I've been particularly prolific with the writing because I just finished a week of midterms, and I've been looking for ways to relax and blow off steam (yes, I'm a sick puppy when this is my idea of fun ;P).
Every so often I try to to read something that is from a perspective I don't hold: perhaps it's some creationist literature, or maybe it's some right-wing treatise. I'm not sure exactly why it is I do it ‒ I suppose there's a certain part of me that says in order to be fair I have to have read some of the ideas in order to criticize them. But I usually just end up going off on a rant and not really learning anything from the experience.
This post is certainly not going to be one of those rants. Instead, I've encountered something that inspired a visceral feeling I can't quite put into words... and it all started with Ann Coulter. I've tried multiple times to read some of her work ‒ books mostly ‒ and failed because she can't seem to suspend her petty put-downs long enough to present her case. Her news articles, however, are short enough to stomach, and it's here that the story begins.
I ran across her article on the Duke lacrosse team and the alleged rape of a stripper last year. While I think the rape charge was trumped up (based on other articles I read), I took particular exception to her implication that white men don't rape black women and decided to look up the rape statistics myself. What I was appalled to find was that it took me quite a lot of digging to find the actual statistics from a reliable source. Almost all of the pages I turned up initially were from white supremacists making outlandish claims about black men raping white women. One even went so far as to claim that 50% of all rapes were interracial (the actual percentage, based on the Sexual Assault Incident Reporting Database, is about 12%), and solely perpetrated by black men.
But after I found the statistics I was looking for (yes, white men do rape black women in significant numbers, although black men do more than their statistically expected share), I went back to visit some of the sites I had previously stumbled across.
And here's where I lack the words to describe what I've been feeling as I'm looking at these sites. I should be feeling pissed off, but instead I feel a sort of stunned horror that I can't quite describe. It's kind of like a little kid seeing an disembodied eyeball laying on the sidewalk and poking at it with a stick. I feel revulsed, but I'm fascinated at the same time.
I tried looking at black supremacist sites ‒ it's much harder to find real black supremacist sites than white supremacist sites, to be honest. But the ones that I did encounter made me feel rather frightened, as some of them are quite militant. Most references I found to Latino supremacy seem to be tied to Texas Syndicate, and I tried looking for Asian supremacist sites (I didn't have much luck, but I did find a web forum complaining that there weren't any Asian supremacist groups).
But I when I look at many of the white supremacist sites, I don't feel fear or anger, and I'm desperately trying to figure out why. Maybe I can't take them seriously because some of the things they say are so ludicrous that I don't know how to answer them. Maybe it's because some of the sites are so...clean, and polished, and organized. The people in the photographs are these clean-cut, good looking people with fair skin that are supposed to look wholesome and family-oriented. How do you get angry at a couple of smiling little girls? How do you fear a mother holding a new-born child? It's like watching a horror movie of a character with an all-too-perfect facade, when you know that the character is the one that's going to turn out to be the psychopath later on in the film.