Racist…Camouflage?

By Jason Vincent

It’s 2023, for a few more days anyway, and if you haven’t noticed yet, you’re a racist.

Watch Fox News? Racist. Own a gun? Racist. Don’t apologize for things white people did hundreds of years before you were born? Huge racist.

Or maybe the word is just thrown around too much these days?

Some years ago, I was hunting in a hunting camp. During after-dinner drinks, the outfitter went on a rant about blacks in governmental positions of power. He attempted to make a case that they were genetically inferior to whites and could never be as intelligent. When a friend of mine asked him if he’d argue that point with a black neurosurgeon, he called such examples a fluke phenomenon. I openly laughed at his absurdity…and changed my personal definition of racism. 

Up to that point, my definition of racism was: hatred for another based on his/her specific race. After that interaction, I now add: or thinking you’re better or superior to another based on race. To me, harboring either is a sign of very low intelligence. You don’t have to possess hatred to be a racist, you can just be a dickhead.

The truth is, we’re all equal. We have the same general baseline at birth. Complex structures and external factors influence our paths; there is no group that is born with an upgrade.

But, somehow in the most advanced era the world has ever seen, there are those who use their time, resources and intelligence to expand upon racism by assigning the label anywhere and everywhere they find something that differs from their opinion. If you support Israel, you’re anti-Muslim and you’re a racist. If you support Palestine, you’re anti-semitic and you’re a racist. If you don’t weigh in, you don’t care about either culture and…you’re a racist.

So, congratulations! You, reader, are a racist because there is no opinion that ends with a different label. 

Camouflage, apparently, is not immune, and an earlier 2023 article about Field Ethos mentioned the history of Rhodesia as being “a fixation of the American right wing.” We’ve printed exactly one article on Rhodesian homestead defense, but we do sell several apparel items in Rhodesian Brushstroke camo. Our company is neither fixated nor “right wing.”

A quick Google search of the camo itself would suggest it’s being called more than just right wing by the woke label police. These pillars of forward thinking have declared Rhodesian camouflage to be a sign of racist ideology.

What it really is though, is a very cool retro pattern that is so basic in design that it looks simple and vintage from a mile away. The colors are warm. The brushstrokes are haphazard. The vibe is casual.

But, again, this camo—despite the fact that black Rhodesian Security Force soldiers wearing this uniform made up over 50% of the RSF’s fighting force—has been deemed by some as racist.

Let’s look at some quotes from black soldiers in a January 4, 1979 Washington Post article as a time capsule in this discussion:

BALLA BALLA, Rhodesia — In Rhodesian terms, Lieut. Fani Ndhluvu has passed through the eye of a needle. At the age of 37, he is a black officer in the Rhodesian African Rifles; a key component of a government army that reserved its officer corps exclusively for whites until two years ago.

Four months before a one‐man, one-vote election that is scheduled‐to install a “national coalition” government under black leadership, only a few dozen of the 6.7‐million blacks in Rhodesia have any authority over whites. But Lieutenant Ndhluvu goes about his tasks as an instructor at this training barracks 50 miles southeast of Bulawayo as if he had been an officer his entire career instead of having spent 18 years in the ranks.

“Discrimination? Not at all,” the short soldier said as he strode down a gravel path toward lunch in the officer’s mess, returning a salute from a white along the way. “The only thing that separates me from the white officers in this regiment is that I wear a smaller uniform!”

AND:

Here at Balla Balla, the tide of the war has had no perceptible impact on morale.

“I’m not fighting for whites, I’m fighting for my country,” said Regimental Sgt. Maj. Julius V. Manunure, 47, the senior black noncommissioned officer in the army. Sergeant Manunure, a soldier for 26 years, won a combat decoration while with the regiment fighting in the Malayan insurgency two decades ago. In World War II, a previous generation of Rhodesian blacks fought the Japanese with distinction in Burma. Since the first blacks were recruited into a “native regiment” during World War I, military service among blacks in Rhodesia has been a family affair. Sergeant Manunure is one of eight brothers who joined the army or police. One was killed in action last year, and a second was abducted and slain by guerrillas as he went home to arrange the funeral. In addition to 700 soldiers killed in action, more than 100 black soldiers on vacation in the tribal reservations have been killed by guerrillas.

So, here’s the real story: both blacks and whites wore Rhodesian Brushstroke while fighting communist-backed guerillas in the Rhodesian Bush War. While every other military on earth forced their soldiers to fight in long sleeves and long pants regardless of hot weather temperatures, the Rhodie’s were running and gunning in short shorts, brush stroke short sleeve shirts, and sockless boots with the coolest machine guns of the era and Rambo-esque headbands.

We at Field Ethos think their casual fatigue style was exceptional, and their camo pattern was perfect. We hope you enjoy our products in Rhodie Brushstroke.

And fuck actual racists. They’re the worst.

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