Hey, David Duke, you holocaust-denying racist sack, I guess you’ve never heard that old cliche — don’t let your ass write a cheque your mouth can’t cash. Or, in this case, a Czech.
Duke, a former U.S. congressman (for Louisiana), one-time presidential candidate (for the Chinless Racist Assholes Party) and ex-Grand Wizard, seriously, of the Ku Klux Klan, was arrested in Prague Friday for denying the holocaust, which is a criminal offence there. As it should be anywhere, not just in countries decimated by Nazis.
Duke had been invited to Prague by some kind of Czech far-right group to lecture and promote his latest book, “Obama = Osama, Are They Brothers,” or something. I actually don’t know the book title, and I don’t want to. Apparently, what happened was Czech officials read his book, and this is a first, because most Duke fans buy the book just to display on top of the TV in the trailer.
At this time of writing, Duke was under court order to get the hell out of the Czech Republic and fly home to the bayou. Unconfirmed reports out of Prague indicate Duke was wearing bib overalls, no shirt and chewing on a bullrush when charged, and was accompanied by a fat man named Bubba on a leash. This may not be true.
The weekend’s events aren’t Duke’s first run-in with the law. He has, over the past four decades, been accused of numerous things, from tax evasion to cross-burning. After all, he was the public face of the Klan for years, with his golden boy looks, Robert Redford moustache and fit physique. Racists, who are used to their leaders looking like either Hitler, Boss Hogg or Cletus the Slack-Jawed Yokel, flocked to his every word. Even after he “renounced” his Klan ways and had some kind of weird plastic surgery to make him look even more like Captain America, in the days when he was pretending to be a legitimate politician, he had a massive following of people who knew how to tie lynch knots, but couldn’t spell “lynch knot.”
It’s sad that after all those decades of spreading hate, it took another country to “out” this guy. But that’s not unusual. Americans have as much tolerance for racists — Duke did get elected to public office, after all — as they do for other races. Canadians, too; a recent column in my hometown paper referenced a guy nicknamed “Nig.” He’s white, but apparently has kinky hair or something, and it’s okay to call him that. No big deal, right? It’s sadly common in Canada to hear those slurs, particularly against First Nations people, but more and more against other races as Canada’s diversity widens through immigration.
Some Americans are the same way. Earlier this year, a study conducted by researchers at Yale University and Canada’s York University and the University of British Columbia uncovered a high tolerance for racism among Americans. The study — and I am suspicious of these sorts of things, which measure 120-odd people and call it a “snapshot” of an actual demographic — determined that non-black people did not get as upset upon hearing an anti-black slur as they predicted they would be.
This does make some sense to me. I know a lot of people who proudly denounce racists while at the same time quietly agreeing, and only with their friends, that well, yeah, maybe Asians are crappy drivers, or maybe black guys are better basketball players. I’ve gone down this road with you before, so you know I have mixed, but strong, feelings about that kind of thinking. Are you racist? No. Do you sometimes fall prey to stereotypical thinking? Unavoidable. Would you admit that? No.
I’m guilty of occasionally thinking in stereotypes, and I am a mixed bag of origin. Northern African, Eastern African, Central African, Ojibwe, Creek, Cherokee, Irish, Scottish, Welsh … Catholic, Methodist, Baptist, Muslim, a possible Indian Hindu a couple of generations back … I’m a bit of everything. My kids are all that, plus Russian and Finn, too.
The only thing my diverse ancestors have in common? None of them ever got a fair shake from the English.
Anyway, where was I? Oh, David Duke. He wasn’t charged, but was deported, and is supposed to be flying out tonight. If I were a Czech official with a sense of humour, I would make sure his flight is diverted to Somalia. And before you Duke fans start calling your moms to ask how to spell “Dear Weathereye,” let me just say, don’t bother. I’ve heard it all before and you’re boring, and yes, I do live in the real world.