By OMAR KHAN
As much as I’d love to see a full on race war that everyone’s been talking about, I really haven’t seen any racism near me. Finally when I meet a racist, he started to ramble about world peace and equality. Something about trying to bring some alt right racists and some hard core liberal hedgehogs to true peace and bliss. When I saw his motivation I decide to fuck it and watch him roll. Of course this serious mission had no place for jokes so of course the man who taught me about the alt right felt like an actual joke. It’s one thing to hear about the alt right and the chaos and hate they bring, but seeing a nice, charming, blue eyed white guy talk about legitimizing the (critically, I only seek to legitimize some of the) grievances of a community I’ve never seen, I couldn’t help but think I’m about to start one hell of dance with the devil.
Al describes himself as, a DMT junkie whose dharma is that of one of bringing people together. He believes that to truly bring together a fallen apart society we call modern day America, we need to understand the legitimate grievances of minorities including the alt right. However as an upstanding member of liberal society I had no idea what kind grievances these alt right had. I personally haven’t encountered someone who willing called himself a part of the alt right.. However when I met this man, in war torn clothes with a hikers backpack, I felt like he would be fun to have around. My natural instinct propelled me to an odd encounter and I sensed with my absent third eye that hopefully it would bring me some real-time excitement. As my partially autistic body guard talked to this intriguing man about the Rothschild’s conspires (presents opportunity for false inference; I was trying to debunk Steve’s fixation on the Rothschild’s) I had to talk to people who were intrigued with the idea of peace. What irony as the peace I was peddling was the one they were living in. A peace so bliss and just that they need not worry about the struggles of minorities let alone a racist one.
Is condemnation of a group that hates your guts the right answer? I’m not one to be the bigger man and as my partially autistic big man of a bodyguard would say, “I wouldn’t get along with a scumbag like that”. Of course growing up in a school district where there was only a handful of white kids in my grade district, made me a little scared of what lies in the outside white world and more importantly the fear implanted in me of the unknown thoughts of a white man on brown folk. Post 9-11 America was the only America I knew, by being blessed to live in diverse community I also feared the inevitable racial tensions of leaving said community.
So skip through a couple of months, when Rutgers starts being bombarded with hate flyers from Identity Evropa, my pal Al decided that it might be a smart to put up one of his own.
From my short times with Al, the last thing I could classify Al as was a racist. However he really wanted to don the moniker to prove a point. I personally wouldn’t get offended by a piece of paper, but words hit people like a shotgun, in a lot of different places. I didn’t realize people cared till a friend on social media, was hit so strong she indented NOT onto into the logo. Luckily for me that prompted me to realize what he had done. People were actually pissed at someone I saw as harmless. The word itself created more of a monster then the man who said it. (Al would argue that she chose to get incensed about it because his statements violate norms about what ideologies we are permitted to criticize based on which groups they render explicit benefit to, and which groups they explicitly penalize, scapegoat, or exclude.)
The same friend ended up posting that some kind of group were giving flowers to fight against all this hate that’s being spread around campus. A commendable cause. Of course to Al, his purist of world peace from racial inequality, he thought he should also do something similar.
So Al bought 50 roses and started walking around Cook/Douglass passing out flowers to everyone who walked on two feet, and I begrudgingly followed and recorded the whole thing. As he passed out the flowers he would say “Would you take a flower from a racist” and every time I’d cringe. People are generally pretty confused when someone offers them anything free but some people in particular got extremely offended and ignored him like a oujjia board on Friday the 13th. Which is kind of his point, once someone is labeled as a racist, they are socially ostracized and treated as subhuman and so is their voice. (“Voice” is very elegant, but personally I think it undermines my whole point, namely that any viewpoint or perspective, which sees whites as being collectively punished on false pretenses, is considered invalid. Then again, IDK, maybe just keep “voice”.)
One thing I appreciated the most was that colored folk like me were the ones who ended up actually trying to talk to him instead of just ignoring and demonizing him. Those dialogues felt progressive and worth all the work. Al’s got a weird set of beliefs, but anyone who wants to avoid a race war, by creating dialogue between two sets of people who hate each other, might have some merit in digging into. (Al would argue that everything new looks ‘weird’ in the beginning.)