Whenever I mention at a party or gathering that I’m moving to [a majority Republican state in middle America], I always get the same reactions from the white radicals who generally attend gatherings at my white radical house. “Why?” “God, how awful for you!” “What on earth are you going to do THERE?” “I would never be able to move there. There are just so many rednecks.” “It’s so white there!”
Yes, I know that you are radical. I know that you voted for Obama only because he was the lesser of two evils. I know that you are an anti-racist, so you have no desire to hang around other white people (except for this party, apparently). I can see that you are ridiculously enlightened, because nobody in their right (or should I say left?) mind would voluntarily move to [a majority Republican state in middle America].
I understand that you have been to Europe. I understand that you stayed in hostels in London, Paris, and Amsterdam (and yes, I understand that they’re so enlightened there that you were able to buy weed in a café). I understand that you have even ventured to dangerous non-white countries in Africa and Latin America, always travelling off the beaten path.
I understand that you are far too worldly and well-travelled for [a majority Republican state in middle America].
But with all due respect, shut the hell up.
For one, you’re acting like I don’t know what I’m getting into. And it’s a little bit rude to immediately scorn a decision that I spent a lot of time weighing and calculating. But you know what, I don’t mind that. That’s why I’m moving there and you’re not.
But secondly, in your attempt to sound worldly and cultured, you actually just end up sounding like a dumb-ass. When you think about it, middle America is just as foreign for folks like me and you as Antarctica. And majority Republican states in middle America deserve the same culturally relative approach that you supposedly took with you to Mexico and South Africa and wherever else you went backpacking recently.
Your immediate dismissal of the place just shows that you are prejudiced against something you haven’t even seen, and you have no intention of ever finding out whether your prejudice is warranted. I freely admit that I have my own preconceptions. But I don’t go spouting them off at parties – ’cause I haven’t BEEN there.
I wasn’t born yesterday. I can read statistics. I realize that I’m going to a place where very few people identify as I do. But you didn’t care about that when you went to OTHER racist, anti-gay countries where people thought differently. In fact, you came back having actually LEARNED something from the ass-backwards racism in London and Paris. So why is middle America different?
Thirdly, you wonder why right-wingers say the left is vitriolic and hateful – it’s because we are. No, I don’t think it’s ever okay to form militias to drive brown people into Mexico. But you can be critical of policies and doctrines without being a douchebag. Like it or not, we are going to have to integrate middle-America Republicans into our brave new America when the revolution comes. They’re not going to just disappear because you think they’re stupid. We need dialogue, not dismissal.
I’m not excited about leaving a hotbed of political activism, but I don’t think I have nothing to learn from where I’m going.