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 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. ( continue to full post… )
Even as they rail against the election of the nation’s first black president, some white supremacist leaders are claiming that people have flocked to their organizations since Barack Obama’s victory.
“The League of the South is reporting a surge in new members within hours of the results from yesterday’s elections,” proclaimed an E-mail that the neo-Confederate group sent to supporters the day after the election. “League president, Dr. Michael Hill, stated that it is from an awakening of many Southerners that the constitutional Republic is now dead and has been replaced with a national socialist empire.”
Don Black, who runs the leading white supremacist hate site Stormfront.org, boasted in an online post Wednesday afternoon that his website was seeing six times its usual traffic. “There are a lot of angry White people out there looking for answers,” he wrote. “Let’s show them. We will not be defeated.”
Hate groups are notorious for inflating their numbers — and it’s likely that their claims of heightened support after Obama’s win are exaggerated. Nonetheless, the fact that they are making those claims suggests that many white supremacists believe an Obama presidency will help them recruit new members.
Thomas Robb, leader of an Arkansas-based Ku Klux Klan group, announced on his blog that Obama had become America’s first “mulatto” president, then invited readers to click on a link for an application to join The Knights Party. “If you want to do something to help provide a future for you [sic] children then you need to become part of a movement working for our people. We are not asking you to hate anyone! We are not asking you to commit an illegal act. We are not asking you to hurt anyone. We just want you to love your people and do that which your grandfathers did — give your children a bright future.”
The pitches of other white supremacists were more subtle but no less urgent. “We as European Americans have got to rally for our own heritage, our own freedom, our own survival as a people,” exhorted former Ku Klux Klan boss David Duke. “And if we don’t do that — and if we don’t begin now to build a real movement, a dedicated movement for our rights and our heritage — we’re going to lose everything that’s important to us and vital to us.” (In an essay he wrote this summer, Duke predicted that an Obama win would make whites see that their country was in dire straits.)
Billy Roper, chairman of the neo-Nazi group White Revolution, predicted that “more and more white Americans [would be] waking up” and instructed followers to be prepared. “[W]e are on the crest of [the storm’s] wave. People will be coming forward, shaking the cobwebs from their numbed minds, and they will need us to lead them.”
Citing a desire to remain a “positive influence” in the community, the owners of the Whispering Woods Hotel & Conference Center near Memphis have canceled a conference scheduled for this weekend by ex-Klan leader and ex-con David Duke’s European-American Unity and Rights Organization (EURO). Hotel officials previously said they were unaware of the true nature of the conference and were legally obligated to honor their contract with Duke’s group. Duke had planned speeches from a number of racists, plus music at the event, prompting two churches to cancel Sunday services scheduled there.
The hotel is located in Olive Branch, Miss. Hotel officials issued a press release today saying they are “committed to the safety and well being” of their guests and employees. “We would like to thank the leaders of … Olive Branch for working with us through this difficult and unfortunate chain of events,” the release said.
Help Save Manassas leader Greg Letiecq applauded the news that starting January 1, Manassas police will check the immigration status of anyone arrested or detained in the city.
After mayoral candidate Rocky Chavez announced that he didn’t seek or want an endorsement from the San Diego Minutemen, the SDMM announced it was withdrawing its support due to Chavez’s “ties with radical Mexican Government-backed illegal alien activist groups.”
The Mid-South Peace and Justice Center has been active in Memphis for nearly 27 years, but finds itself only lately on the receiving end of some decidedly hostile rhetoric. Since the social justice group objected last week to an upcoming European-American Unity and Rights Organization (EURO) conference in nearby Olive Branch, Miss., a deluge of verbal brickbats has poured in.
“You worthless unintelligent subhuman nigger loving piece of shit,” one man wrote to Jacob Flowers, the group’s executive director.
EURO was founded by David Duke, the onetime Klan leader, Louisiana state representative, and federal prison inmate (he served more than a year after raising money from his followers for the “cause” and then using it instead for gambling and remodeling his home). The organization’s conference is scheduled for Nov. 7-9 at the Whispering Woods Hotel & Conference Center a few miles from Memphis. Two churches that were going to conduct services at the hotel on Sunday have canceled because of Duke’s group being there. The hotel’s general manager resigned, and Flowers and his organization began to receive nasty E-mails and phone calls.
Duke wrote on his website that he is the conference organizer, which he will co-host with veteran anti-Semitic activist Willis Carto; white supremacist website creator and former Alabama Klan boss Don Black; long-time Georgia white supremacist Edward Fields, a convicted church-bombing conspirator; and James Edwards, host of radical-right Memphis radio show “The Political Cesspool.” The cost to attend is $75 per person or $100 per family — a 40% discount offered by the hotel, according to Duke. He’s promising “non-stop speeches, music and media presentations.”
Whispering Woods officials said they were unaware of the nature of the conference when a contract was signed. And they said they are legally obligated to honor it. The timing of the general manager’s resignation was coincidental, they said, and was unrelated to booking the Duke group’s meeting. ( continue to full post… )
One year after taking effect, a controversial Oklahoma law targeting illegal immigrants has resulted in only three arrests and one conviction.
Read full article
A well-organized alliance of Minutemen, evangelical Christians and supporters of fringe politician Ron Paul is maneuvering to assume control of the Republican Party in Alameda County, Calif.
Read full article