Columns 2009

Pathetic little losers

Probably the most pathetic thing about the recent attack on a Native street person here in Anchorage is that it really wasn’t about racism per se. No, it was really about two losers who could only feel better about themselves if they found someone they could somehow feel superior to.  In Alaska, our Native people are all too often the group these losers pick on when they have to find someone to make their sad little lives look better. So long as they can pretend there is someone lower on the social ladder, they believe they aren’t the bottom of the barrel.

At least one of the two people who stand accused of the most recent racial attack in Anchorage seems to have already led a life of quiet desperation. Check out this quote from his Facebook page as related in a recent ADN story: “i love my mom to death and alwayz will no women will ever get in da way of dat and yes i have been in meny fihgtz for and over my mom.. oh and i been to jail for her,” he wrote. “jus dont talk s–t to me and ill be good to you.. im a good person in heart and wont do you wrong if you dont do me wrong.”

Sounds like Mr. Gum had less than an ideal childhood with a mom who was maybe not a June Cleaver clone.

The picture from Facebook of Mr. Gum and his cohort in hate Deanna Powers shows two people who pretty much personify the words “white trash”. He’s shirtless; they both look pretty ripped. They are making gang like signs that seem a fairly pathetic imitation of black gangsta culture. And they are swigging forty ounce bottles of beer. Yet somehow, I’m guessing because they are white, they feel superior to any Native in this state.

Yes, that is the ultimate definition of pathetic.

So how did we end up here after all the years and all the attempts by groups in the state to bridge the divide of racial tension between Native and non-Native people?  My guess is that these fine people pictured downing beer while looking fairly skanky are not the type to be going to town meetings or paying much attention to feel good ads on TV.  In fact, my guess is that there is little that can be done to open minds already slammed so shut before they are barely out of their teens.

And once again, I would posit that the reason their minds are so slammed shut has less to do specifically with Native cultures and peoples in this state and more to do with their own sense of worthlessness and despair. In order to wakeup in the morning and feel good about themselves, they have to feel bad about someone else. It’s that simple.

Take this quote from Ms. Powers, also on Facebook. “I’m a pretty nice person until you cross the line,” she wrote on her page. “And bitches who talk s–t will get hit END of story.” No matter how disgusted you are by what she did, you can’t help but read that and wonder what was done to her.  Who raised her to feel that she had to approach the world with her defenses up and her claws sharpened, expecting the worse and incapable of seeing the best.

Perhaps the most poignant and telling moment in this whole ugly episode came from the very person they were harassing.  He held his hand out to them. He thought they shared a common humanity and held his hand out to them in the hope of touching it. That they rejected his hand tells us all we need to know about just how closed and empty their souls are. Given a choice, which of us would not choose to have a cup of coffee with their victim rather than the victimizers?

In the end, all these two sad people have to cling to in order to fuel some sense of well being in their darkened souls is the fact that, by sheer accident of birth, they were born white.  I hate to have to be the one to tell them this, but it’s not enough to move them off the bottom of the barrel.