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You Are Dumb, which is not a blog, posts new columns every weekday, except for a couple of days each month when it doesn't. It is also a Twitter feed, @youaredumb, with content in a similar vein but much shorter. My spinoff food site, Forkbastard, can be found easily enough by the clever.
A Nation Of Totally Not Racists
Memo to Paula Smith: CONGRATULATIONS. YOU'VE PROVED OBAMA WRONG.
So back at the end of February, amidst another renewed attempt by Republicans to stick a giant metal penis inside the Earth to get at all the juicy goo inside (I believe they call it "Drill, Baby, Drill", but we all know the Freudian truth), Barack Obama expressed his view that the American people wouldn't fall for such a simple-minded bit of sloganeering.
"I mean," he said, "the American people aren’t stupid."
I assume this is just a bit of rhetoric on his part, and he doesn't mean it, because if this turns out to be his campaign strategy, well, I hope you enjoy the sound of Mitt Romney's voice. Because in a lot of America, the American people are Paula Smith.
Paula Smith lives in Hinesville Georgia, and, in addition to running a paintball-based recreational facility down in Hinesville, Georgia, Smith sells bumper stickers on the Internet. Sort of. See, she set up the site a few years ago, and it's lain fallow for a while. I know how that is. I mean, I just got an e-mail from CafePress. The site is called "Stickatude", which is impressive, since that "a" in the middle is neither in "Sticker" nor the middle of "attitude", but what the hell. The site's logo, which will soon be not coincidental, is a black fist with giant gold fist jewelry that says "STICKAS".
Stickatude came to the attention of the national media when a bumper sticker sold there started making the usual rounds of the Internet. The sticker features the Obama campaign logo, and the slogan "2012 Don't Re-Nig*". As a result of the attention, the sticker is no longer sold there, but does contain other crimes against graphic design like "Annoy A Liberal - Take Personal Responsibility", which is also going to be important later.
Anyway, Forbes, of all people, tracked down Paula Smith to ask her about her incredibly racist bumper-sticker, which, in a shocking twist nobody could have foreseen, Smith insists isn't racist at all. But we'll get to that. Where did the sticker come from?
"We just found it on the internet, and thought it was cute. It’s been up there since he’s been president.”
That's odd. She didn't take personal responsibility, yet I'm still annoyed. Tell me, Paula, how exactly does taking someone else's idea, putting it up on the Internet, and selling it as your own even remotely align with all the "I work hard for my money, how dare that (black) President take it as if it were his own" sentiment all over your bumper stickers? No, don't answer that, because you're dumb enough to try and pass off "nigger" as not racist - and anyway, you can't really talk about this bumper sticker in the context of "intellectual property", can you? Let's get to the dark meat of the issue.
"According to the dictionary nigger does not mean black. It means a low down, lazy, sorry, low down person. That’s what the N word means.”
I could unpack this statement for a week. "The dictionary". As if there were one. I mean, the good thing for her is that there are literally hundreds of English dictionaries out there, so it's possible that one of them might actually say that. Sure, none of the serious or well-respected ones do, because that would be completely fucking insane, but maybe one does. Maybe Stormfront has its own version of Google Translate. It's possible. As this case shows, you can find anything on the Internet.
Of course, it would have to be a really, really bad dictionary to put "low down" not once, but TWICE, in its definition of "nigger". But you know what? Language evolves. It changes based on usage. So really, all we need is one instance, anywhere in history, of a low down, lazy, sorry, low down white person being called "nigger" on account of their low down, lazy, sorry, lowdownitude, and Paula Smith might have the beginnings of a shred of her very first lifetime actual point.
What's that? That's never happened in the history of ever? Sorry, Paula, thanks for playing. As a consolation prize, you get a lifetime supply of white hoods!
But wait. Maybe I'm being too hasty in branding Paula Smith a racist. I should keep reading the article - it's possible she may have some black friends.
"I have kids here around me that are black kids. I call them my own kids. I’ve helped black families…to guide them in the right direction. Paintball is one of these things. We like to laugh and have a good time. That’s our way of life."
Oooh. No black friends, but she has had black customers at her paintball joint! She's "helped black families", by which I presume she means helped them rent paintball guns, and "guide them in the right direction" toward the paintball field.
Paula Smith doesn't think she's a racist. Paula Smith doesn't use the "N word", except for the part where she uses it on a bumper sticker she sells and even then it doesn't refer to black people, which makes you wonder why she bothers going to the trouble of not using it. She just hates Obama's policies, you see. So many people do. They're opposed to what he's done as President, and can clearly and eloquently explain what those policies are and why they're bad. Take it away, Paula Not Racist In The Slightest Smith!
"I just want someone that’s going to help the United States and not give it other countries all the time. And stop giving the immigrants the benefits that most Americans inside their own states can’t even get because they’re giving it others who don’t even live here as an American."
See? If he'd stop doing that, Paula Smith would stop hating him. Because, as we can clearly see, the American people aren't stupid.
*In a font, by the way, that has clearly been stretched to fit the width of the text portion of the bumper sticker. This is not as serious an issue as institutionalized racism, but is still very, very important.