I’m pretty open-minded about taking in new experiences. That’s actually a part of my 5 factor personality index…I’m highly into new experiences.
So, we took in the Jefferson Davis Presidential Library yesterday. It’s in Biloxi, Mississippi, at Jeff’s last home on the gulf.
I thought it was fascinating. We’ve been to the Reagan, Nixon, Clinton, and Carter presidential libraries and museums. By comparison, this one was pretty much shitty. Understaffed, poorly curated…and of course, covered in confederate flags. If one place is entitled to fly confederate flags, I guess it’s this one, but the volume was still a little unnerving. There were hundreds, maybe a thousand confederate flags and gift items to buy.
Matt heard our tour guide say something that he thought might have been racist. I sort-of-willingly ignored it, then later acknowledged that yeah, that was totally fucking racist. He said:
“They have black spring break down here. You ever witness that before? Three years ago they almost burned the whole town down.”
The part I didn’t hear was the adjective ‘black’ (which is key).
Here’s the weird part: I really liked our tour guide. He was sweet, funny, gentle, well-informed. I was a fan.
And he is also a racist. That’s a fact. That he’s a volunteer tour guide at the Jefferson Davis Presidential Library might have been my first clue, but his comment left no room for interpretation.
What do you do with kind, funny racists? Matt wanted to kick him in the teeth. My friend Martha, whom I spoke to today, said that “his heritage is slavery, and slavery is something we shouldn’t celebrate.” I agree. I get it. I just also think that people are people, and that even when they hold hateful beliefs, most of the rest of their beliefs line up with mine. We can be friends, and if we are, we’ll likely get along and understand each other’s positions better than if we are enemies.