Election 2008

racism, racist remarks, racists
Jay Reeves/AP
University of Alabama professor Marsha L. Houston posted a message against racism after
someone defaced a previous poster of Barack
Obama and his family with a death threat and
racial slur. 

Racist Incidents Follow Obama Victory

November 17, 2008 03:25 PM
by findingDulcinea Staff
While many have been celebrating Obama’s historic win, others have been expressing their disappointment with racially motivated attacks.

Obama Win Spurs Racist Incidents

The election of the first American president of African descent had some blacks worried about a racist backlash against President-elect Barack Obama, and some recent news reports indicate that their worries may not have been unfounded.

Editor & Publisher magazine commented last week that, although racially motivated incidents connected to Obama’s win have been “generally overlooked in the national media,” local papers have been covering some of the anti-Obama incidents that are cropping up across the country.

They include reports about firebombings, verbal and physical assaults, vandalism and derogatory comments posted on the Internet. The FBI and ATF have discovered and thwarted two plots by radical white supremacist groups to kill Obama. A convenience store in Maine created “The Osama Obama Shotgun Pool,” inviting customers to predict when Obama will be assassinated, reported The Associated Press. The car of a black family near Pittsburgh was torched and their Obama/Biden yard sign thrown through their window while they watched Obama’s victory speech on television. Colleges and Universities have been the locations of some of the incidents, such as North Carolina State University in Raleigh, where some students spray-painted their campus walkway with racist language including “Shoot Obama” and “Kill that n-----.”

“It definitely makes you look a little different at the people who you live with. And makes you wonder what they’re capable of and what they’re really thinking,” said Georgia resident Denene Millner to Editor & Publisher. Millner, who is black, says that her sister-in-law’s Obama lawn signs were mangled and pizza boxes filled with human feces were left on her lawn.

The backlash has even spread to Europe, where Obama’s win has inspired inappropriate and racist remarks, reports NPR. Some commentators point out Europe’s relative lack of experience with race and immigration compared to the United States, as the continent has only in recent decades seen an influx of immigrants and an increase in racial tensions.
“The big difference here is that the United States has been thinking about and dealing with race since we were founded. These countries in Europe are relative newcomers to the conversation about race. They are much less familiar with confronting their own bigotry,” said Julian Bond, chairman of the NAACP, to NPR.

Controversial Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan predicted that Obama’s election would provoke racism. The 75-year-old religious leader warns that that Obama faces the challenge of uniting a “polarized” nation and leading it through a troubled time. Many supporters of Obama’s opponent, Ariz. Sen. John McCain, were “older Americans and most reside below the Mason-Dixon line where racial attitudes and traditions die hard,” he said, according to The Australian. “We can change laws, but it’s difficult to change attitudes.”

Opinion & Analysis: Obama’s election has exposed racism, hate groups

The election of Obama has led to the resurfacing of hate groups in Oklahoma, notes the Enid News & Eagle, which reported last week that an Oklahoma resident was allegedly murdered by a remote branch of the Ku Klux Klan group in Louisiana. “We expect to hear more about these groups as the United States makes this important transition. While we are horrified at the thought these groups still exist in the United States, the truth is they do and they always have. They’ve just been underground, in the dark.”

Background: Racism during Obama’s campaign

Obama campaign volunteers reported outright incidents of racism that included derogatory namecalling and stereotyping, reported The Washington Post.

At one point in his campaign, Sen. McCain and his running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, were criticized for failing to rein in racist language incited by crowds at their campaign rallies.

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