February 23, 2008

Threats Against Barack Obama: America's Ugly Underbelly Slithers Forth

I'm consistently amazed at how bizarrely backwards certain elements of the nation into which I was born remain. For the first time in America's history, we have a viable candidate for president who happens to have some immediate African ancestry. He's an educated man, a Senator, and by all accounts a relatively decent fellow as politicians go. I'm personally lukewarm at best in terms of him being elected, but that's based on my own ideas about what we need out of the next president if he or she is going to successfully clean up the mess that the current administration will be leaving in its wake. That someone has ancestors who happened to come from one continent or one country or another is as utterly meaningless to me as what brand of shoes they wear. I like to think that most Americans look at this in the same way, but I know that not all of them do.

I know this because of a report released on February 20 by the Southern Poverty Law Center. They've been monitoring various White Supremacist internet bulletin boards and, unfortunately and predictably, they've found an increasing number of veiled and not-so-veiled threats against Obama.

Racist Attacks on Obama Growing More Heated

“OBAMA WILL DIE, KKK FOREVER,” concludes a Feb. 15 post by “Rodney” to a blog run by a person identified only as Strider333. Above that signoff, Rodney wrote: “The KKK or someone WILL assassinate Obama! If we get a NIGGER President all you NIGGER’s [sic] will think you’ve won and that the WHITE people will have to bow to you[.] FUCK THAT..."

...Dozens of those posts are derogatory and employ all kinds of racist slurs. Others speculate that such an Obama victory would kick off a race war between whites and blacks. And some even raise the possibility that he could be assassinated...

The most heated anti-Obama talk appears to be on Internet sites that allow people to post messages anonymously. One such site, JD Underground... has carried a particularly venomous thread, entitled “Nigger President,” that has stretched from January into this month.

“I’m hoping someone will do his public duty of putting a bullet through Obama’s head,” said a poster identified as “Kill Da Nigga.” Another poster suggests “bring[ing] back lynchings” and concludes with a warning: “LOOK OUT NIGGER. THE KLAN IS GETTING BIGGER!!!!!!” And a third, using the screen name “amerikkkan,” says only, “The deep south is making plans.”
To add to this, I note that a comment on the SPLC's story continues some of this:
Today anyone who talks like that , makes threats or jepordizes the credability of the Alabama Klan would be ousted !

Very true, we hear assasinate Obama all the time, but our comeback to that is, “wrong” It is time that America will recognize that the entire nation will soon become blessed with the attitude found in the streets of the major cities now overcome with crime and gangstas killing gangstas...

We wish you God Speed Mr. Obama, but a race war will probably materalize while you are in office...
The comment was signed by Ken Mier; he runs a blog for an organization called "The Alabama Christian Klan." I'll neither link to it nor will I publish any comment left at this blog written by anyone representing that organization, nor by anyone who uses slurs or advocates violence against people of any ethnicity at all. Anyone who really wants to see what the Alabama Christian Klan, an organization that boasts of having 250+ members, is about can go look for their website themselves.

That race should even be a factor for anyone in making a decision about whom to vote for in 2008 is a sad commentary on American culture and society. It's been four decades since Martin Luther King was assassinated and 14 decades since slavery ended in this country. Most of us, I think, have long since gotten past the idea that there is any inherent, meaningful difference between races. Many of us have even come to realize that race itself is nothing but an artificial construct, a meaningless relic of more ignorant times. For some segment of our society, though, the thought of a president whose skin is a bit darker than their own, whose hair has a different texture, is so fearsome that it conjures up images of war borne out their own hope for violence against those possessing these superficial character states.

While I am not a fervent supporter of Barack Obama for president based upon the content of his character and not upon the color of his skin, I would rather that we had a thousand Barack Obamas in public office than even one purveyor of hate walking our streets. I'd like to live in a country like that, but I don't think I ever will for so long as I live in the United States.

Hyphal tip to Ed Brayton of Dispatches from the Culture Wars.

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