The confusion that had been my constant companion, now viewed through this extremist lens, had suddenly become both figuratively and literally black and white. No longer was I to blame for anything. I didn’t need to look at my part in my own downward spiral, as teachers, family members and police kept telling me. All life’s troubles, it seemed, were the doing of non-whites.
It was a relief to no longer feel responsible for my own – and others’ – suffering, but better than that, I was now being called upon to be a vital part of “the solution”. It is, I imagine, the same sentiment a potential jihadist feels when he or she foolishly believes that they’re being righteously called upon to fight for the creation of an Islamic state, as if that might fix what are largely personal troubles.
I became part of a group that would drive around in the leader’s ageing hatchback, plastering racist posters on walls and telegraph poles calling for action against the “Asian invasion”. Too dysfunctional to stage any coordinated sort of attack, our race war consisted of nothing more than starting fights with non-whites who were minding their own business. Since we were always heavily intoxicated, more often than not our victims survived the attacks in far better shape than we did.