I constantly have to remind myself that Gawker commenters constitute a very small subset of people, and that most other people don’t think like they do. So many of them exhibit so much hate and vitriol that they’re just as bigoted and awful as the Charleston shooter himself. It’s just directed at a different group of people (i.e. Southerners, people with whom they don’t agree with in general). Categorizing all Southerners as racists, homophobes, and backwards rednecks is just as bad as generalizing black people and calling them lazy and stupid and sub-humans.

It’s taken me a while, but I’ve come to accept that people as blinded by their own hatred as they are will never open their eyes to viewing the world through someone else’s lens. As a lifelong Southerner, I have only been witness to one outright instance of racism (this is just my personal experience) and it absolutely horrified me. I was at a public pool when I was probably about eleven or twelve, when I saw two black boys and two white girls, all four a bit younger than me. They were shooting each other with water guns, and they seemed to be having a good time, until I moved closer and heard what they were saying. These two white girls were saying some of the most terrible and racist things I’ve ever heard. I’m not going to repeat them here, you get the gist of it. But anyway, here I am, in a public pool at 12 years old, wondering why someone would be so awful to someone else. Even at that young of an age, I knew that what they were saying was wrong in both a moral and concrete sense.

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I’ve been though countless small towns in Tennessee, Mississippi, and Alabama, and never once have I seen white people picking fights with blacks or the other way around (Again, this is just my personal experience). I see white people eating and working and laughing with black people. I think we all generally tend to get along with each other down here. And then it’s the big stuff like the Charleston shooting that screws everything up and we’re all labeled as racists. It’s infuriating, quite honestly.

I guess what I’m trying to say here is that I’ll take my South any day over Gawker New York. Our hospitality over their hostility. Our sense of community over their dissociative mass. Our (mostly) Christian worldview over their nihilistic one. We might have some problems down here we’re still working to overcome, but we’re trying. I think the aftermath of the shooting really illustrates that. People of all different backgrounds and races coming together to be there for one another and pray for the families of the victims and even the shooter himself. It’s funny how the worst in humanity can bring out the best of humanity.

Anyways, if you’ve made it this far in my ramblings, thanks for sticking around. I’m glad we have a forum for discussion in the Cigar Lounge. Even though we might not all agree with each other, it’s really cool that we can be respectful here and not have to worry about being shouted down in the FP or any of the other Gawker media sites. Love you guys, and happy father’s day to all the dads out there. Night y’all.