Reading the recent news story about the Idaho man who built a KKK snowman reminded me of my own experience with a racist snowman. It was the Christmas season and I was in sixth grade and our creative writing assignment was to pen a holiday-appropriate story. Most of the other kids wrote about Santa Claus flying in his sled or about going on vacation with their families. I turned in a story entitled “Frosty the Imperialist Snowman.”
In my story, Frosty who is a white snowman after all, comes to visit the children. At first, the kids are happy and welcome him with open arms, but soon discover he has a more sinister agenda. Frosty wants them to only play his games even though they don’t want to. He wants them to stay out in the cold even though they are freezing. Eventually, he brings along his other snowmen friends and they take over and the kids must obey the will of the snowmen or suffer consequences (i.e. I loved drawing pictures of decapitated people with “X’s instead of eyes).
It’s not that I got into trouble when I read my story in front of the class (real trouble would come later that school year when I attempted to launch my career as a porn mogul), but the teacher was “disturbed.” I was sent to the principal who was also disturbed upon reading what I wrote. He asked me where I got the idea for my story. So I told him.
I usually hung out after school with some older teens who loitered at our lunch tables listening to music and smoking out. They played a lot of 60s music and once asked me if I knew anything about that period of history. I had learned about Martin Luther King in class but otherwise my knowledge was fairly non-existent.
“You don’t know about Malcolm X or the Black Panthers?” They asked. “By any means necessary? The white man is the devil? Kill whitey?” Nope, I had not. I should point out that these were all suburban white teens.
They proceeded to “educate” me about the ‘60s revolution. “Do you know the Vietnam War?” Again, I did not. “The white man sent the black man to Vietnam to kill the yellow man. That’s you! They were killing innocent yellow people like you. That’s straight up racism and imperialism.”
I wasn’t sure what the Vietnam War had to do with me, but it sounded like these guys knew what they were talking about. And I wasn’t sure what imperialism was either, but again, it sounded bad and the right thing to do was to strike a blow against it as a yellow man. So I wrote my story. Frosty the Snowman was white, his natural enemy the sun was yellow—it all made perfect sense.
“But I’m learning history from them, isn’t that a good thing?”
He hemmed and hawed and said something I didn’t understand, but it was clear he was still disturbed. Next thing I know, he brought in a “nice” woman to talk to me. I didn’t know who she was at the time, but I’m fairly certain she was the school district’s shrink.
So the shrink lady read my story, asked me a bunch of questions and then proceeded to recommend that the school do…nothing.
She concluded that there was nothing wrong with the story or me and that, in fact, I was perfectly normal and demonstrated a strong curiosity for history and learning in general. She even recommended that my creative explorations in this regard should be “encouraged.” Yes! Another blow against the Man! Thank you, American Psychology profession! Fight the power!
And obviously the shrink was right since I turned out perfectly normal and fine so…yeah, well, let’s just leave it at that, shall we?