January 28, 2009

Hate abounds in "post-racial" America

So much for the idiotic claims that Obama's victory means we can forgive and forget the racism in America's past. It isn't past; it's still a clear and present danger.

Obama Victory Brings "Racist Rats Out of the Woodwork"Barack Obama's election as America's first black president has unleashed a wave of hate crimes across the nation, according to police and monitoring organizations.

Far from heralding a new age of tolerance, Obama's victory in the November 4th election has highlighted the stubborn racism that lingers within some elements of American society as opponents pour their frustration into vandalism, harassment, threats and even physical attacks.

Cross burnings, black figures hung from nooses, and schoolchildren chanting "Assassinate Obama" are just some of the incidents that have been documented by police from California to Maine.

There have been "hundreds" of cases since the election, many more than usual, said Mark Potok, director of the Intelligence Project at the Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors hate crimes.

The phenomenon appears to be at its most intense in the Southern states, where opposition to Obama is at its highest and where reports of hate crimes were emerging even before the election. Incidents involving adults, college students and even schoolchildren have dampened the early post-election glow of racial progress and harmony, with some African American residents reporting an atmosphere of fear and inter-community tension.
Obama Called a "Visual Aid" for White Supremacist RecruitingNeo-Nazi David Duke says Obama will be a "visual aid" for angry white Americans and will provoke a backlash among relatively mainstream whites that will "result in a dramatic increase in [the] ranks" of extremists. Many other hate group leaders agree.

That backlash was evident in the aftermath of the election as scores of racially charged incidents--beatings, effigy burnings, racist graffiti, threats and intimidation--were reported across the country.

"There's a real fury out there in certain quarters," said Mark Potok, director of the SPLC's Intelligence Project.

White supremacist groups boasted of a post-election surge of new members as well as overwhelming traffic to their websites. At least two hate groups--Stormfront and the Council of Conservative Citizens--said their websites crashed because of heavy traffic. Stormfront also claimed to have gained thousands of new members immediately after Obama was elected on Nov. 4. The League of the South, a neo-secessionist group, said it saw a surge in phone calls from potential members and that its web traffic increased sixfold.
Comment:  My brother Rick was one of many Americans who asked if we could stop all the talk of racism now that a black man is president. Here's your answer, Rick: No.

When racism is no longer a major issue in America, I'll be the first to let you know. Trust your older and wiser big brother. <g>

For more on the subject, see Racism Lives in ObamAmerica and The Post-Racial, Post-Indian Era?


Anonymous said...

Racism will always exist in pretty much any country; the reason being that losers - of any skin color or ethnicity - need a reason to feel superior. The point is however that racism has dropped drastically and that the incidents you mentioned represent the racist fringe minority of this country.

Rob said...

Racism probably dropped significantly from, say, 1950 to 1980. Has it dropped significantly from 1980 to the present? I don't know about that.

Racism is hardly confined to the fringe, either. There have been many instances of mainstream bigotry--e.g., Michael Richards, Don Imus, Mel Gibson, Isaiah Washington, George Allen--in the last few years. In the Native field, we continue to see claims that Indians were uncivilized savages who have become greedy casino owners.