Warning: the following is disgusting.
About ten years ago, I attended one of the 7 American military academies of seafaring art.My goal was to become a trained navigator and maat in the Merchant Navy. At the academy and at sea, I witnessed an incomprehensibly blatant racism that was so unbridled and ubiquitous that the image of my country to date was deeply shaken. All my previous experiences, including travel and even a stay in the American South, had no such effect on me. Until now, I had always lived in the left-liberal “bubble” without actually being aware of this fact. After what happened at the academy and on the merchant ships, however, I was definitely disillusioned. I am therefore not surprised by the worrying political developments in the United States in recent years.
At the academy – even if it was nominally part of the state university (in a “blue” federal government, mind you) – the everyday life resembled a journey back in time to the era before the civil rights movement.The naval cadets incessantly expressed racist insults and ideas that would have been unacceptable even fifty years ago in ordinary American civil society. During a training sea trip, for example, a group of young cadets gathered in a circle on the aft deck, where they showed the H-greeting and shouted “WHITE MACHT”.
Often, both the few black cadets – including the black instructors – found a gallows knit on their door or on a desk.Anti-Semitic remarks – to aggressive attacks, blatant threats and tasteless Holocaust jokes – were the order of the day.
Some of the instructors were even more obnoxious than the young cadets.One of the professors, boasting about his ancestor Nathan Bedford Forrest, a lieutenant general in the Army of the South who fought for the maintenance of slavery during the American Civil War, took half of an entire lesson. Forrest is now considered a war criminal who co-founded the ku Klux Klan racist terrorist group after the Civil War.This professor, who also teaches international law, glorified this behavior.
The most unbearable thing, however, came from a professor of seafaring and navigation, whom I had admired until then – he was not only an excellent teacher, but also very witty and sympathetic.One day he helped me with a particular tricky problem in astronomical navigation. I thanked him, and he said, “It’s best to make a drawing.” (So far, so good.) Then I became the perfect counterpart by humorously retorting, “But can you really draw Lincoln’s Gettysburg speech?”
Immediately, laughing, he said, “Sure!” and handed me his hand up with his palm.I had no idea what he was going to do. I said, “One hand? Uh, you mean, handout – alms?” He replied: “Sure.Since 1863, these people have asked for nothing else.”
Such crude racism left me speechless.Besides, the only black cadet in our class sat two or three rows behind me and had heard everything. I was shocked, but I did not mention this incident to anyone.
I experienced the pi ce de résistance after I was assigned to a real cargo ship.This container ship belonged to one of the world-famous shipping companies. The first engineer was a disgusting dirt guy from Mississippi. He spent his time swearing at and railing against various minorities. He talked without a point or a comma about how much he wanted to execute then-President Obama. God only protect Obama, he said, if this N—– reckless enough to visit the good old guys in Mississippi. The first engineer and his mates would pick up this inflated N—– at the nearest tree. This was, of course, followed by the tirade against the Jews, whose conspiracy, and how A. H. had unfortunately made a single fatal mistake, namely that he had not completed his historical task … and and and.The engineer spitout of any racist insult he had ever heard.
Unlike reactionary skewers on TV like Archie Bunker or Alfred Tetzlaff, however, this guy was not at all amusing or funny.Instead, his remarks contained an undeniable hint of violence. The poisonous hatred and the barely concealed lust for murder were almost palpable. On board a ship, one is virtually delivered; It was not for nothing that Samuel Johnson compared ships to prisons. During every coffee break I had to sit obediently and listen to this crap. Sometimes still dream of meeting this guy somewhere on the street …
The events in Charlottesville, Virginia, are just the tip of a massive, toxic iceberg.