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Vassar Bushmills

I know more about those snot-eyed, inbred, racist skinhead, neo-Nazi, confederacy worshipping people than most of you.

So I love people who rant about people and things they know nothing about. I’m in Richmond so know them in their natural habitat.

Every city has had them for years, not just in the south, but LA, Denver, and Brooklyn. Problem is, they look just the same as men a hundred thousand times their number who are the real victims here, but who have become a stereotype just by standing around on street corners because they can’t find a job….after losing theirs in 2009-2013.

If there is real bigotry in America it is in the conflation of the two.

When I was in the Soviet Union in 1991, my interpreter asked me to come by her church after a concert we had attended. It was mid-winter. Just inside the brick walls surrounding the church there was a line of people begging, with plates. My interpreter told me churches were the only place people could beg without having to pay half their donations to mafia, who “owned” all the begging corners. (I’d already seen this practice in subways, where beggars would hand over the folding bills to some man with two bodyguards, while be allowed to keep the loose change.) As we walked by the line of beggars, she suddenly stopped, whispered a scream, then grabbed my jacket and hurried me along, lowering her head for a few feet. Upon stopping she told me she had seen a woman from her apartment building, and it would humiliate her if she knew she’d been seen by a friend. She cried one of those “I didn’t know they were so hard-up” cries, common in America at another time[…]

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