Sunday, June 04, 2006

Deliverance

I left Rocky Mount, Virginia haunted. An entire weekend overshadowed by a series of small events that shook my core and reminded my of the dichotomy that exists in our world. All is not well in Denmark.

After the first day in Rocky Mount, I thought I'd leave the town knowing it was a little boring and remembering The Crooked Road, Virginia's Heritage Music Trail. Instead, all I remember is how nauseous I still am. We were on our way out of Rocky Mount, just making on quick stop at the tattoo parlor (yeah, I got another one), when a man walked into the shop. Something just didn't feel right about him; the air changed a bit. Like a cat, I felt the hair on my arms stand on end. Evidently he wanted one tattoo finished and wanted to talk design on a second. He kept eyeing all the women in the shop and even went so far as to make some comment toward the owner's daughter (the resident body piercer). I was still a little on edge when it came to the other patron's after a group of kids had come in earlier wanting the nazi symbol tattooed on, but I didn't pay him too much mind as I was about to head back and get a little color. However, when Allie was done and we were headed out, I realized why my guard was raised. On the computer screen was a hooded figure peering out from behind a cross. I glanced at the back of his elbow and saw the tattoo he already had for the first time, the confederate flag with the words Ku Klux Klan written above it. Even typing this I'm shaking. Are we really still there? And how dare this mother fucker hide his hatred and ignorance behind the cross and the cloak of Christianity. I don't own a gun and never will for times like that. I was hot with rage and might blown his testicles off in my rage had I had a gun. Instead, I felt bile rise in my throat and left haunted with fears of the Rocky Mounts of the world. As we stopped off in Wal-Mart, I viewed every white person with wariness and anyone nonwhite with the wonder of how much shit they must put up with. I wondered yet again where I should be. Am I hiding in the suburbs of D.C.? An ironic twist to all of this is the fact that earlier that day we ventured down to Greensboro, NC. There I stood in front of the Woolworth where the lunch boycotts began and a civil right's war was waged. The awe of the morning smashed by the present that still looks so much like the past.

6 comments:

  1. Delurking to tell you that I understand *exactly* how you feel. I am always gobsmacked when I encounter racism and then, once I'm over my shock, I oscillate wildly between rage and depression. And I always wish I could speak out or say something meaningful that could change the racist's mind, but I find racists to be, well, scary - what with all the hate and everything - and don't know how to handle that.

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  2. It must be really weird to have someone come in and ask for a Nazi symbol or something. Or anything that you, as the tattoo artist, would think is weird or wrong. I guess I hope the tattoo guy at least makes it hurt more for them.

    I'm still waiting for tattoo pictures.

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  3. I started getting nervous when I heard him talking to the tattoo guy, but sort of felt better when I talked to the daughter and she was like "man, I hope dad refuses to do that for him! That's so wrong."

    I can't even put into words how gross that makes me feel, to see someone believe in that so much they want it permanently displayed on their body.

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  4. Supposedly, the KKK is on the way downhill, but its still there, still in nearly every state. Here in Nebraska, we have, or at least had, the top Neo-Nazi in the U.S. It made me sick to think he was even living in the same state. Its sad to think that the one thing we can always count on is the hatred of the ignorant for what is different to them.

    Betcha the asshole voted Republican.

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  5. Stephanie3:17 PM

    There will always be people who hate, whether it's becauce of race or religion or political affiliation. Unfortunately the Klan will always exist because people pass that crap down from generation to generation.
    What's with the republican comment though...does voting republican make you lower than Klan memebers?

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  6. they're about even in my mind

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