Sunday, November 16, 2008

And nothin left was all she left to me

(Janis Joplin 1st take: Me & Bobby McGee)

Racism's just another word for nothin' left to lose. That is, if you're stupid enough to believe that because someone different from you is successful, it's because they're different from you:
  • If I'm a fuck-up,
  • and he's successful and black,
  • then I'm a fuck-up because I'm not black.
Well, it's in full bloom this fall, after the Obama election victory.

First, from the LATimes:
Cross burnings. Schoolchildren chanting "Assassinate Obama." Black figures hung from nooses. Racial epithets scrawled on homes and cars.

Incidents around the country referring to President-elect Barack Obama are dampening the postelection glow of racial progress and harmony, highlighting the stubborn racism that remains in America.

From California to Maine, police have documented a range of alleged crimes, from vandalism and vague threats to at least one physical attack. Insults and taunts have been delivered by adults, college students and second-graders.

. . . —Black figures were hanged by nooses from trees on Mount Desert Island, Maine, the Bangor Daily News reported. The president of Baylor University in Waco, Texas said a rope found hanging from a campus tree was apparently an abandoned swing and not a noose.

—Crosses were burned in yards of Obama supporters in Hardwick, N.J., and Apolacan Township, Pa.

—A black teenager in New York City said he was attacked with a bat on election night by four white men who shouted 'Obama.'

—In the Pittsburgh suburb of Forest Hills, a black man said he found a note with a racial slur on his car windshield, saying "now that you voted for Obama, just watch out for your house."

Emotions are often raw after a hard-fought political campaign, but now those on the losing side have an easy target for their anger.

"The principle is very simple," said BJ Gallagher, a sociologist and co-author of the diversity book "A Peacock in the Land of Penguins." ''If I can't hurt the person I'm angry at, then I'll vent my anger on a substitute, i.e., someone of the same race."

"We saw the same thing happen after the 9-11 attacks, as a wave of anti-Muslim violence swept the country. We saw it happen after the Rodney King verdict, when Los Angeles blacks erupted in rage at the injustice perpetrated by 'the white man.'"

"It's as stupid and ineffectual as kicking your dog when you've had a bad day at the office," Gallagher said. "But it happens a lot."

Indeed. And it's happening in Orange County, CA, where the local newspaper, the OCRegister, notes this with absolutely no irony:
Upshaw, 47, is a wiry black man who wears a silver cross on a chain around his neck. He's an elevator mechanic by trade, but he's been out of work and living on disability for about seven years. He says he was hit by an errant shotgun blast during a drive-by shooting in Chicago that broke his hip and left shell fragments in his skull.

He moved to Fullerton a few years ago, because the vicious Chicago winters made his bad hip ache. He lives now in a cramped studio not far from the train tracks.

He was walking to get some Bugler cigarettes Tuesday evening when the two men stopped him on Commonwealth Avenue, not far from Brookhurst Road. One was short and bald, wearing a white T-shirt and plaid shorts. The other was taller, skinnier, dressed in black and wearing a black hat.

This is Upshaw's account of what happened next. And it starts with four words: Give me some money.

Upshaw told the two men he barely had enough to buy his cigarettes. They demanded his watch and a silvery ring that his estranged wife had given him. He shoved his hands into his pockets.

“I don't like (racial epithet), anyway,” Upshaw remembers the short man saying and the taller man repeating. “(Expletive) Obama…and (expletive) (racial epithet).”

. . . Upshaw flagged down police, who caught Mancillas and Carbajal nearby. While he was being arrested, Carbajal told officers he was a gang member and liked to kill police officers, prosecutors said.

Swell. Stupid, racist, and stupid! More from the LATimes piece:
The day after the vote hailed as a sign of a nation changed, black high school student Barbara Tyler of Marietta, Ga., said she heard hateful Obama comments from white students, and that teachers cut off discussion about Obama's victory.

Tyler spoke at a press conference by the Georgia chapter of the NAACP calling for a town hall meeting to address complaints from across the state about hostility and resentment. Another student, from a Covington middle school, said he was suspended for wearing an Obama shirt to school Nov. 5 after the principal told students not to wear political paraphernalia.

The student's mother, Eshe Riviears, said the principal told her: "Whether you like it or not, we're in the South, and there are a lot of people who are not happy with this decision."

You mean the decision by the majority of the electorate to vote for Barack Obama 52-46%? You mean the decision by voters in Indiana, Ohio, and North Carolina?

See, the thing is, the majority of Americans are not happy with the way the South has voted for a long time, and those Americans made it clear this year.

Buh Bye, South. Watch your political relevance trickle away like water from Bull Connor's fire-hoses, down the drains into the sewers.