The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.

After the Election

By Mark Potok on November 7, 2008 - 8:56 am, Posted in Anti-Black, Anti-Immigrant, Anti-Latino, White Supremacist

After 250 years of slavery, a century of Jim Crow laws, and a legacy of racial terror that includes the lynching of thousands of African Americans, America has elected a black president. It was a day that many thought would never come.

In all the euphoria after the election of Barack Obama, it is tempting to see the era of overt racism in the United States as past, a dead letter that has no relevance in a country that has finally overcome its ugly history. But sadly, that would be a mistake. Obama’s election reflects the fact that the country has made enormous progress in the area of race relations and is likely to propel it to even greater heights. But progress is never a straight line. There is always the danger of a backlash.

Even before the campaign was over, racial rage, clearly driven by fear of a black man in the White House, began to break out around the country. Effigies of Obama appeared hanging from nooses on university campuses. Angry supporters of John McCain and Sarah Palin shouted “Kill him!” at a campaign rally and even screamed “nigger” at a black cameraman, telling him, “Sit down, boy!” The head of the Hillsborough County, Fla., Republican Party sent an E-mail warning members of “the threat” of “carloads of black Obama supporters coming from the inner city to cast their votes.” A reporter who has covered every presidential election since 1980 told me he had never seen such fury. Similar scenes were reported nationwide.

Naturally, the rage also engulfed the radical right. Thom Robb, an Arkansas Klan leader, described for a reporter the “race war” he sees developing “between our people, who I see as the rightful owners and leaders of this great country, and their people, the blacks.” In Tennessee, two neo-Nazi skinheads went further, allegedly planning to murder black schoolchildren, shoot and behead other African Americans, and assassinate Obama. They were arrested two weeks before the election.

A healthy majority of Americans did vote to send Obama to the Oval Office. But, clearly, there are people — perhaps millions of them — who are deeply upset over his victory for reasons that are fundamentally racial. And their anger is likely to intensify as the economy, especially unemployment, continues to worsen.

“Historically, when times get tough in our nation, that’s how movements like ours gain a foothold,” Jeff Schoep, the leader of the National Socialist Movement, a neo-Nazi group with 73 chapters in 34 states, told USA Today. “When the economy suffers, people are looking for answers. … We are the answer for white people.”

Unfortunately, Schoep is right. And the economic meltdown set in motion by the subprime crisis is not the only reason. Indeed, there seems to be a kind of perfect storm brewing of factors favoring the growth of hate and hate groups.

Non-white immigration has been successfully exploited by white supremacist groups in recent years, to the point where the number of such groups has spiraled from 602 in 2000 to 888 last year — a 48% increase. (“This immigrant thing in the past couple of years has been the greatest boon to us,” Schoep said.) And nativist fears have not been limited to extremist groups; politicians and pundits routinely vilify Latino immigrants in public forums. That is likely to continue or worsen as the economy raises new fears among Americans of job loss and wage depression.

At the same time, the U.S. Census Bureau has predicted that whites will lose their national majority by shortly after 2040, leading many to fear that they are somehow losing the country that their forefathers built to both Latino immigration and the comparatively high fertility of our native Latino populations.

And now, a black man has been chosen as America’s president.

David Duke, the former Klan leader and convicted felon who is the closest thing the radical right has to an intellectual leader these days, believes this could all work to his benefit. In an essay this summer, the neo-Nazi ideologue argued that an Obama victory would serve as a “visual aid” to white Americans, provoking a backlash that Duke believes will “result in a dramatic increase in our ranks.”

Even as we embark on a new national adventure, the signs are worrying. It may be that the hatemongers are wrong, that Americans’ better angels will prevail and the changes that are sweeping America will not result in a growing rage on the right. But experience tells us that while we hope for the best, we also must prepare for what could be a dangerous, racially motivated backlash of hate.

  • Ajamarie

    As Tim Wise says:
    It’s about responsibility, not guilt.

    Criminal justice data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration indicates that whites are equally or more likely than blacks or Latinos to use drugs. People of color (blacks and Latinos mostly) who comprise about 90 percent of the persons incarcerated for a drug possession offense. Despite the fact that white men are more likely to be caught with drugs in our car (on occasions when
    searched), black men remain about four times more likely than white men to be searched in the first place, according to Justice Department findings. That’s privilege for whites.
    Go to the website and check it out, I did. Mr Nazi.

    I could sit here waste my time and give you endless examples of white privilage by whites.

    I won’t.
    Folks like you don’t change.

    We can throw stats around to “win”.

    I won’t because I know what you are trying to do.
    We all know that black men make up most of the prison population.
    Then what???
    Do we ignore the stories behind how they got there?
    I’m not pardoning the responsibility of the individual just because we are black.
    So why are you not capable of admitting the advantages given to you from birth? Coward you are Nick. Don’t even start that “I grew up poor” junk. You only lack economic privilege. You still have better treatment in school and advancing at work to help you move up. Duh….

