When someone begins a sentence with, “I’m not trying to be racist, but…” we all know they’ll follow up with something totally racist. Especially when chatting with white folks in Ferguson, Missouri.
This time, a man from Argus Radio (KARG) — a local, non-profit independent radio station — interviews a white woman who lives in Ferguson and has a lot to say about what’s happening in her neighborhood: Like heroin dealing at a local hotel.
The conversation refers to events discussed before the interviewer turned the video camera, but the following background information emerges from the confusion: Last year, the woman got robbed by at her home, and then went to the hotel. It is unclear whether the man broke into her home, or her car, or accosted her personally.
The woman sought some sort of “help” from the non-white hotel owner and his family, seems to have gotten a feud with them, and at one point may have behaved crazily enough to have landed herself in jail..
The interview begins with the woman declaring:
“It’s not that I’m racist, it’s just that this is what happened, okay?”
From there, the conversation spins inexorably into utter insanity.
“It’s not that I’m racist…”
Here’s the video from Argus Radio via LiveStream.
The woman comes across as crazy, racist, and not particularly sympathetic. Yet in some ways, she, too is a victim whose once safe, middle-class neighborhood has dramatically declined.
Thanks to St. Louis’ toxic legacy of racism, segregation, and white flight, Ferguson shattered under the hammer blow of discriminatory sub prime mortgages and the 2008 real estate crash — as explained in Jamelle Bouie’s brilliant historical analysis on Slate.
Alas, it’s easier for this woman and others in her situation to blame it on all those dark-skinned people.
If the interviewer’s voice sounds familiar, that’s because much of the news and video footage we get from Ferguson comes from him. Huffington Post reports that Mustafa Hussein is a political science student who volunteers for the Argus radio station.
Hussein originally began live streaming video footage of protests and other events related to Michael Brown’s murder to document events and hold Ferguson police accountable. He is now increasingly seen as a journalist in his own right.
Here’s the transcript of the interview with Hussein and the totally-not-racist woman in Ferguson.
“It’s not that I’m racist, it’s just that this is what happened, okay? […] And this happened a year ago. I’m looking at all this and piecing things together, and, now who’s this guy? Who’s this person? What was going on over here with this heroin?”
“So you’re linking heroin sales in the community to a specific race of people.”
The woman responds:
“It was only occurring at that hotel that I know of, I don’t know, it could have been everywhere. But that man went from my house to that hotel…”
Hussein challenges the woman’s response by demanding:
“So if a prostitute takes a client to a Marriott hotel, is J.W. Marriott the pimp?”
The woman answers, “no,” and Hussein follows up:
“Then why would you associate the owners of the hotel with the activities that take place by individuals who are in there?”
Here’s where things get confusing. The woman says she confronted the people in charge of the hotel at the time, and asked for some sort of “help” but it is unclear what kind of “help” she requested:
“They saw it [the robbery] and said ‘ we will bring this information to our uncle […] And then, later on, whenever I went to take him out forcibly by somebody, when I was trying to look for help, and I …”
Hussein queries, “So who was the somebody who…” and the woman spat out:
“It was a man of Middle Eastern extraction. I did not get to go to my original meeting, so I was given to…”
Hussein then drops a bombshell that seems to come from out of nowhere, but which must relate to an off-camera conversation.
“So you were saying you were kidnapped.”
And the woman replies, “I’m saying I was falsely imprisoned.”
Wait, what? Did the people who ran the hotel lock her in a rubber room? Or did the woman act crazy enough for the police to come and throw her in jail?
The interviewer skeptically repeats, “You were falsely imprisoned,” and then the woman continues:
“I was falsely imprisoned. And I even told my psychiatric doctor that [unintelligible due to background noise of passing cars] that I believe in transparency, and I wanted to talk to her about the issue. And I said, ‘I don’t want to have a problem’… Are you feeling me?”
A startled Hussein asks, “What’s that?” To which the woman repeats, “Are you feeling me?” Hussein tries to reassuringly say “Yes,” but he must have given her a dubious look, because the woman then said:
“That’s okay, I’m not offended by that. I’m really not. Because I’m so tired of this. You have no idea, the things that have been happening to me.”
The woman then proceeds to blame all those danged black and brown people for all the bumps and dings on her car.
“Would you like to take a look at my car? It’s right over here in this spot over here. I’ve never had so many dings and bumps and bumps and dings. And once place it gets bumped at, it gets worse, and it gets worse, and it gets worse, okay?”
And I am NOT trying to be racist, but, when you have …
Hussein interrupts to confront her about the “not racist BUT” thing:
“So, do you know what “but” means? When you say ‘I’m not trying to be a racist, BUT,’ that means ‘forget everything I just said.. ‘”
The woman replies, “Well that’s your opinion,” but Hussein plows forward:
” ‘… Because what I mean is that everything I’m going to say is racist.'”
“No,” the woman insists.
“No, that’s just your interpretation of it. I am trying to be factual here. I’m a nurse. It’s my orientation to be objective and factual as I can.”
Let’s find out where she works so non-white people can avoid her hospital like the plague.
Featured image: Screen grab/Video/Argus Radio.