What Just Happened Here?


This must be rather boring for most white people.  I get that.  I imagine this gets filed under ‘who really cares?’  Imagine the aroma that results from a magical spell cast by a character in Dungeons and Dragons, after the character has left the scene where the imaginary spell has been cast.  I never gave an imaginary shit about Dungeons and Dragons as a kid, and I am struggling to arrive at the quintessence of the highly contrived ‘I don’t care.’  This is how I imagine white Americans feel when they hear about black Americans pondering racism.  

I confess, white people, sometimes you absolutely confound me.  I’m well into middle age now, and I have crested the hill where I thought all people would hold hands and sing Coke commercials, and then settle down into an evening camp of mutual respect.  Forty years ago, I thought  we’d be there by now.  Not only are we not there, I don’t see us getting there in my lifetime…if ever.  I’m trying not to care about that anymore either.  But, I have to admit that there is one aspect of how white Americans think and act that continues to blow my mind.  I just can’t quit you crazy accidental racist fuckers.  (Sorry about the strong language.  Feel free to replace the objectionable word with prejudiced). 

Yesterday, a driver for NASCAR got caught in one of those accidental/intentional/accidental/intentional demonstrations of racism, followed by the heartfelt apology.  This is where the preju-bigots confuse me.  

Let me back up a minute.  First, you need some background on this serious/absolutely meaningless event.  We…and by that I mean the people of Earth…are now in a sort of quarantine because of Covid-19, a virulent virus that has killed 116, 279 people worldwide as of today.  As of yet, there is no vaccine, and no test informed map to indicate where we are safe to be around one another, and where we are not.  

As a result of that, most travel, interaction, and business activity is in hiatus.  Schools are closed.  Many businesses are closed.  Restaurants are closed, and operating as take-out where possible.  Way down the line of importance is the fact that our multi-faceted sport preoccupation has been essentially shut down.  Wait…it gets even less important.  NASCAR racers are now spending their quarantine time racing against each other thru online video games.  And still more/less…rather than reading books, or maybe building a ship in a bottle, there is a TV audience for these video game/virtual races.  We are approaching the speed and aroma of the fart of a magical warrior troll here.

So, Kyle Larson, NASCAR driver in one of these meaningless…yet televised…virtual races, gets online and asks if he can be heard.  Presumably he determined that he could not be heard, then he said, “hey, nigger…”. Then, much to his dismay, several of the other drivers indicated that he was heard, and that he was broadcasting to everyone.  Larson was then suspended by NASCAR, which, presumably has significant financial penalties for him…for which I really do not care.  Some dude said another racist thing.  Next?

Here is where these people begin to completely confound me.  Larson issued an “apology to his followers” online.  He videoed himself in the manner with which we have become familiar in this Silent Spring.  In the video he appears very contrite.  I don’t know if he is sad about what he said, or just sad about being caught…and I don’t care.  What I really do not get is, why did he say it?  I don’t understand this any better now than when Sesame Street had me convinced that this sort of thing was seeing its last days.  

Practically every racist I have ever encountered denies their racism.  This is essentially what confounds me about the Bigotorum.  (Often, I am accused of being a racist myself.  Some have even floated the not-so-genius ‘reverse racism’ canard.  That term exists in a whole ‘WTF’ universe all its own).  I was in college before I heard anyone describe Archie Bunker as “right”…as if to say, the hero…rather than an anti-hero.  I grew up thinking Michael Stivick and Gloria, and Lionel were right, and Archie was wrong.  As it turns out, Archie was far more common in America than I had ever realized.  Thirty some years later, we almost elected a 5th Avenue Archie Bunker President…and the Electoral College placed him in office anyway.  Now, I know we have had racist, er…Prejudents before, but they weren’t…Trump.  Woodrow Wilson was a big time bigot, but he wasn’t a moron like our current occupant of the White House.  And with all that said, one can see the method to the racist’s madness most of the time.  When you can see the benefit to the bigot, you understand the investment and the two-step about the practice.  They want to have chocolate cake, and lynch it too.  What I don’t get is when there is no cake.

Kyle Larson uncorked a “hey nigger” for no discernible reason.  Then he felt the need to issue an apology, and appeared contrite while doing so.  What just happened here?  I confess, you all confuse me.