The racist liberal: Lisa English
As those of you who know me in real life as well as from Mac-a-ro-nies are aware of, I'm a writer of fiction as well as prose, including a novel and a collection of short stories. I am satisfied with most of the characters I create, but have had a problem creating the type we will call the racist liberal. 'Racist liberal?' you query. Yes. There are plenty of racist liberals. They are just better at self-deception than racist conservatives. The difficulty in describing these people is getting the mixture of self-adultation and contempt for others, especially nonwhite others, that kind of person has right. Then, a writer must wrap that in the liberal platitudes the person spouts and thinks she lives by. When I try to create a character like that the contrast between what she pretends to be and what she is is too sharp. In real life, people of the sort somehow meld a hatred of people of color they believe may be equal to them with their claims of liberality, almost seamlessly. I believe I have found some examples of the liberal racist I can use as a template in the blogosphere.
I first became aware of one of them because I felt her hatred for me back in my days as a commenter. Whenever I opened my virtual mouth in her presence there was a putdown or an effort to contradict whatever I said no matter what its merits. She was determined to convince me that she was better than I am. Well, those gambits failed but she has not given up. Let's consider some recent statements from Lisa English.
Earlier today, I'd posted an anonymous version of this comment on a Right wing site that was discussing this very issue. I called myself "A Lefty" for lack of a more creative pseudonym. I've since figured it's sort of ludicrous for me to hide behind faux names, especially in my own blogging community...so, here's the deal...
She begins this tirade by admitting she has been going to racist Right Wing blogs trolling for support in attacking a person of color. She sees no contradition between that behavior and calling herself a 'Lefty,' someone who favors fair and equal treatment of all people.
She then goes on to to make this rather contradictory remark.
Listen, it is impolite and the height of insensitivity to bash people for emotional issues, and I'm trying very hard not to go there. Most people who run political blogs talk politics, not interblogging bullshit. Additionally, nobody wants to suffer the public wrath of a troubled person. But be that as it may...something needs to be said, and the truth is, this woman is Out To Lunch.
Note the denial she would make such an attack and then the most reprehensible kind of attack right after it. It is as if English believes that she is a God and referring to something not human. Because of her 'highness' and the other person's 'lowness' the rules of common decency do not apply. And, that is exactly what she does think. She is white and the woman she is referring to is not.
What Lisa English is incapable of saying is: "This woman is bright, talented and witty. She is my equal, perhaps more." So, instead, she oozes disparagement. It puts her back up on the pedestal of white privilege where she feels safe.
In the same discussion, the word monster is used to refer to the nonwhite person being disparaged. The oldest racist trope in the world and it falls from these liberals' mouths as easy as breathing.
English continues with similar vitriol for several paragraphs. I don't believe anyone not as crazed with contempt for a person of color who does not know her place is beneath English's as she is could miss the pure hatred emanating from her post.
This is the kind of liberal I need to be able to develop as a character if I am ever to approximate reality. The reason I can't achieve it is that I always end up humanizing the character too much. If Lisa English were a character in a short story I would make the mistake of giving her a secondary reason for being the bigot masquerading as a Lefty she is. Perhaps the characterer would have a reason to be embittered and take it out on people of color -- cancer, sexual abuse as a child, whatever. (Not a rational reason, though, because I don't believe there is one for her kind of actions.) Or, she would have some diagnosed mental illness. (Which, in fact, she might have. Her behavior -- sneaking to Right Wing blogs to participate in lynch party discussions, completely dehumanizing a person of color and congratulating herself for being a good liberal the whole time -- is definitely "out to lunch.") But, in reality, people like Lisa English don't have any reason for their behavior beyond their exaggerated self-regard and their bigotry.
I intend to continue observing this woman's posts for clues in helping me understand the workings of such a person's mind. I have looked at some of the ones I believe she has left at Right Wing blogs and they are the most revealing because there the pretext of liberalism is dropped and the 'get me a rope and let me hang that uppity n----- who makes me feel threatened' truth comes out.
They say there is something that can be used can be gleaned from any experience. I am learning some useful things from this one.