Hello, all! Long time, no type, I suppose. I’ve had my hands full these past several months re-acclimating to life outside the social-justice sphere. I knew there would be quite a gulf between my beliefs, and how I acted upon them, and the beliefs and resultant actions of most everyone else with whom I interacted in my day to day. Knowing it and experiencing it are two different things, though.
Not long after returning to proper employment, I was telling a story to co-workers that included a Breitbart reference. Despite my co-workers being avowed San Francisco liberals against any and all things Trump, they’d never heard of Breitbart at all. Ever. I tried nudging them. “You know, the right-wing news site where most of Trump’s earliest/loudest support originated.” Still nothing. I explained the reference and kept moving, but at the same time I’m thinking, “How the hell can they not know Breitbart?”
It’s been the same with anything related to police terror. Most people are aware there have been protests against police terror during the last few years, but that’s the extent of their knowledge. Saying the names of Mike Brown, Sandra Bland, Rekia Boyd, Tamir Rice or so many others will only earn you a blank stare in return. Maybe even a blink or two. Don’t even bother naming MSM, nonprofits and the state as accomplices/benefactors of police terror, or people will look at you as if you’re shouting about Illuminati and chem trails. Hell, some folks will shove you out of the way to learn more about Illuminati and chem trails instead of all this “police-terror nonsense.”
So a couple of weeks ago, a co-worker begins telling me how unfairly the Nazis generally, and Hitler specifically, have been treated by history. I thought it was a bad joke until he kept doubling down with each successive statement and soon enough he arrived at Holocaust denial. And he’d already proven adept at microaggressive statements about anyone who dared not be a cishet white man. Not to mention his partner was also our immediate supervisor. As I’m in the process of deciding who to approach with this and just how to go about it, my co-worker and I butt heads on something unrelated and he walks off the job, essentially quitting. Our supervisor/his partner demands to know why I couldn’t get along with him, and I responded with every bigoted thing I heard him say.
Needless to say, there was much drama. I emerged relatively unscathed but still had to listen to how wrong I was because my co-worker could never be the type of person I was describing, how my co-worker and supervisor were the real victims and how there were actually gray areas in all of this I perhaps hadn’t considered. In short, the exact responses I’d anticipated as I decided who to approach and how to do it. And I anticipated these responses not because we are now suddenly living in grim, ignorant times – “The Time of Trump” as people so often love to proclaim – but because we’ve always been living in grim, ignorant times, as did generations before us. We didn’t just get to Trump; we’ve always been at Trump. The Founding Fathers we just finished celebrating were committed slaveowners. Tell me again how far we’ve come.