Recently an article on the Huffington Post posited that service in the United States military leads to the “unfortunate side effect” of developing racial prejudices, a stance the writer supported by explaining that his uncle was a police officer in the NYPD, and also prejudiced. I wish I could offer you a more logical explanation for his 800-word diatribe full of admissions of ignorance and veiled attempts at disrespecting those who have gone into harm’s way on behalf of others, but the best he could offer was a story he’d heard about veterans serving as security for white nationalists in Charlottesville, and the instances he heard his uncle (who was a police officer, rather than a veteran) utter racial slurs in private.
Why didn’t I include his name or the title of the article, when this piece is obviously intended to serve as a response to it? It’s simple. Here in the digital realm of professional writing, reach is what matters. I might think a topic is really important, research it for hours, and put together a think-piece I hope will change minds, but if people don’t click on it, it sends a clear message to me as a writer, and my editors, that the public at large just isn’t interested in hearing about the topic, or about what I have to say about it. In short, name recognition, links to articles, social media shares, and the like are truly the currency we deal in – and this idiot doesn’t deserve any of that for making a blanket statement about millions of Americans under the guise of being a progressive.
That term, “American” is of particular import in this case, as the writer of that piece proudly touts his renounced U.S. citizenship in his Twitter bio. On Huffington Post, he omits that in favor of calling himself a “Writer, musician, Trump Resister, food snob.” Clearly, this proud former American still feels he’s the right man to decry American veterans as racist, despite his credentials seemingly more in keeping with writing reviews on pictures of food on Instagram, but because of the traction his article received, I think it’s important to address the content of his piece, if not the writer.
I’ve lived a lot of places, but I claim Bennington, Vermont as my home. It’s where I spent my formative years, and when I close my eyes and imagine a peaceful place, it’s the rolling Green Mountains of southern Vermont that I picture. Vermont is a lot of things: beautiful, serene, picturesque and cow-filled – but one thing it often isn’t, is diverse.