Racists still walk among us

One of Muse’s regular readers emailed last night to ask that a comment she posted saying she would vote for Barack Obama be removed because her daughter was being harassed over her support of the Democratic Presidential candidate.

Over the past two weeks, the spam filter for Muse has caught more than 50 comments from locals who have used racial epithets to describe Obama and those who support him.

At Blue Ridge Restaurant recently, a customer left a waitress a one-cent tip. He then pointed to her Obama button and said “if you want a bigger tip, learn how to vote.”

I’ve received more than 100 emails in the past two weeks calling me a “n—– lover” and similar names. All were anonymous but a backtrace of IP addresses shows that 70 percent came from swva.net email locations. An anonymous note taped to the front door of Muse told me I should “go back to Washington (DC). They’ve got lots of n—— up there. You’ll feel right at home.”

At the Floyd Country Store not long ago, a woman looked at a local black man dancing with a white partner and said: “You know, it just makes my blood boil to see one of them black boys dancing with a white woman.”

I looked at her and replied: “I know just what you mean. It makes my blood boil whenever I encounter a racist and bigot.”

I’ve heard the “n-word” used more in conversation the last four weeks than in the remainder of the four years we have lived here.

Sadly, the candidacy of Barack Obama has fueled the racism that still lingers in too many residents of our area. It is fed by racist politicians like Virgil Goode and Republican activists like Bobby May. It thrives on historical revision by right-wing authors and thrives on the fear of the ignorant and the paranoia of the weak.

Local residents circulate emails calling Obama a “Muslim” or warning of a coming race war.

While not all supporters of John McCain or opponents of Barack Obama are racists, recent studies show that too many voters are letting racial prejudices guide how they will vote in November.

It is telling that not one racist diatribe that someone attempted to post on this web site or that came in the email was signed. Just as the Ku Klux Klan hid under white sheets, racists usually spew their hate anonymously. They live in fear, their cowardice fed by their stupidity and feelings of inadequacy.

It’s sad that such people still walk among us.


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30 Responses

  1. Thank you Mr. Garcia for your service to our country and a fine comment on this subject. I am a conservative also but there aren’t many conservatives left in the Senate and Congress. My reason for not voting for Mr. Obama is I believe he will lead this country into Socialism. However, I’m not sure if I will vote for Mr. McCain either. He’s not really conservative enough for me anymore. Now I would vote for J.C. Watts if he were to run. Oh and I write my Senator often, he just doesn’t answer back. These folks have way too much power.

  2. I am having difficulty imagining any circumstance where a thinking citizen would vote for McCain over Obama.

    So of course racism arises as one of the possibilities.

    For a conservative to forget all the pre-existing conditions which they have to buy into to vote McCain/Palin is unlikely without an extreme pressure source.

    My conservative friends are having a real problem, many are sitting on their hands rather than supporting McCain. Others are experiencing the conversion, the Rove-ians are a poor fit for McCain’s campaign. The neo-cons are reaching the end of their useful political lives. Good riddance, they are not what Reagan had in mind when he called for a conservative revolution of less government, balanced budgets…

    Give the old man a break get him off the hook, vote Obama.

  3. While I have no doubt that deeply held racist beliefs are still alive and well in many parts of the country, I deeply resent the implication that white voters who do not support Senator Obama are racists. I would not vote for him if he were white, brown or green because I do not agree with his politics. Is it not racist when record numbers of black voters turn out to support Obama because he is black?

  4. Chris,

    To my reading of Doug’s post, I don’t think he was trying to promote a “one-size-fits-all” description. Specifically he wrote:

    “While not all supporters of John McCain or opponents of Barack Obama are racists, recent studies show that too many voters are letting racial prejudices guide how they will vote in November.”

    Doug actually made your argument in the opening of his quote. I trust, too, that you share Doug’s continuing point that even one racist prejudice is too many in today’s local, national, and global community.

  5. My advice for those who cannot vote for a black (but exceptionally qualified)candidate is this: If you AGREE with Obama’s policies, sit out this election. Just don’t vote.

