All together now

GSU undergraduate Patrick Sharp, founder of the new White Student Union
GSU undergraduate Patrick Sharp, founder of the new White Student Union on campus

When I read on Thursday that a Georgia State University student had formed a white “pride organization” on campus, my knee jerked in about the way you’d expect. I assumed that some young cracker was showing his racist ass. A future David Duke, maybe.

The idea, the very idea, that light-skinned people might openly, collectively, in any kind of organized fashion, assemble for the express purpose of self-identifying as light-skinned people … why, that’s just … just … no crazier on the face of it than people of any other skin color doing exactly the same thing.

Is it possible, I wondered, that young Master Sharp isn’t making the point that 99.9% of the reporters, pundits, bloggers and tweeters think he’s making? Is it possible that his only crime is making himself forever unemployable anywhere but his hometown feed and seed store?

Here’s from an entry I posted two years ago …

What say we pull both terms (“black” and “white”) down from their wink-wink-nudge-nudge “heritage not hate” places of honor and declare a moratorium on all glorifications of race? What say we stop pretending that it’s okay for people of Nigerian descent to shout “black pride,” but not okay for people of Austrian descent to shout “white pride”? Both are divisive and hypocritical.

Could that be what Sharp is saying?

Maybe, maybe not.

He appears to have ties to something called the Traditionalist Youth Network, whose mission statement includes the following: We embrace ethnic minorities on their terms, validating, celebrating, and strengthening those bonds between people who share a tribe and tradition. Perhaps our most controversial position is our encouragement of members to court and marry partners who share a tribe and tradition.

Okay, okay, I know, but hold on. What if I were to tell you that the Traditionalist Youth Network is a Native American Indian group? It isn’t, but what if? How would the mission statement sound then?

Thing is, I’m with you. Right there with you. In my mind, the words “black pride” conjure Maya Angelou, Bill Cosby, Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King. The words “white pride” conjure redneck doomsday preppers standing in line for tickets to a caged wrestling event.

In fact, any kind of pride but white pride sounds at least potentially wholesome, doesn’t it? Even Jihadist pride sounds better. And euphemisms make no difference. Call it Aryan, Northern European, Anglo Saxon … matters not. A Bubba by any other name will smell as foul. What was it that Obama said about “lipstick on a pig”?

I just wish that Patrick Sharp, instead of ties to the Traditionalist Youth Network, had ties to Habitat for Humanity or were going steady with a black girl or something to indicate that he’s more a well-meaning agent provocateur than Klansman-in-waiting.

Then maybe we could disengage the automatic pilot for long enough to have an actual conversation, instead of a call and response.