[Another Monday. Another fiction post. The next installment of Hate Inc. Part i here.]
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“What do they mean we can’t say ‘N——’?”
Trew, one of my new classmates – no, ‘apprentice’. We’re learning a trade at The Cleft— was railing about the proscription against the use of the word, his favourite word, if you go by the number of times he drops it. That, and any variation of ‘fuck’. Fuck, fucking, fucker, fucked, we’re fucked.
“Only in public,” I remind him.
“What’s the point then?” he wonders.
Trew is an unapologetic racist and very, very proud of it. He pushed back on the edict during the sessions, the banning of racial and other offensive slang in any and all public discourse. “Not even F——?!” he pretty much yelled, refusing to let it go. It seemed like deal breaker for him.
I couldn’t quite reconcile Trew’s presence at The Cleft. He seemed to stand for everything it was trying to purge from the movement. Loud. Abrasive. Confrontational. Gleeful in his assault on everything he deemed pc, and Trew saw most things as ridiculously pc.
But he was well-known in alt-right circles, a social media meme machine with a must-listen podcast, In From the Fringe. He did not take to the attempted reining in of his behaviour, behaviour that he saw as his brand, his very popular brand, he tirelessly pointed out. The Cleft needed him, more than he needed them, he threatened.
Of course. And, by comparison, puts the rest of us in The Cleft, in a more reasonable light. See? We’re not that racist.
In fact, I don’t see myself as a racist at all. That’s a label others use because we don’t agree with their rarified, ahistorical points of view. To try and delegitimize us. To deplatform us. To cancel us.
That always gets a laugh out of dad.
It doesn’t make me a racist simply because there are winners and losers in this world. Always have been. Always will be. That’s how our history works. In a world of limited resources, life is a zero-sum game. It’s as simple as that.
That doesn’t mean I think other people are inferior. They just lost. We won. We won because our system was better, not because we’re better although, you have to admit, that we’re better at creating the system that’s better than all the other systems out there. We won. We colonized people. We enslaved people, unfortunately, that’s just how things had been done, long before anyone thought anything of it. Who do you think built the pyramids? Not just in Egypt but in Mexico too. Did Aztec chieftains build their pyramids? Hardly. Plenty of savagery to go around. We were just better savages.
“Is it just easier to be that dumb, son,” my father asks, “or do you actually think you’re being provocative?”
The Roman Empire. The greatest empire in the ancient world. (The Zhous say, Hi, the old man snipes.) We know they weren’t all white. That’s a historical fact. Rome integrated the peoples it conquered. Everybody just learned to live the Roman way with Roman laws and culture. What’s wrong with that? Winners write the rules, they write the history.
Everybody just needs to learn to live our way.
Especially, if they expect to come over here and live with us. Our house. Our rules. Isn’t that what our parents always said?
Unlike Trew and a lot of the other Cleft apprentices, racism isn’t my beef. I’m not trying to keep anybody down because everybody’s just trying to get what’s theirs. That’s rational self-interest. That’s what our system is all about. That’s what makes it the best. We’re all looking out for Number One. By any means necessary. Isn’t that what Malcolm X preached?
“Racism’s just another conflict in a system that’s built on conflict, isn’t it?” I asked during a question-and-answer session segment. “A system that… prospers on conflict.”
As usual, Mr. Lucian takes his time responding, remaining statue-still with only the slightest upward tilt of his head, eyes turned to the ceiling. Sometimes you’re not sure if he’s heard your question. Or, heard it and considers it so far beneath his intelligence to even consider answering it.
“A conflict that we cannot afford to lose,” he speaks to the rafters, above our heads. “Losing means subjugation for us. There is no room for a truce or negotiations. Would you lie down with the Lion if you’d vanquished him on the field of battle?”
“Race war,” someone chimed in. Trew, likely. Sounded like him. Sounded like him.
A low murmur of what I take to be assent stirs around the room, a pulse that fails to build to a buzz. Maybe that’s why Mr. Lucian doesn’t step in and challenge it, choosing instead to let it peter out under the weight of its own lack of general enthusiasm. Then he’ll seize the opportunity to point out that such overt, naked hostility is counterproductive to the movement The Cleft is trying to create. It is, right? That’s what he’s been telling us, right?
I keep my head low, waiting, waiting, for the silence to be filled with… condemnation… some sort of pushback, a tactical lesson… something. But nothing. The silence becomes uncomfortable. Until, finally looking up toward the front of the classroom, I realize Mr. Lucian has redirected his cold stare down directly at me like he’s asked a question that I’m not able to answer.
Like I’m the culprit here. Like I’m the odd man out. Like I’ve become the enemy in the room.
[Read part 3 of Hate Inc. here]