Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Dude mystified about 'racist' label

You might be tempted to think this is an Onion parody. Except it's Paulding County, Ga.:
Pat Lanzo insists he’s not a racist.
"I believe people are equal,” he says, "As long as they earn their keep as well as me."
Nevertheless, the proprietor of The Peach bar and restaurant in Paulding County says that people often mistakenly assume he’s a racist.
The main reason, he says, are the signs he posts outside his restaurant. "Damn Yankees May Have Taken Our N----rs But Not Our Guns," said one. "Obama Gives Us Hope Dreams and Maybe A New Holiday — Thats My N----r" read another.
"The minute someone says the N-word, you're labeled racist," he explains.
I grew up in neighboring Douglas County and used to cover sports in Paulding County, and it's not as bad as you might think from this article. But among some of the good ol' boys there is a certain . . . obstreperous disdain for the niceties of political correctness, shall we say? A kind of rowdy macho thing about going the extra mile to indicate that one is not intimidated. And Lanzo is correct in saying that folks like that are not necessarily more "racist" than people who sulk in silent fear. Lanzo says:
"If I was gonna hate anybody, I'd hate my ex-wife."
Dave Niewert and the SPLC don't understand, of course, but rednecks are the one minority culture whose folkways aren't tolerated under multiculturalism.

UPDATE: Just some demographic background for people who aren't familiar with Georgia. Paulding County is a fast-growing exurb of Atlanta, with a population of more than 120,000 that's increased nearly 50% since 2000. Median household income is more than $58,000.

When I was growing up in Douglas County, Paulding County was overwhelmingly rural. My hometown of Lithia Springs was sophisticated and cosmopolitan compared to Dallas or Hiram. But as neighboring Cobb County became urbanized, the Cobb developers moved westward.

The big thing was when Thorton Road (Ga. 6) was widened and connected to U.S. 278 via Powder Springs and Hiram, so that you now have a virtual freeway all the way from the Atlanta Airport (Camp Creek Parkway) to Rockmart (in Polk County). The area around the intersection of U.S. 278 and Ga. 92 in Hiram is now massively developed. A lot of the residents of Paulding County commute to jobs in Cobb or Douglas counties, especially in the industrial developments around the intersection of I-20 and Thornton Road.

UPDATE II: Lanzo's Peach Bar is being spun as part of a "racist backlash" against Obama, which is silly: Paulding County never forward-lashed, so how can they backlash? Of course, the prosperous blue-collar exurbanites of Paulding County voted 69% Republican, but that doesn't make them evil, does it?

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