Monday, December 22, 2008

I'm Not a Bigot, But...

I am continually amazed by people who vehemently deny that they are bigots while simultaneously engaging in behavior and speech that suggests nothing but bigotry. Sometimes, I think there's a real disconnect, or lack of self-awareness, going on that prevents some people from viewing their own behavior, thoughts, and speech as bigoted.

The Associated Press recently reported that the parents of a child complained when a supermarket refused to produce a cake with a child's full name on it. Why? The child's name is Adolf Hitler Campbell. The parents have named their other children JoyceLynn Aryan Nation and Honszlynn Hinler Jeannie. In previous years, the couple had asked "for a swastika to be included in the decoration."

The father, at least, does not view himself as racist. Explaining that children of mixed-race heritage came to his child's birthday party, he asks "If we're so racist, then why would I have them come into my home?" he asked. The AP article also reports that the man claimed to have named his child "Adolf Hitler" because his child wouldn't have to share the name with anyone else.** He also acted "surprised" that such a big deal has been made over his children's names.

I'm not going to call these people bigots and racists and haters. Okay. So.... I just wrote and then erased "we don't have enough information" to be able to ascertain as much.

In light of little "Adolf Hitler," "Hinler," and "Aryan Nation," my naive benefit of the doubt made me laugh out loud. So, I'm just going to qualify my statement by saying that if one were truly going for a "unique" baby name, the options were virtually limitless. These parents could have just as easily named their child Piano Concerto, Cell Phone, or Red Dye #3. But they didn't. **They chose the name of one of history's most notorious proponents of racial purity.** And when they did so, little Adolf was added to a brood of White-Power-theme-named siblings.

Bigoted? Avant-garde? Clueless?

I don't know. People are weird.

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