copyright © 2008 Betsy L. Angert. BeThink.org
If anyone says, "I love God," yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.
Not in my backyard. Not in my neighborhood. Not on street corners in my community. Certainly, not amongst my friends, and never in my family! These are the cries heard 'round America. In rural regions, in urban boroughs, in the suburbs, and in the city proper the public clamors, "We are not colorblind." The defense voiced in earlier days is a thought from the past. In the United States of 2008, people see shades. Skin, pitch as coal, casts a shadow. Deep-seated bigotry is displayed on the surface. Today, racism is not only rampant; it is visible on every crossroad. Please consider the campaign trail. Intolerance is evident in the Presidential Election, 2008.
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|Secular humanist intent on political win and pious, religious persons, who think themselves right (or righteous) believe they have reason to fear their brethren. Presidential hopeful Barack Obama is Black. The public may have been aware of this without much prompting. However, chances are the American people would have been polite. Citizens in this country pride themselves on decorum. Yet, with a bit of encouragement people in the States can be easily persuaded to forget their etiquette. |
Individuals and crowds can be coerced to remember their fear for fellow beings. If "that (other) one" is distinctive, dark, and has a strange name, so much the better. A person or political campaign can capitalize on the differences. An exhortation offered can cause an explosion. Throngs can be inflamed. Enter Sarah Palin and her confederate John McCain. The two exclaim when they shriek or speak of their opponent Barack Obama, "Not in my backyard." Republican followers concur. The hordes holler as the Party leaders explain, "He is not one of us." The Democratic hopeful, for those who will not vote for a Black man, is the source of hatred.
The Illinois Senator was not born to be brutalized. However, people of his brownish-purplish tone are tormented. Those paler in hue have learned to hate, and work to denigrate. Pinkish persons are taught to negate the power of a individual who, by birth wears a brown-black veneer. Persons whose flesh is not light are also engendered to exhibit trepidation; however, in the United States, these individuals may have less authority. Frequently, Anglos [and African Americans] deny that they have learned these lessons. However, human as they are, many Americans, are apprehensive when confronted with the unfamiliar.
Citizens in the States have acquired conventional wisdom; be scared of someone so unique; the intensity of the disdain felt and expressed is deeper since Barack Obama's complexion is ebony in color.
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The reaction to the words Sarah Palin and John McCain emit is as expected. People abhor what or who is unlike them. Citizens have been trained to react, to resent, and to express rage when faced with the unknown. Frequently, the average American is asked by Obama's political adversary, "Who is Barack Obama?" Surely, the implication is, he is not one of us. Senator Obama does not look like those in our neighborhood, in our family; nor is he similar to our friends. However, this is not said specifically.
The answers offered by John McCain and Sarah Palin have subtly incited intolerance. While the Republican Party Presidential nominee delicately dances during discussions of culture clashes, his surrogates, and of course Sarah, stride confidently into dangerous debates. The reality of racial division is ramped up. Any statement that might awaken apprehension amongst the white majority masses is fair, and now famously in the forefront of stump speeches.
At two McCain rallies last week, individuals introducing the candidate referred to the Democratic nominee as "Barack Hussein Obama," emphasizing his middle name. Former Oklahoma governor Frank Keating called him a "man of the street."
In the age of attacks on the Twin Towers, alarm for any association that reminds Americans of the foreign forces that caused the World Trade Center to fall will be perceived as problematic. This supposed connection coupled with the whisper campaign that began long ago, Barack Obama is a Muslim . . . even if he is not and never was, has been an effective tool used to annihilate the Democratic Presidential aspirant. After all, he must be destroyed. He is not like the friends, family, or neighbors of average American's. He is elite, and did the Republican candidates mention, Barack Obama is Black. The esteemed Illinois Senator will not be seen in the backyards of Joe or Jane Doe.
However, signs with Barack Obama's name are displayed in front yards throughout the country. This alone causes much concern within communities and a campaign scared that a scholar such as Barack Obama might become President.
One would hope the intent among respectable Republican rivals was to destroy a political promotion and not the man himself; however, there is infinite reason to believe the rough stuff is used to do more than motivate voters to move towards the Republican ticket. Americans need only listen to the words of the self-proclaimed "pit bull," Vice Presidential challenger, Sarah Palin. Days ago, in Florida, the defiant maverick declared her objective and her offense.
"Okay, so Florida, you know that you're going to have to hang onto your hats," Sarah Palin told a rally of a few thousand here this morning, "because from now until Election Day it may get kind of rough."
Days later, pumped and primed, another McCain/Palin advocate, this time amongst the poised population in Pennsylvania, shouted "Kill him!" The calls of "terrorist" are frequently heard at Republican rallies each time Barack Obama's name is uttered. The venom is vicious, as are actions on American avenues.
Those who do not have physical access to the dark-skinned Presidential hopeful, Senator Obama, express their fury in other ways. Some overtly ferocious; a few covertly cruel.
Within a somewhat posh population, in south Florida, a fairly prosperous family placed an Obama sign on their lawn. Proud of the candidate they would cast ballots for on Election Day, the female in the household felt a need to express their conviction. The affluent adult trusted in a neighborhood such as hers, even those who did not feel as they did would certainly respect their right to revere a well-educated, accomplished, and "articulate" Presidential aspirant. The woman could not begin to imagine the placard would be burned. Another incident was reported in New Jersey.
Obama sign defaced in Montclair
The Boca Raton resident also re-placed her sign. In less than a day, Ms Pearson-Martinez positioned a new Obama sign in her yard. She also painstakingly inscribed a message for the person who maliciously defaced the first banner. The lovely lady wrote on a placard attached to the bottom of her newer Obama poster, "You can burn my sign, but you won't stop my vote."
However, it seems some would wish to torch a ballot or a man named Barack. