MCBAIN – Life in the elitist Northeast was never easy for Mason Costner CC ’19. In this region of religious tolerance and racial harmony, Costner found himself an outsider, and never felt he was able to be who he really was: an unrelenting, pitchfork-wielding racist.
“I always felt different, excluded from the others. Even my school teachers told me that somehow believing all other races other than my own were inferior made me a bad person,” Costner said. “But now that we’ve elected someone to the highest office in the land who thinks the way I do, I finally feel comfortable enough to spread my wings and be the racial extremist I’ve always known I could be.”
Costner remembers scarring incidents from his childhood that forced him to conceal his racist predilections. “In fourth grade, everyone thought I was a ghost for Halloween, but I was really dressed as David Duke, my favorite Klan member,” Costner said. “People who aren’t racist want to cram you into their unbigoted mold… I found my identity constantly being erased.”
The sophomore didn’t even find acceptance in his own home. He says his father, a professor of Race and Ethnicity Studies at Columbia, believed Costner’s racism was just a phase, and that he’d outgrow these outward expressions of ardent bigotry. “Boy, did I prove him wrong,” Costner said.
Costner hoped to find acceptance among his young, open-minded peers. But he says many of his fellow students refused to associate with him once he started wearing the Confederate flag as a cape. “Freedom of speech is in the first amendment. Shouldn’t that include the right to dress as I want, provided I’m not one of those hijab-wearing terrorists?”
Coster hopes his bravery can serve as a beacon of hope for other young people who feel like they don’t belong just because they believe their race has been ordained to dominate all the others.
“This is America, everyone should feel okay with being who they are. It’s 2016!” Costner continued. “I say you can be anything you want to be, from Imperial Wizard to president of the United States.”
And Costner hopes people can start seeing him as more than just a racist. “I knew this step in sharing my identity would face significant backlash, especially in such a closed-minded environment like Columbia,” he added. “I can only hope that people will make the effort to get to know the real me. I play guitar, I watch Stranger Things, I hate black people. Being a racist is just one part of my identity.”