Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Hatred Rears It's Ugly Head

This cartoon shows President Obama giving a wave of thanks to those who have suffered the pain and struggle of slavery, segregation and Jim Crow laws.  Those on whose shoulders he stands. Most of us want to believe that just maybe, this shameful portion in the history of this country is over and that it is a new day.

A week has passed since the installation of our new President and for the most part the press have been avoiding  negative comments regarding the president. Many are in a  'let's wait and see mode' and want to see him get settled in his office before offering any criticisms.
We should not forget  that less than three months ago on the night of the election, when Barack Obama was declared the President elect, scores of racially charged incidents occured– beatings, effigy burnings, racist graffiti, threats and intimidation – were reported across the country.

White supremacist groups boasted there was a post-election surge of new members and an overwhelming traffic to their websites. They  said they saw an increase in phone calls from potential members and that its web traffic increased sixfold.

At the same time, the economic meltdown is helping to create the conditions in which racist extremist and militia groups typically thrive, often by scapegoating minorities and by stoking fear and division among those who are harmed by events beyond their control or understanding. When the economy suffers, people are looking for answers. 
Now these groups have begun to turn their attention to President Obama – distributing racist propaganda, filling Internet message boards with threats and messages of hate, and, in some cases, taking more direct action against minorities. Here is a sampling of racial incidents reported in the wake of the election:
  •  Police in Riverside County, California, said five attacks on minorities were likely related to the election and were believed to have been carried out by a local white supremacist gang.
  • In Shreveport, La., a black man wearing an Obama T-shirt was brutally beaten by a group of white men screaming "f--k Obama" and "n-----r president." The attack left the man with a broken nose, broken eye socket and broken tear duct, requiring multiple surgeries.
  • In Springfield, Mass., a black church was burned hours after the election was called for Obama. Authorities later arrested three white men who admitted that they were angry that Obama had won.
  •  In Staten Island, N.Y., a black teen was bloodied and bruised by two white teens who shouted "Obama" while pummeling him with a bat and pipe.
  •  In Rexburg, Idaho, second- and third-graders on a school bus chanted "assassinate Obama."
  • In Torrance, Calif., swastikas and racial slurs were spray-painted on homes and cars of people who displayed Obama signs or bumper stickers.
  •  In Milwaukee, a poster of Obama with a bullet going through his head was discovered in a police station.
  • In Maine, a sign at a convenience store invited customers to join a betting pool on when Obama would be assassinated. The sign said, "Let's hope we have a winner."
  • Today  racist hate mail came across my desk,  sent by a friend who thought that I should see what is being circulated on the Internet. The content was disturbing to me, and then I realized that the events of the last week may have lulled me into a brief sense of self deception. 
The reality is that racism and hatred are  alive and well in this country. We have to remain vigilant and continue to speak up loudly when we hear or witness an act of racism or hatred.
More on this subject tomorrow...............
                                 Don't let the bullies win.

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