a lightning embossed Union Army Field Bidet. The caption underneath? "You wear your X, I'll wear mine". There was even one person at my school that wore a shirt with masked Klan members with the caption "The original 'Boyz n' the Hood'". The latter, however, was not worn at school, but still quite proudly outside of school activities.
Some friends and I decided that this whole thing was bullshit. We decided to make our own shirts. We decorated plain tees with slogans like "The war ended last century, you lost, get over it", and other similar slogans. Not a syllable of profanity, no insinuations of violence, nothing that explicitly violated any portion of the school's dress code.
I was promptly called to the office and threatened with suspension for "being a distraction". At this point, I was preparing to leave Mason and move on to the next chapter of my life, and was afraid that getting suspended would negatively affect my goals.
So I capitulated. I protested, but in the end I backed down. To this day, not standing up and fighting this is one of my biggest regrets.
That was 1997. Administrative protection for students that promoted racist hate, and suspensions for those who countered. *Edit: it has been brought to my attention that the other kids were threatened with suspension. I was told otherwise by the administration at the time. I cannot prove or disprove this anecdote, but my perception has been disputed*
Mason has changed quite a bit since then, but that undercurrent has always remained. There's been an influx of money, but there are still plenty of people from the old guard to those from my generation that promote hate and bigotry... and are now raising the next generation with their same skewed values.
People will wring their hands, act surprised, shocked, clutch their pearls, and post some self-serving bullshit to preserve their image and distance themselves. But they're not fooling anyone. It's the same old sentiments and the same old "let's just pretend it doesn't exist" mentality that's been around since I was a child. It's the unwillingness to confront themselves as being complicit with the most vile groups in existence because deep down, they know they need them as allies to accomplish their side's other goals.
Ironically, it's these same people who loudly insist and demand that moderate members of other groups and religions denounce their extreme elements while performing mental gymnastics to rationalize those same elements on their team.
So no, I am not shocked in any way shape or form to find out that one of these racist cockroaches scurried out from under the shiny fridge that is my hometown's new image, because they simply installed it on top of a layer of scum that had been there for decades.
I wonder now, what will it finally take? I fully realize that not everyone who voted for Trump is a racist, a white supremacist, or a Nazi. But they're in your house. The longer you let them stay, the less convincing it becomes that it's just a temporary stop. Considering that the right side of the political aisle has catered to this type of hate since Nixon's "Southern Strategy", many would say that train has left the station.
The next few days will bring all kinds of analyses and "how did this happen?" comments from people who simply don't want to admit they were looking the other way while this hate festered and grew right under their noses.
I didn't mean for this to be so long, so thanks for reading. I just think it needed to be said.
If you think I'm full of it, that's fine. I've been fighting hate since I was a child, nothing you say will change that or me. Feel free to go back to ranting and foaming at the mouth over athletes who won't stand for a fucking song.
The crickets are singing every note of yours.