by Rosh Koch | Our Voice Editor-in-Chief
At every large gathering of people there always seems to be that one guy who is obnoxious, boisterous, and a bit too over-aggressive. These completely insensitive turd birds know they are too much and make no apology excuses for being rude and overbearing. For the sake of peace, everyone else acquiesces to their inclusion and quietly wonders who the hell invited them anyway.
My fellow 'Mericans, we are THAT guy.
To be clear, we have quietly been THAT guy for awhile now. We have just taken our THAT guy attitude, image, and behavior and amped it up. Someone told us it was okay to act like this and to just let loose with it.
I read an article earlier this week about a group of frat boys at a resort cruise excursion in Cancun chanting "Build the wall!" ... while they were IN MEXICO! It is richly ironic that Donald Trump accused Mexico of sending their worst (their rapists, their criminals, their drug dealers) when our overindulgent alcoholic, drug abusing, rape culture infested wannabe tough-bros take their tactless hate mongering to the resort towns of a neighboring country and rain down their ignorant xenophobic unruliness against those very people. I’m sure their parents are so proud.
In rural Pennsylvania I see my fair share of xenophobia and misogyny. The people around here seem isolated and distant from a mosaic culture. There are no cultural melting pots or mixing bowls, it is a stark white landscape. Over the past decade, however, there has been a softening - a breaking down of racial walls and an increase in compassion and understanding.
As more families enter the rural communities the compassion begins to be seen in the heartland and that racial divide begins to fade away. Why then are we seeing a resurgence of vile hatred for hatred’s sake from a mainstream level? Our bigotry used to be hidden in the dark corners of our country. Why has it become so acceptable to openly air such old world divisiveness?
Being one who is employed by and works alongside a family of migrant workers, I have seen and heard about the good, the bad, and the ugly. Everyone in our industry agrees racism is alive and thriving in the rural north, but it is changing. The areas once reviled as racist and unwelcoming have been broken down by economic hardship and the widening wealth gap.
It is warming to see these folks begin to understand the plight of the immigrant and of the refugee. Just as our English, German, Irish, Italian, Scandinavian, or wherever-ian ancestors before us, these folks are seeking a new and better life with a fresh start. They are hard workers and proud of where they come from, but moreso proud of where they are going.
Rural racism in northern towns is slowly slipping away -- slowly -- but the amount of enthusiastic xenophobia being engaged in our mainstream culture is disturbing. Racism used to be an adjective of backwater hucklebucks, ignorant of the big multicultural world. What happened?
The European Union is proposing legislation that would require US citizens to obtain a travel visa to enter, ending a longstanding tradition of free travel to European nations. The proposal is not likely to succeed, but the fact it is being taken seriously is enough to force one to take a pause.
Foreign travelers are growing wary about traveling to the United States. People are fearful of acted out and spoken out racism, xenophobia, and violence. What a sad narrative on where we are as a nation. What scares this writer most is the thought of where we will go next if this unfettered racism is left unchecked.
This is a nation that has been built on racism and slavery. Is that the archetype we want to carry us forward?
It's time for us all to have a long look in the mirror and to have a conversation about our past, our present, and where we intend to go in the future.
I pray we end up on the right side of history.