I grew up in the 90’s with a gay father raised in a stereotypical poor white trash Southern Baptist household that regularly moved across the Deep South, and it broke him about as badly as you’d imagine. My parents divorced when I was three, and while my mom wouldn’t find out until the day he died of AIDS in 2004, I was lucky enough to be his lifelong confidant and unpaid therapist.
Starting at the age of 7.
My father was an emotionally abusive, neurotic trainwreck that used most of our time together to pontificate about his Quest For Identity while berating me about equally stereotypically fussy gay things, like my physique and fashion sense. (Again: Still a child.)
Because of that, I’m generally less sympathetic with QUEST FOR IDENTITY stories than most liberals because I don’t romanticize it as much. The narcissism is too nakedly visible.
Part of what disgusted me about this was that my dad was an overzealous, freshly converted Democrat that would constantly rant about how much he hated Republicans, despite the fact that he could barely articulate what they stood for when I asked. (To be fair, this question is virtually impossible to answer today.) He was still, in many ways, a Republican at heart, and race was probably the most obvious way this manifested.
About a year before his death, I was around 17 and had long lost patience with listening to him work through his abusive childhood every single time he spoke. So one night--one of the last times I’d see him alive--he started ranting about how much he hated Arabs. (We lived in Michigan, so he was referring to them in person, not due to a generalized post-9/11 fear of terrorism.) I told him to stop, he decided to escalate by saying he would proudly march the and their children into gas chambers, I pretty much screamed “SHUT UP” at him, he backed down, sucked his thumb (yes, he was an actual thumbsucker), then reverted to his “poor little broken gay me, did I mention I was raised in the Deep South?” routine.
I was so, so not having it.
We had a big fight after that. He’d call me over and over, leaving voicemails that vacillated between threatening and pleading, but I wouldn’t pick up. He died a few weeks later.
Since then, I’ve found people who try to play Persecution Bingo by racking up as many Persecution Points as possible so they can win the prize of not having to feel empathy for others to be generally distasteful. Anyone from any group can be ignorant or hateful towards anyone from any group. It’s not a binary thing.