Sunday, November 16, 2008

Hate Crimes Rise After Election

File this under "Change We Can't Believe In."

Obama Election Spurs Race Crimes Around the Country:

Cross burnings. Schoolchildren chanting ''Assassinate Obama.'' Black figures hung from nooses. Racial epithets scrawled on homes and cars.

Incidents around the country referring to President-elect Barack Obama are dampening the postelection glow of racial progress and harmony, highlighting the stubborn racism that remains in America.

From California to Maine, police have documented a range of alleged crimes, from vandalism and vague threats to at least one physical attack. Insults and taunts have been delivered by adults, college students and second-graders.
And the first place they zero in on is Georgia.
One 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.

Grant Griffin, a 46-year-old white Georgia native, expressed similar sentiments: ''I believe our nation is ruined and has been for several decades and the election of Obama is merely the culmination of the change. If you had real change it would involve all the members of (Obama's) church being deported,'' he said.

The day after the vote hailed as a sign of a nation changed, black high school student Barbara Tyler of Marietta, Ga., said she heard hateful Obama comments from white students, and that teachers cut off discussion about Obama's victory.

Another student, from a Covington middle school, said he was suspended for wearing an Obama shirt to school Nov. 5 after the principal told students not to wear political paraphernalia.
The article also lists a variety of offenses from around the country, including several startling racist outbursts on the nation's college campuses.
--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.

--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. ''It seems the election brought the racist rats out of the woodwork,'' Houston said.
Putting it mildly. The fact that these incidents do seem more prevalent in the southern states goes along with election analyses pointing to certain Deep South districts which actually voted more "red" than "blue" versus four years ago.

My point in bringing this up is simple and something I have been saying for several months now: It is a catastrophic mistake and fantasy to think that Obama's candidacy and subsequent election to the presidency heralds a "post-racial world" in America.

Yes, we've come along way and the people deserve credit for having taken such a leap forward with the election of our first African-American president. But racism and its stubborn nature aren't going away anytime soon, and the idea that we have achieved a "color-blind" society with this election is a dangerous supposition.

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