  6. I was not suprised to read some of the blogs and the comments from people about their racist attitude where Obama is concerned. If those people would stop being so racist and look at what the man stands for which will help this country, they would vote Democrat no matter what color Obama is. I am a black person and hope that none of these people that smile in my face and talk about me behind my back, i.e., RACIST get even more stupid than they are voting for mccain and try to do something to the next President to the United States — President Obama. I believe that if mccain would not so prejudice himself, then there would not have been such an uproar of race in the campaign. Yes, it started with Hillary Clinton and WE, ALL BLACKS IN THE UNITED STATES THAT REMEMBER WHERE THEY CAME FROM WILL END IT BY ELECTING BARACK OBAMA THE NEXT PRESIDENT TO THE UNITED STATES AND PUTTING HIM IN THE “WHITE” HOUSE FOR 8 YEARS.

  7. You know we’re in a world of trouble when the Mexican Police catch a group of Americans trying to cross over into Mexico and they send them back into the USA.

  8. Blacks historically vote for the Democrat that’s running for president. I would think 95% of Blacks voted for Clinton, Gore, Kerry, etc. That would lead a logical person too believe that 95% of Blacks will support the Democrat, who happens too be BLACK, not just because he’s BLACK!

  9. I am having difficulty imagining any circumstance where a thinking citizen would vote for either a Democrat or a Republican. They have just been taking turns running this country into the ground.

    If you vote for the lesser of two evils, you’re still voting for evil.

    Once again, I’ll be voting Libertarian, even though the Republicrats are still doing everything they can to keep the citizens from having a real choice.

  10. I do not agree with the idea of race being an issue because that’s just silly but a tip is a tip. If I hate service at a restaurant, I’ll leave a 2 cent tip when they run my credit card so whoever closes that register sees that the service was bad. I like my coffee to be refilled twice and I don’t like to wait over 30 min for my order in an empty restaurant. It would seem that a lot of people have forgotten that the wait staff is the face of the food service and if they suck, than the whole experience sucks.

    So that being said, even if the button was in fact the only issue, we run into a freedom of speech issue. Both parties have a conflicting opinion. One didn’t make as much money as he/she could have if one opinion was not stated so openly [with the button]. So what is the price of freedom? 15% ….don’t read into it too much or you become an enemy of freedom.


  11. You’re always going to have a segment of the population who vote for their candidate for reason other than qualifications or policy issues. Only stupid people will vote for or against Obama because he’s black. The fact is we have a lot of stupid people in Floyd and in America. There’s nothing we can do about them. I’m a Marine Corp Vet. I’m a Christian with conservative values. I’m pro-choice and choose life. I also care deeply about the environment. I’m an independent voter who thinks the Democrats and Republicans have let us down. But more importantly I think that we have let our selves down. We have become lazy and complacent and have allowed big corporations to keep our bellies full just enough to keep us sleepy. We’re just starting to wake up now that we’re hungry for the first time in decades.

    I’m not a Bush basher and quite frankly I think this kind of hatred toward one person is fueling the opposition. I don’t dislike Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid although I think they are way to left for me. I voted for Regan, Clinton and Bush because at the time I thought they were best qualified. I’m mad at all of them but I’m even madder at how we blame them for our short comings. We don’t have to look far to find out why were in this mess. When was the last time we volunteered or helped our neighbor? When was the last time we wrote our Senators or Congressman? How much money do we give to our Church, charity or to someone who needs help? Let’s face it we have become greedy, inconsiderate and obnoxious to the rest of the world. It’s time we take back our government and unite as a population. We can’t afford to be divided!

    I’m voting for the person I feel will take us in the right direction both here and abroad.

  12. Well said, Luis!

    You have definitely got it right and it sounds like you’ve been reading my mind. I may have to borrow your eloquent words when explaining my positions from now on.

    We could use your wisdom in our own local politics.

  13. I totally understand your point of view, though, Beth. One of my daughter’s friends was telling a bunch of girls that Obama is bad because he is Muslim! One of the other girls just shook her head and asked he if she even listened to the news or read anything about him at all. Of course, she hadn’t.

    Ignorance isn’t bliss…it’s dangerous!

    I’ll be glad when it’s all over.

  14. I put an Obama bumper sticker on my truck today and after I got done shopping, I walked all around it because I’m expecting it to be keyed. I’m afraid to put the lawn sign up. Why wouldn’t I be when McCain and Palin are inciting violence by encouraging the racists at their rallies to scream words like “terrorist!” and “kill him!”?

    I’ve run into a ton of racism. They come right out and say racist things to me thinking I’m part of the in-crowd because I’m white. I wrote about it on my blog. It was a real shock to me. I’m from the north and it’s up there too but down here in southern Virginia, goodness, it’s rampant. I feel like it’s 1965 again!


