Encountering racism is not a difficult thing to do. Especially if you A) live on Earth and B) have contact with anything outside your house. America has a complicated, difficult history with race and every time you hear the phrase “post-racial society” you can be assured its bullshit. We, as a nation, have never truly stared down the legacy of slavery the way, say, Germany constantly reminds itself of the Holocaust. The Supreme Court is weighing in over whether Texans should be allowed to get Confederate flags on their license plates. Our education system shields our children from the horrors of the Middle Passage. And it is horrific. Every last bit of it.
But by not dealing with it, by not coming to grips with the still-bleeding wound in America’s flank, you get Jim Crow, you get Sundown Towns, you get Ferguson and Eric Garner and Trayvon Martin.
You get people who think nothing of posting Craigslist ads like this:
The fact that someone alive in the 21st century could think that it’s a good idea to hire black men and women to re-enact horrors that were staged for rich white people’s entertainment for her rich white husband’s entertainment is one thing. To try and undercut it with “I realize that this is kind of humiliating” right after demanding that they wear iron collars shows that she actually has no idea that Django Unchained wasn’t spun entirely from Quentin Tarantino’s imagination. To post this (now-deleted) ad in public forum proves that she’s surrounded by people who, similarly, think this is a grand idea.
You get people for whom black lives matter, so long as those “lives” can be denigrated for their amusement, and for the right price.
Some days, man. Some fucking days.
Marc Bernardin is the Deputy Editor of Playboy.com. He would like to remind Paula Deen that we’re still watching.