A jarring reminder that white supremacists live, work, and play all around us, all of the time.
?Attempting to Stop Armageddon,? 2016 U.S. Election, by Kyle Taylor
Photo by Etty Fidele on Unsplash
Ok, so this time, I must interject to say that, if at any time you find yourself saying, ?I have some really good friends who are black and I love them,? then most of us know that what you?re about to do next is to spew some racist BS.
In true racist fashion, Goodman sternly asserts that her black friends ?would never act like that? you?re too loud.?
Stewart clarifies, ?In your opinion,? and continues, ?Let me show you my money. It?s just as green as yours,? as she holds her money to show Goodman and make a point.
The fact that Stewart?s speaking the truth so reasonably here angers Goodman beyong the point of no return. Without pause, Goodman inches closer as if preparing to pounce, and says the final blow, ?Why are you so stupid, ?n******??
We hear the table of ladies gasp in shock, before asking Goodman, ?You call your black friends n****r?? Goodman shakes her head and walks away, carefree, muttering, ?They?re not like you.?
Image by Jerry Kiesewetter, Unsplash
Raleigh is where I grew up from 1974??92. I spent most of my youth treading the boards of Raleigh?s vast and flourishing theatre scene ? from the historic landmark Raleigh Little Theatre, to professional ?Broadway? companies like North Carolina Theatre, to the pop-up, emerging collectives like Star Pocket Theatre ? there has never been a shortage of places to satisfy my hunger for performing on stage.
Raleigh boasts top universities like NCSU, Shaw University, and Meredith College (my alma mater). Raleigh (and its perimeters) houses some of the nation?s leading employers, like RTP, SAS Institute, and the Duke University Health System.
In Raleigh, there?s something for everyone: Sports. Dining. Entertainment. History. Culture. Leisure.
Umstead State Park is among my son?s favorite spots for hiking and camping. My daughter ? equal parts homebody and adventurer ? loves browsing our city?s many antique shops with her boyfriend, or racing go carts at Frankie?s Fun Park. My thirteen year old transgender child always has a safe space to hang out, with Raleigh?s LGBT Center being one of the largest in the southeast, hosting over 25 programs, 7 of which are specifically for youth.
Raleigh is also proud of our eclectic culinary scene, and especially, chef Ashley Christensen ? who?s not only the 2018 recipient of the James Beard Award for ?Best Chef: Southeast,? but she?s also prominent in Raleigh for her progressive community involvement, philanthropy, and political pushback against our discriminatory GOP.
(Read her brilliantly scathing, public response to an angry, threatening customer, over transphobic bathroom bills here.)
Personally, as the mother of a trans child, I?m happy to say that with the help of countless other liberal progressives in Raleigh, and especially, the folks on the forefront who blazed the way ? like Hunter Schafer, Candis Cox, Ames Simmons, and Equality NC ? we were able to vote out former Republican Governor, Pat McCrory, who praised and passed the discriminatory ?bathroom bill,? HB2.
Despite the racial gerrymandering and voter suppression tactics in 2016, we voted Democrat Roy Cooper into office, thus, making McCrory the first Governor in N.C. to not be re-elected for a 2nd term since the dissolution of the Whig party in the 1800?s.
12th Congressional District of NC, which was ruled an unconstitutional gerrymander by a Federal court in 2016.
Our state is also bursting at the seams with all kinds of diversity and talent. From journalists to filmmakers to actors to sports figures, we?ve born or been home to some of the entertainment greats, including Cecil B. DeMille, John Coltrane, Ava Garnder, Maya Angelou, Nina Simone, Ben E. King, Sugar Ray Leonard, David Sedaris, Michael Jordan, Tori Amos, Frankie Muniz, Evan Rachel Wood, and Jacob Tobia (to name just a few.)
I?ll give a shameless plug here for my Dad?s cousin, who sadly passed away in 2015: NC?s own Gregory Walcott (born Bernard Mattox). Cousin Greg was a Hollywood character actor, appearing in hundreds of films and TV series from 1952?1994, but ? much to his dismay ? perhaps remembered the most for starring in the (now cult classic) film, Plan Nine From Outer Space.
But, with no regrets and a great sense of humor, Greg always managed to laugh over that film. He captured the real North Carolinian spirit ? he had no airs about him, and somehow always managed to make you feel like you were the most important, most interesting person he?d ever talked to, but in a genuine, comfortable way ? not pretentious or phony at all.
Like cousin Greg, N.C. (and Raleigh in particular) has always been ? at least for me ? a growing, thriving, culturally rich city, with a small-town, welcoming, ?y?all means all? vibe, and chock full of fun-loving, friendly, down-to-earth, non-judgmental folks. It?s a place I?ve always been proud to call home.
This nasty, egregious, racism-on-parade which brought my beloved hometown into the national spotlight again was a jarring reminder that white supremacists live, work, and play all around us, all of the time. This story was literally a little too close to home. And yet, not at all surprising in the least.
Now, I?m not so thick-headed as to think just because Raleigh has all these nice, friendly, beautiful, diverse places, that racism doesn?t exist here; I know much better than that.
Still, before the 2016 election, it seemed most of these racist, white supremacists (who always seem to deny being either) kept this albatross of theirs hanging in the closet rather than around their necks. But with the political ascension of trump, and by association, the cult-like, misguided religious-patriotism that ostensibly comprises trumpism, these people seem to have found a revival of sorts.
Despite the trump effect emboldening former closet racists to crawl our from under their rocks, I knew the death threats were probably already taking over Nancy Goodman?s world (something I wouldn?t wish on my worst enemy), as soon as the media crews showed up at her house.
I knew because I once had a story go viral, though thankfully, mine was a positive story that somehow ended up benefitting us ? myself, my husband and our three children ? in unexpected ways.
Still, I know what that unforeseen, unprepared-for, vicious media whirlwind feels like. And, because there is no shortage of awful people in this world, I also know what it feels like to receive the onslaught of hate mail, and the wild, bogus accusations from strangers who know nothing about you.
But with the Nancy Goodman story, with such brazenly overt racism out front, I find it hard to condemn anyone for calling her on the carpet.
To the rest of the country, please accept sincere apologies from the majority of North Carolinians who are in agreement that Nancy Goodman is not us.
As for the three ladies who had to endure this disgusting racist bigotry, I?m happy to say that they?ll be having a proper ?redo? of their botched dinner. A wonderful Facebook group I?m a member of ? Raleigh Liberal Moms ? with nearly 5,000 members has offered this (and the 3 women have graciously accepted), from one of our lovely group members. (I?ll provide a partial screenshot):
One of the three ladies shared this publicly on her Facbook page, in genuine appreciation, and most importantly, several women, who most likely wouldn?t have been connected otherwise, now share an experience and a friendship. ?Cause this is just how we handle racism in NC.
Martie sir-ROY (she/her) is a top writer in Culture, Politics, and LGBTQ for Medium, editor of Gender From the Trenches, and has been a featured contributor for HuffPost, Scary Mommy, NPR affiliates, and SiriusXM Insight, among others. Martie is the founder of S.E.A.R.CH., a program of her local LGBT Center, for trans youth and their parents. Connect with Martie on Twitter, Facebook, or follow her website & blog.