I had some online fun Sunday evening.
Last year I wrote a brief piece about the white rural poor at the Daily Kos. It pivoted on Kevin Williamson's reporting that he shared at The National Review Online.
There, I alluded to how Williamson looked like a black man to me. Apparently, such a suggestion is quite problematic and insulting to him. In response he wrote:
In case you hadn’t noticed, I’m about as black as the sales staff of the Greenwich, Conn., Brooks Brothers store dancing the hokey-pokey at a Young Republicans country-club ice-cream social (all vanilla) in 1951. In the snow. That doesn’t stop DeVega from spinning his wonderfully daft conspiracy theory.In American legal history there have actually been lawsuits claiming damages from the assertion that a white person may actually be "black". Fighting over one's "real" race, especially if it is to defend "white racial purity" is an old habit in the United States. Apparently to assert that a white man is black in the Age of Obama still rises to the level of "conspiracy".
[And who knows, maybe there is a little family secret that has been kept from Kevin? There are millions of white folks in the United States who have "black ancestry" and do not know it. Passing over to whiteness was and remains a very real thing.]
Sundays are slow evenings. Looking for content, Williamson decided to write a post at the National Review about my great offense--he identifies as "white". I decided to make his response and our back and forth online on the subject into a "teachable moment". I asked a basic question, one that he and his racist Right-wing sewer dweller comrades, do not understand, "how do you know that you are not 'black'?"
[I have cousins who look like Kevin Williamson. I even tried to help him along by sending a picture of the NAACP's legendary warrior Walter Francis White].
I set the bait. Right-wing echo chamber political feces exhalation machines such as Twitchy picked up the conversation and Kevin Williamson's followers played along in great style--they even created a hashtag #kevinissowhite. Hundreds of Kevin's supporters then proceeded to leave behind an open sewer of racist comments, white supremacist talking points, obsessive mentions of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., profound misunderstandings of "the one drop rule", a few death threats, and other comments that are standard in an era when white supremacy and conservatism are now one and the same thing.
They thought #kevinissowhite was funny. It was, but not in the way they intended. As sociologists have shown, white supremacy in the post civil rights era is often communicated, especially in online spaces, through veiled efforts at humor and irony.
As the old saying goes, everyone wants to be "black" but no one wants to really be black.
Help a brother out. Was I just talking rocket science to a wino? Or is the White Right so blinded to the realities of the American color line and their hypocrisy (there is another angle to my fun with Kevin Williamson and his tribe by the way--a hint: President Obama and his identity) that they are unable to comprehend how they embarrassed themselves?