    You will just continue to live with your eyes closed. Burn crosses, beat up “others”, name call, deny, blame and ignore history. Worst of all you will never be able to see past your opinions into another reality.

    Im over you…go take a history or sociology class.

  • Ajamarie

    Mr. KKK NICK:
    Pay you???? Funny..I would not even look at you. Its ironic that you would ask someone like me to pay YOU! What not making enough at your blue collar job?
    I wont even look at your stats. The source is most likley from some racist psuedo white victim like you.
    Im not trying to win with you. You started the attack, which was based on very little reason. I’m already a winner. I love my life. I am not you. I don’t know you. I live in reality. I don’t need to use opression and childlike nitpicking to prove a point. want some proof of whit privlege?
    Ok white devil (You wanted racism so there it goes. Funny that that was the first and only time that I have ever done that. You need to look up the true definition of racism before you go abusing it. )
    Peggy McIntosh Prof. at Wellesley Collage
    This essay is excerpted from Working Paper 189. “White Privilege and Male Privilege: A Personal Account of Coming To See Correspondences through Work in Women’s Studies” (1988)

    Daily effects of white privilege

    I decided to try to work on myself at least by identifying some of the daily effects of white privilege in my life. I have chosen those conditions that I think in my case attach somewhat more to skin-color privilege than to class, religion, ethnic status, or geographic location, though of course all these other factors are intricately intertwined. As far as I can tell, my African American coworkers, friends, and acquaintances with whom I come into daily or frequent contact in this particular time, place and time of work cannot count on most of these conditions.

    1. I can if I wish arrange to be in the company of people of my race most of the time.

    2. I can avoid spending time with people whom I was trained to mistrust and who have learned to mistrust my kind or me.

    3. If I should need to move, I can be pretty sure of renting or purchasing housing in an area which I can afford and in which I would want to live.

    4. I can be pretty sure that my neighbors in such a location will be neutral or pleasant to me.

    5. I can go shopping alone most of the time, pretty well assured that I will not be followed or harassed.

    6. I can turn on the television or open to the front page of the paper and see people of my race widely represented.

    7. When I am told about our national heritage or about “civilization,” I am shown that people of my color made it what it is.

    8. I can be sure that my children will be given curricular materials that testify to the existence of their race.

    9. If I want to, I can be pretty sure of finding a publisher for this piece on white privilege.

    10. I can be pretty sure of having my voice heard in a group in which I am the only member of my race.

    11. I can be casual about whether or not to listen to another person’s voice in a group in which s/he is the only member of his/her race.

    12. I can go into a music shop and count on finding the music of my race represented, into a supermarket and find the staple foods which fit with my cultural traditions, into a hairdresser’s shop and find someone who can cut my hair.

    13. Whether I use checks, credit cards or cash, I can count on my skin color not to work against the appearance of financial reliability.

    14. I can arrange to protect my children most of the time from people who might not like them.

    15. I do not have to educate my children to be aware of systemic racism for their own daily physical protection.

    16. I can be pretty sure that my children’s teachers and employers will tolerate them if they fit school and workplace norms; my chief worries about them do not concern others’ attitudes toward their race.

    17. I can talk with my mouth full and not have people put this down to my color.

    18. I can swear, or dress in second hand clothes, or not answer letters, without having people attribute these choices to the bad morals, the poverty or the illiteracy of my race.

    19. I can speak in public to a powerful male group without putting my race on trial.

    20. I can do well in a challenging situation without being called a credit to my race.

    21. I am never asked to speak for all the people of my racial group.

    22. I can remain oblivious of the language and customs of persons of color who constitute the world’s majority without feeling in my culture any penalty for such oblivion.

    23. I can criticize our government and talk about how much I fear its policies and behavior without being seen as a cultural outsider.

    24. I can be pretty sure that if I ask to talk to the “person in charge”, I will be facing a person of my race.

    25. If a traffic cop pulls me over or if the IRS audits my tax return, I can be sure I haven’t been singled out because of my race.

    26. I can easily buy posters, post-cards, picture books, greeting cards, dolls, toys and children’s magazines featuring people of my race.

    27. I can go home from most meetings of organizations I belong to feeling somewhat tied in, rather than isolated, out-of-place, outnumbered, unheard, held at a distance or feared.

    28. I can be pretty sure that an argument with a colleague of another race is more likely to jeopardize her/his chances for advancement than to jeopardize mine.

    29. I can be pretty sure that if I argue for the promotion of a person of another race, or a program centering on race, this is not likely to cost me heavily within my present setting, even if my colleagues disagree with me.

    30. If I declare there is a racial issue at hand, or there isn’t a racial issue at hand, my race will lend me more credibility for either position than a person of color will have.

