Monday, November 24, 2008

Racism very much alive and active. . .

Jesse Washington filed a sickening story ("Obama election spurs race crimes around the country") last Sunday, November 16, 2008 with the Associated Press.

So much for those who report that they are tired of "hearing about race" or that it's time for the nation "to move on beyond racial conversations and categories."

Wishful thinking, folks.

Consider, better, can you believe these tag lines?

Cross burnings.

Schoolchildren chanting "Assassinate Obama."

Black figures hung from nooses.

Racial epithets scrawled on homes and cars.

And, that is just for starters. sort of tones down the optimism most of us have been feeling, wouldn't you say?

Across the United States from one corner to the other, authorities document a wide range of racially motivated crimes, threats and attacks. a range of alleged crimes, from vandalism and vague threats to insults and racial taunts, as well as at least one physical attack. Hundreds of incidents have been reported involving people of all ages, including, unbelievably, a group of second-graders.

On second thought, maybe not so unbelievable at all.

From Washington's report:

One [incident] was in Snellville, Ga., where Denene Millner said a boy on the school bus told her 9-year-old daughter the day after the election: "I hope Obama gets assassinated." That night, someone trashed her sister-in-law's front lawn, mangled the Obama lawn signs, and left two pizza boxes filled with human feces outside the front door, Millner said.

She described her emotions as a combination of anger and fear.

"I can't say that every white person in Snellville is evil and anti-Obama and willing to desecrate my property because one or two idiots did it," said Millner, who is black. "But it definitely makes you look a little different at the people who you live with, and makes you wonder what they're capable of and what they're really thinking."

I'd say Ms. Millner has it about right.

Other incidents (can you spell "u-n-b-e-l-i-e-v-a-b-l-e"?, not so fast. . .) Washington includes in his report:

-Four North Carolina State University students admitted writing anti-Obama comments in a tunnel designated for free speech expression, including one that said: "Let's shoot that (N-word) in the head." Obama has received more threats than any other president-elect, authorities say.

-At Standish, Maine, a sign inside the Oak Hill General Store read: "Osama Obama Shotgun Pool." Customers could sign up to bet $1 on a date when Obama would be killed. "Stabbing, shooting, roadside bombs, they all count," the sign said. At the bottom of the marker board was written "Let's hope someone wins."

-Racist graffiti was found in places including New York's Long Island, where two dozen cars were spray-painted; Kilgore, Texas, where the local high school and skate park were defaced; and the Los Angeles area, where swastikas, racial slurs and "Go Back To Africa" were spray painted on sidewalks, houses and cars.

-Second- and third-grade students on a school bus in Rexburg, Idaho, chanted "assassinate Obama," a district official said.

-University of Alabama professor Marsha L. Houston said a poster of the Obama family was ripped off her office door. A replacement poster was defaced with a death threat and a racial slur.

-Black figures were hanged by nooses from trees on Mount Desert Island, Maine, the Bangor Daily News reported. The president of Baylor University in Waco, Texas said a rope found hanging from a campus tree was apparently an abandoned swing and not a noose. [I must say, I need to hear more about this investigation at Baylor, how about you? LJ]

-Crosses were burned in yards of Obama supporters in Hardwick, N.J., and Apolacan Township, Pa.

-A black teenager in New York City said he was attacked with a bat on election night by four white men who shouted 'Obama.'

-In the Pittsburgh suburb of Forest Hills, a black man said he found a note with a racial slur on his car windshield, saying "now that you voted for Obama, just watch out for your house."

Please take the time to read Washington's entire report here.

Minority reports, these acts of hateful stupidity? Let's hope so. Clearly, the work is far from over in this country. Those who want to rush us along without allowing us to invest in the necessary work of reforming and cleansing the nation's soul should be ignored and their commentaries discounted.

And, now that you mention it, a strong, continuing word from the white church in America would be useful. Are you hearing anything out there from that camp?



Anonymous said...

I read the article, and what struck me about it was the number of incidents which took place in the north. The South seems to get the focus, and maybe it deserves it, but it seems to be everywhere.


Anonymous said...

Another racial incident is when people accuse victims of racial hate as doing it themselves to create attention. I'm not sure what's worse ------- having that done to you or having someone ignore it and say you did it for attention.....

Anonymous said...

Thanks for letting us know about the article Larry. I posted about it on my blog as well.

Anonymous said...

Black America and the N-word:

Anonymous said...

They've also posted a version of my post at the God's Politics blog:

This type of thing needs to be known and addressed. Keep up the good work Larry.

Gerald Britt said...

I hope that I'm wrong about what Anonymous 10:40 is trying to say.

But it needs to be made plain: nothing that you see any group do among themselves justifies the hate crimes by another group.

Nothing that you see any group do among themselves makes it alright to objectify them to the point that their lives are considered expendable.

Perhaps one of the useless and harmful arguments employed to excuse the hatred of bigots is to say, 'Well look at what they do to themselves'.

Instances of degregation, humiliation, assaults and murder are not excusable acts under any circumstances. Excusing the ignorance and brutality of anyone who thinks so is deplorable.

Jeff said...

You know, you get a lot of Americans who wanted to hear moderate Muslims call for less religious hatred and terrorism. The White American Church has been deafeningly silent on the subject, to its great shame. I first heard the N word used in a Presbyterian Church.

This has much to do with this covenant child becoming an atheist.

Larry James said...

Anon 10:40, your post is irrelevant to this discussion. It also borders on being a "commerical," and I almost took it down from the board. My intent is not to open the debate your post invites. But, I must say that I agree with what Gerald Britt has written here. While I realize the circumstances are different, it is still true that I can call my best friend names that are insulting as part of our game that I would not allow others to use in reference to him without a fight! My post is all about racism and that reality is not the result of anything the targets of racism have or have not done.

Chris said...

After eight years of Bush bashing I hope we have more civility.

Jeff said...

I apologize for the lack of clarity in my earlier post, but why do you suppose the Christian establishment is not more outspoken about racism in America? The entire Southern Baptist Church exists as a racist result of needing to defend slavery and later to fight the Civil Rights movement.

I'd be shocked and thrilled to hear a white Southern Baptist minister state unequivicably that that shooting President-elect Obama is NOT God's will. I've heard from ones who believe it is, way too many in fact.

Why the deafening silence?

Anonymous said...

Fits with the Baylor University noose hangin' in the tree and the university's disgusting, under the radar, supposed "investigation" that claims the rope in the tree that just happened to appear on election day, along with burning political signs, was a simple swing. How can a so called Christian university respond in this fashion. Can anyone tell me that????

Anonymous said...

In no way to diminish the hateful and mean spirited acts mentioned in the article, but I have to say I was relieved. I expected more reports of beatings and even murder of African Americans because Obama's election. I am not so much worried about him being assasinated, he has the secret service, and any one caught even saying they want to assasinate him can be arested. I am concerned about regular African American citizens. I will be holding my breath for a few days afer inaguaration.

Charles said...

Yes Chris attacking and mocking an individual's acts and words, even mean-spiritedly, is exactly the same as hatred and threatened violence against an individual and an entire group of people. I hope for your sake God's grace is bigger than I think it is.

I think Chris sums up most of the white church's response right there. Thank you to everyone else for providing an alternative.