Sunday, November 23, 2008

Not There Yet

Lots of people think the mere fact that Barack Obama was elected president is evidence that America has finally grown beyond it's racist past. Well, this article in the Los Angeles Times should put that notion to rest.

Barely three weeks since America elected its first black president, noose hangings, racist graffiti and death threats have struck dozens of towns across the country.

More than 200 such incidents -- including cross burnings, assassination betting pools and effigies of President-elect Barack Obama -- have been reported, according to law enforcement authorities and the Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors hate groups.

Racist websites have been boasting that their servers have been crashing because of an exponential increase in traffic.

And America's most potent symbol of racial hatred, the Ku Klux Klan, is reasserting itself in a spate of recent violence, after decades of disorganization and obscurity.

Just a little rabble rousing from a tiny fringe group of some knuckle dragging good ol' boys? Perhaps, but even a small group can cause a lot of trouble. And the fact that local law enforcement authorities in some southern towns were surprised at the sudden spate of hate crimes does not bode well.

As the article points out, the ugly problem has been exacerbated by the current economic hard times, but the fact is that there is still a lot of racially based animosity lurking in this country. Obama's election has just given that animosity some focus. John McCain's reference to Mr. Obama as "That One" certainly didn't help matters, nor did Sarah Palin's reference to him in terms more than faintly reminiscent of the old "scary black" man canard.

No, we haven't grown out of our racist past, at least not yet. We've miles to go before we can rest.



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