    31. I can choose to ignore developments in minority writing and minority activist programs, or disparage them, or learn from them, but in any case, I can find ways to be more or less protected from negative consequences of any of these choices.

    32. My culture gives me little fear about ignoring the perspectives and powers of people of other races.

    33. I am not made acutely aware that my shape, bearing or body odor will be taken as a reflection on my race.

    34. I can worry about racism without being seen as self-interested or self-seeking.

    35. I can take a job with an affirmative action employer without having my co-workers on the job suspect that I got it because of my race.

    36. If my day, week or year is going badly, I need not ask of each negative episode or situation whether it had racial overtones.

    37. I can be pretty sure of finding people who would be willing to talk with me and advise me about my next steps, professionally.

    38. I can think over many options, social, political, imaginative or professional, without asking whether a person of my race would be accepted or allowed to do what I want to do.

    39. I can be late to a meeting without having the lateness reflect on my race.

    40. I can choose public accommodation without fearing that people of my race cannot get in or will be mistreated in the places I have chosen.

    41. I can be sure that if I need legal or medical help, my race will not work against me.

    42. I can arrange my activities so that I will never have to experience feelings of rejection owing to my race.

    43. If I have low credibility as a leader I can be sure that my race is not the problem.

    44. I can easily find academic courses and institutions which give attention only to people of my race.

    45. I can expect figurative language and imagery in all of the arts to testify to experiences of my race.

    46. I can chose blemish cover or bandages in “flesh” color and have them more or less match my skin.

    47. I can travel alone or with my spouse without expecting embarrassment or hostility in those who deal with us.

    48. I have no difficulty finding neighborhoods where people approve of our household.

    49. My children are given texts and classes which implicitly support our kind of family unit and do not turn them against my choice of domestic partnership.

    50. I will feel welcomed and “normal” in the usual walks of public life, institutional and social.

    More rambling for you:

  • Nicholas Stix


    You do ramble, don’t you?

    “You are not a victim, fool. I guess its harder to admit your privialge…”

    What “privialge” could that possibly be? And where might those “wide open doors” be, given that they are open for illiterate racists like yourself, but closed to literate whites like yours truly.

    “Prove that my info on black inventors is incorrect. Footnot something not from a racist site that says a black person have never invented anything that we use today.”

    Ah, there’s my racist moron! I’m supposed to waste hours hunting down true information to disprove the racial fairy tale you are promoting, only so that you can denounce my sources as “racist”? In your eyes, any honest source about race is “racist.” How much are you going to pay me for my time? Besides which, your burden of proof is ridiculously one-sided. If I find a single item used today invented by a black you win? Are you stoned or stupid? Don’t bother; it was a rhetorical question.

    That’s a real affirmative action standard you’re using there, pally.

    “Im laughing in fear because this blog shows that whites like you create bull to justify hate crimes which as I footnoted whites to commit most of the time. Everyone knows that! Give me one instance when your race has ever worked against you with the law!!!!!”

    Repeating your lies will not make them any more believable. BTW, take some English classes.

    “Give me one instance when your race has ever worked against you with the law!!!!!”

    “Disappearing” Urban Crime

  • Ajamarie

    Mr KKK Nick in the sticks,
    Please for crying out loud read all of the context you jackass befor you go calling me a racist (which did make me laugh) Did I not say that all races have their issues? When did I deny that blacks commit crimes? When did I ever call blacks the master race? Dont project your feelings about race onto me. As far as being a moron…Ive been called worse. The name calling gets us no where but I understand that its what your type resorts to. That 84%…was not for all murders. My error, it was for serial killers which I failed to note. My mention of that was to show that not all of one race is supreme and all have their good and bad people.Blacks make up most of the crime rate…whites make up most serial killers. Yes it is true that blacks do make up most of the crime stats…not denying that, the facts have always been there. I don’t stick up for wrong doers balck or white. When did I ever write that?
    Too bad soo sad that we have yet another victim from the white race…now law inforcement is against you???? This falsehood of white victimology that you have is a joke. Usually used by those whites that want to blame races for their faliure to pass throught wide open doors. Dont project your personal inadequacy on blacks or law inforcement. You are not a victim, fool. I guess its harder to admit your privialge…then you would assume responsibilty for all of the racist crap that “you people” have done to everyone even your “own”. Look at you playing the race card. Prove that my info on black inventors is incorrect. Footnot something not from a racist site that says a black person have never invented anything that we use today. Or is it safer to say that “you all” have some sort of pathology so you cannot get credit for that stuff. You guys are so predictable. Im laughing in fear because this blog shows that whites like you create bull to justify hate crimes which as I footnoted whites to commit most of the time. Everyone knows that! Give me one instance when your race has ever worked against you with the law!!!!!