For the last few weeks Fox 59 has been following a story about a Noblesville shopkeeper selling "racist soap." You can watch the first (and most...what's the word I'm looking for...shocking, hilarious, idiotic, repulsive?) video of the series here.
As a result of the free publicity Gary Dewester has become a local folk hero and modern Robin Hood. Or at least he would be if Robin Hood hated black people and made money by exploiting the plight of an entire race.
So I guess he's more like a modern D.W. Griffith. But without a camera or cause.
Dewester claims that he is not a racist, and the bars of soap—which feature cartoon drawings of minstrel characters along with such non-racist words as "darkie," and "kolored" and refer to African-Americans as monkies— are treasured artifacts of American history.
But at what point in American History were minstrel characters featured on bars of soap? And, even if they were, wouldn't the soaps have been sold as racially-charged gag gifts? There's nothing "antique" or historical about them that doesn't involve blatant prejudice.
When confronted and called a racist, Dewester's response was every bit as quick-witted as you would expect: "This country was built on racism."
Clumsy as he sounds, I think what he means is that he deserves a moral hall-pass on the sale of the hateful toiletries because a lot of other people are and have been racist throughout American history.
"People are just too politically correct," Deweson tells the reporter.
"How about gay people in our country," he says, holding up other antique soaps. "Would they be offended by 'Gay Johnny' and 'The Fairy' soap?'
The answer is yes. Yes Gary, many would be. On the whole, gay people don't like being called fairies any more than African Americans enjoy being called darkies or women like being called bitches.
Sadly, the rest of the story reads like an "Onion" article. Which means the only conclusion I can come to is that Deweson is so out of touch with reality and humanity, I shouldn't hold my breath thinking he'll understand what he's doing is wrong anytime soon.
In the meantime, he will, and ought to be allowed to, keep selling whatever he wants.
It's like my grandpa once told me, "You're entitled to your opinion, even if it makes you an idiot."
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