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article imageOp-Ed: Racist Incidents Follow Obama Victory

By Sadiq Green     Nov 14, 2008 in Politics
While most of the post-election reaction to Barack Obama’s presidential win has been beautiful, there has also been significant racist backlash in the wake of the results from Election Day.
From the reactions on election night and the days that followed, it was evident that people from all backgrounds, races, cultures and religions were elated to see an inspirational figure like Obama become President. Many were proud of the historical significance of the United States electing a leader of African descent after the turbulent history of Blacks in America.
Of the greatest fears many Blacks feared after the euphoria faded, was that there would be some racist backlash against Obama. Not surprising after seeing footage of the hate mobs attracted to McCain-Palin rallies. The fringe elements of those Republican crowds were drilled into believing that Barack Obama was a terrorist, communist, Muslim sleeper and traitor. The campaign was heavy with racial undertones, from Rush Limbaugh’s racist rants about Colin Powell's endorsement, to Sarah Palin turning a blind eye to someone yelling the N-word at a rally. After the Obama victory, there remained a potential that some would continue their anger toward the President-elect and his supporters. And sure enough, since election night a few racists and violent extremists have been lashing out.
There have been a string of disturbing firebombings, assaults, and incidents of vandalism directed at African-Americans. A Black church in Springfield, Massachusetts was burned down on election night. Police have downplayed whether it was related to racism or Obama’s triumph, though there are indications it was. If this was indeed a hate crime in liberal Massachusetts, it serves as a painful reminder to some of the destruction and terrorism that greeted the civil rights movement, particularly the bombing that killed four little girls in a church in Alabama.
Another incident involved a Black family near Pittsburgh, who had their car torched right outside their home while watching Obama deliver his victory speech on TV. Before the arsonists burned the car, they tossed the family’s Obama/Biden yard sign through one of their windows and spray painted “Obama” across the trunk. The blaze almost set the family’s house on fire, and left them fearful for their safety in a home where four generations of the Black Pennsylvania family has lived. This was clearly an act of terrorism. Instead of a burning cross on the family’s lawn reminiscent of a bygone era, there was a burning car, symbolizing the torching of our new African-American president. A Car bombings is something you expect to occur in Iraq, Afghanistan or Israel, not America.
There was election night incident in Staten Island, New York where an 17 year-old Muslim, African-American male immigrant, was beaten with baseball bats by a group of White men who repeatedly yelled, “Obama.” This hearkens back to memories of Yusef Hawkins who was chased and beaten by an angry mob in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn during the summer of 1989, resulting in his death.
At North Carolina State University in Raleigh, four students admitted spray painting an entire campus walkway with racist and violent threats including “Shoot Obama” and “Kill that nigger.” In Austin, Texas, Buck Burnette, a reserve center for the University of Texas football team, wrote on his Facebook page, “All the hunters gather up, we have a Nigger in the White House.” Burnette offered an apology not for what he posted, but for posting it on a public forum, and was kicked off the team.
All enlightened citizens must condemn any post-election outbursts of hatred or intimidation. While the symbol of Barack Obama’s presidency is a great thing for the nation, it may trigger the remains of the lunatic racist fringe to resume their old tactics of bombings and assassinations. Already the FBI and ATF have broken up two plots to kill Obama, each originating with radical white supremacist groups.
Threats to Assassinate Barack Obama
Large photo: Picture of arrested neo-nazis Daniel Cowart, posted on MySpace. Inset photo: Daniel Cowart, 20, of Bells, Tennessee and Paul Schlesselman, 18, of West Helena, Arkansas were charged in a federal complaint with the illegal possession of a sawed off shotgun, conspiracy to rob a federal firearms licensee, and making threats to assassinate Barack Obama.
Photo: Crockett County Sheriff's Department/Handout
Terrorism perpetrated by radical racist extremists must be taken as seriously as attacks from radical Islamic extremists. We must condemn the culprits and support the victims just as we did after 9/11.
Our country has matured considerably, but the fight against racism is not over. We cannot tolerate the acts of a lunatic fringe still caught up in the outdated philosophy of White supremacy. Clearly, this election was a statement on how much progress Black and White Americans have made in this country and how much tolerance, acceptance and even admiration Whites have for an African-American candidate like the President-elect. What remains to be seen is how much progress is needed before America becomes a truly colorblind society.
Adapted from Racist Terrorism Follows Obama Victory by Casey Gane-McCalla and Erik Ose, NewsOne
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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