Enlarge "I never blamed the world for it like I'm seeing kids today do, putting everybody in one box," says the singer.

Phil Anselmo Reveals That He “Was Molested His Entire Child-Fucking-Hood by Numerous People, Both Men and Women”

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Rolling Stone has published a new piece on Phil Anselmo (credits not needed). The subject of the article is ostensibly the accusations of racism that have been leveled against the vocalist this year… but in the midst of that discussion, Anselmo drops a massive bomb.

I’m going to re-publish a substantial section of the article below, because the context is relevant to the discussion I’d like to have about what Anselmo says therein:

That said, [Anselmo’s] rhetoric when discussing race is far from progressive. When talking about donating money to one of his favorite boxing gyms in Detroit, he says he did so to help “ghetto kids from all sorts of ghettos,” African-Americans, Hispanics and “mixed-breed” people. He says that he himself is “mixed-breed,” as he’s “fucking Sicilian, French and the only ‘white’ part of me would be my great-grandmother’s side of the family. And do you know what she did for a living? Picked cotton from dawn ’til dusk ’til her hands were destroyed and bloody.”

He says he also identifies with marginalized peoples because of his upbringing. He grew up in New Orleans’ French Quarter – “That’s a diverse fucking crowd of people,” he says – and he was raised by a single mother who “dated black men and whatever and they were in my house that I lived in – they spent the night and all that – and all I had was fucking love for them.” His nanny when he was young, he says, was a transgender woman who was assigned male at birth named Wilma. “I loved her,” he says repeatedly. He points out that he uses the past tense when talking about her not because he no longer loves her but because she is now dead.

“This is shit I’ve never fucking opened up about until now,” he says. “But when people constantly talk about being a victim or something, there are going to be certain points where I have to step back and go, ‘Whoa, whoa, whoa.’ Especially when people shout and scream about us living in a rape culture and men are this evil product. … Guess who was molested his entire child-fucking-hood by numerous people, both men and women. … ” He pauses, and lowers his chin to make eye contact. “Me.” He pauses again and sharpens his glare. “Me.”

Anselmo resituates himself, closing the bathroom door to let the heat build back up. “I’ve never told the world this, but I am now maybe because I’m almost 50 and I don’t give a fuck anymore,” he says. “But it happened. I never blamed the world for it like I’m seeing kids today do, putting everybody in one box. And the same thing goes for race and all this shit.”

What happened to Anselmo is horrible. You don’t need me to tell you it’s horrible. Child molesters are the lowest form of scum on Earth. Death is too good for them. My heart goes out to Anselmo for the disgusting violation he was forced to endure. I can’t even imagine the hell into which he was plunged.

So it’s with great trepidation that I make this suggestion:

Anselmo’s revelation is an odd one to make in the middle of a conversation about whether or not he’s racist.

Before I continue, let me point out that this piece is not a simple transcript of the interview conducted by author Kory Grow. Maybe there was a segue in-between Anselmo discussing his transgender nanny and his mother’s African-American boyfriends. But as it appears in print, Anselmo’s statement seems to go something like this (and I sincerely do not mean to be flippant): “I’m not a racist. Some of my best friends are African-Americans. Also, I was molested.”

It’s terrible that Anselmo was molested. It also has nothing to do with the topic at hand. The closest Anselmo comes to connecting the two subjects is when he says, “I never blamed the world for it like I’m seeing kids today do, putting everybody in one box. And the same thing goes for race and all this shit.” And honestly, I’m not even clear what he means by that. I’m not sure what blaming the world for having to endure sexual abuse has to do with race, or people being offended when Anselmo has made racist remarks in public. I find his whole statement confusing, and I’d even concede that I could simply be misunderstanding Anselmo’s point due the fact that he is not, with all due respect, the most articulate person. But because the connection between his trauma and race is so tenuous, Anselmo’s statement reads as though he’s implying that his past sins are the result of what happened to him as a child. The implication to that implication, of course, is that his wrongdoings are excusable.

And maybe he believes that. Maybe you believe it. Frankly, how trauma affects its victims and whether or not it justifies the behavior of those victims is a whole can of worms I’m reluctant to open right now. I tend to believe there comes a point when one has to be responsible for one’s own actions regardless of past circumstances… but I’ve never suffered the kind of indignity Anselmo suffered. Maybe it’s not for me to make that judgment.

So I’ll just leave it at this: Anselmo should understand that people accused him of being racist because he did and said things that were patently racist. Nothing will change that. But people can change; few are beyond redemption. And, of course, action speaks louder than words. Put another way: if Anselmo wants to prove he’s not racist, he doesn’t need to talk about the minorities he grew up with or the vile crimes he endured. He simply has to not be racist. That’s it. If he can get through ten years without another incident, than this issue will no longer loom over him.

You can read the entire Rolling Stone article here.

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