It all started with Dire Straits' "Money for Nothing."
I was at the butcher shop in my local Dominick's grocery store singing along under my breath when I noticed that the butcher, who was weighing out some raw shrimp for my Sunday gumbo, was also singing it.
We started talking about the greatness that is Dire Straits and how one of my media classes in grad school studied it because of the to-do that was made about the unedited version of the song that uses the word "faggot" as well as some other potentially disparaging comments.
Our quick little discussion about Dire Straits turned into a much larger discussion about sensitivity and tolerance as well as the ignorance of hate groups.
Granted we both saw eye to eye on the subject (firmly anti-hatred), I gotta admit I was feeling a little weird as he discussed his run-in with a Neo-Nazi skinhead at a white supremacy rally in Chicago some years back. Sure, he had a civil discussion with the skinhead, but something about discussing it with me very openly and at a slightly higher-than-average volume made me worry about how other customers would perceive this as they walked by. I guess the fear of a negative perception kinda comes with the territory when you're white, male, and bald shaven.
No, I do not agree with the viewpoints of Neo-Nazi skinheads in any way, shape, or form. In fact, I firmly believe that stupidity and ignorance do not discriminate based on color, shape, size, gender, race, religion, or sexual leaning. But, we are sadly a society of first impressions and the impression made by one white male talking to another white male with a shaved head during which terms like "Neo-Nazi," "skinhead," and "hate" are mentioned, regardless of the context of their use, could prove disastrous.
Isn't it sad that we have to worry about shit like that?
Seriously, my head is clean shaven due to genetics and convenience. Oh, and a fundraiser.