Monday, November 17, 2008

Election of black president stirs racial backlash

"The election of America's first black president has triggered more than 200 hate-related incidents, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center – a record in modern presidential elections," writes Patrik Jonsson, Atlanta-based reporter for The Christian Science Monitor. "Moreover, the white nationalist movement, bemoaning an election that confirmed voters' comfort with a multiracial demography, expects Mr. Obama's election to be a potent recruiting tool – one that watchdog groups warn could give new impetus to a mostly defanged fringe element."

These 200 incidents are a troubling reminder that such strong divisions are still prominent in the U.S. "The political marginalization of certain Southern whites, economic distress in rural areas, and a White House occupant who symbolizes a multiethnic United States could combine to produce a backlash against what some have heralded as the dawn of a postracial America," Jonsson writes.

Not only have racist incidents been reported, but "at least two white nationalist websites – Stormfront and the Council of Conservative Citizens – report their servers have crashed because of heavy traffic" after the election, writes Jonsson. "The League of the South, a secessionist group, says Web hits jumped from 50,000 a month to 300,000 since Nov. 4, and its phones are ringing off the hook." As the country tries to unite and move forward in the face of difficult times the growing popularity of these fringe groups can only hurt those efforts. (Read more) It was reported here that most of the racist response to the election of Barack Obama had been covered by local news outlets. The Monitor's coverage indicates that may be changing.

UPDATE, Nov. 23: Howard Witt of the Houston bureau of the Chicago Tribune picks up on the SPLC data and focuses on the area around Bogalusa, La., once a Ku Klux Klan hotbed: "In the small Louisiana town of Angie, 58-year-old Judy Robinson put an Obama sign outside her home a few weeks before the Nov. 4 presidential election. The morning after Halloween, she awoke to find the words 'KKK' and 'white power' spray-painted around her yard. 'I thought all that KKK stuff was in the past,' said Robinson, who is black. 'But now I look at people and think, 'Could he be Klan?' Suddenly I'm feeling like my town is hostile territory.' Experts say modern Klan chapters remain isolated and small, with perhaps 6,000 members nationwide -- a shadow of the group's membership of 4 million in the early 1900s." (Read more)

1 comment:

C. T. said...

Lovely. Just what you guys need more dumb crap about blacks and other races spewed out for the world to hear about and see. Bad enough you have an economic crisis last thing you need is this sort of stuff. I hope for your country better times will come, but the only way is to stop looking at the past and start looking to the future.