  15. I picked up an Obama magnet for my car at the rally and put it on before leaving the parking garage. I’ll be driving to RU today where my car will look much like the others parked there. But, I do wonder if my car will get vandalized if I park at Food Lion or Slaughter’s here in town. It seems unlikely, but the chance is there. My two daughters and I will be wearing our Obama shirts to school today, but I do worry about how my daughters will fare today against some (most) of their friends. I am incredibly proud of them for standing up for themselves. We’ll see what, if anything, the repercussions will be for them today. If nothing else, this election has been a big eye opening experience for my kids.

    15 days and counting…

  16. I am disgusted that society thinks that in this presidential election that if someone votes for John McCain then they are a racist. I am disgusted that we as voters are not looking at the future and how the two candidates views on particular issues will be with us for the next four to eight years. I am disgusted that voters have lowered their standards to voting for officials because of race or not voting for officials because of race. Has human intelligence disappeared? And have we forgotten that there is something known as racism toward whites and discrimination toward women. I think we have some of everything in this presidential election. There is only one race in this world and that is the human race.

  17. It took less than an hour for one of my girls to be ‘threatened’ for wearing her Obama shirt. By a girl she calls one of her best friends no less. How sad. Like I said before, this is an eye-opening experience for my kids. I just hope neither girl gets physically hurt today.

  18. You may very well be right, David. This goes back to Doug’s posting from Washington. I don’t understand why we can’t have all parties represented at the debates…or no parties at all. I’d love to hear more from the “other’s” because, as each day passes, I wonder why we seem to be limited to the chosen two parties.

  19. Tracey,
    I’m curious about a mother who would send her kids to school wearing shirts that she fears will put them in danger of physical harm. Are these kids old enough to have carefully considered political opinions of their own, or are you using them as fashion accessories to express your own opinions?

  20. I was thinking the same thing! It is like you knew that they would get harassed so you still let them wear them. I understand that it is frustrating…it is for me as well. I am voting for Obama, and I have gotten very harsh comments about my bumper sticker. I have just taken it off, because I do have kids, and these conservative racists scare me. I have learned to keep my mouth shut…I know who I am voting for and that is all that matters.

  21. Well, for starters, my kids wanted to wear the shirts because they went to the rally and really enjoyed it. For them it was the same as going to a concert and getting a t-shirt and wearing to school the next day. My kids knew that they may have some trouble from classmates, but they decided that they were tired of hearing all the negative and uninformed opinions from others in their school (hubby and I both discussed the possible ramifications with them). SO, in spite of the risk (most of it was overrated on my part thankfully), they made the final decision and I was proud of them for willing to do that. None of their friends hate them or made any serious threats to them. My daughters where able to enlighten a few people when they asked why they support Obama. My husband is a staunch Republican and he was fine with them going to the rally and wearing the shirts, too. My kids learned a lot about the character of people that day, as well.

    I’ve never been one to hide my feelings if I see ignorance and I’m glad my kids were willing to do the same thing. I don’t believe in going along to get along or just to be popular and I don’t like being bullied into not wearing a t-shirt or expressing my opinion. This is America and we all have the right to speak our minds…at least that’s what the Constitution said the last time I looked at it. I’ll be damned if my right to free speech will be silenced and I’m proud of my kids for expressing their opinions in their own way.

    Sorry, jumping off the soapbox now. Anyway, it all worked out just fine and I’ve actually had a couple of their friends ask me about Obama and why I think he is better than McCain. It may have been the first time they have heard anything positive about the man. I don’t believe anyone will do anyone else any physical harm over the campaign here in Floyd County. (Unless one or more are drunk, then all bets are off.)

    As a side note, we plan on attending the Sarah Palin rally in Salem on Monday. This is a great way for kids to see both sides of the election (I’m secretly hoping she’ll do the Palin Rap!) I think they learn more from these than sitting in a classroom all day. This will be an election to remember and my kids will be able to say they saw two sides of it.

    We’ll all be wearing our Obama shirts again soon. Who knows? We may even wear a McCain/Palin shirt next Tuesday just to keep people guessing!

    Too bad the other parties have essentially been silenced because we’d go to see them speak, too, if we could.

  22. Involving them in the decision was a great thing to do. It is good that people are asking you about the other candidate as well. The Obama sticker is back on my car and all is well. It just freaked me out to hear such horrible racist views. It is really almost scary!!!

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