Eugene Weekly : Viewpoint : 7.9.09

Stay Strong
You can tell if you are still at war
by Mark Harris

Paul Reps once wrote, “Drinking a bowl of green tea, I stop the war.” I wrote about an experience with a client called “Green Tea With Skinhead.” The tea in question was echinacea and green tea, because he had a bit of a cold, and had a hangover. (Being gang raped by your anti-ZOG “homies” after drinking five 211’s, and waking up having been rained on, with your pants down by your ankles, and abandoned in a backyard, can definitely ruin your fervor for RAHOWA (RAcial HOly War). 

My problem, as I told him, was not with his beliefs, but that he wouldn’t believe me because of my permanent excellent suntan, even though I was telling him the medically based truth. You need to go to detox, you need to get an AIDS test in about a month and a half. 

He asked if there were any Jews at Buckley House? (I confess I lied when I said I didn’t know). The problem is akin to what many of our students of color find working in health care in this town: Some people don’t want to be touched or receive care by people with better tans than they have, even if it is therapeutic care. I’ve spoken with elite special ops veterans, with top secret clearances, who’ve applied for work with local law enforcement, only to receive sneers and static at the front desks of the city and county, ostensibly because of their excellent suntans being more significant than their extensive service to our country. 

My students write of attempting to have a meal at a local chain restaurant on one of Eugene’s main drags. The waitress seats a group of Skinheads next to them. Skinheads start making their usual racial, sexual remarks. Students reply back, Manager kicks the students out, not the skinheads, when the racial behavior is reported. You can be shot in church because of your perfectly legal medical activities. You can be shot at simply attending a National Museum to learn about an event that the shooter doesn’t believe happened. 

Sometimes you don’t know you are at war when someone is at war with you. Or the war never actually stopped — because it’s no longer the cavalry coming at you, but the settlers.

I recall the words of a Klan Wizard that “Lesbian Jew nurses in abortion clinics are killing white babies.” The point is not whether his view is born out by actual fact, but that he and others believe white women are committing genocide by having abortions and race-mixing. Because it’s war, doctors should be shot, abortion clinics bombed, crosses burned and nursing students and decorated veterans shunned by organizations who honor diversity. I don’t propose simply sitting drinking green tea, deep breathing, or racism-stress-relieving yoga. Rather a skilled purposeful mindful response, in time of war, where you might not be able to count on allies. The cavalry and Lone Ranger ain’t comin’. Know the lines of attack, think five moves ahead. Stay strong.

Mark Harris is an instructor and substance abuse prevention coordinator at LCC, and a freelance writer.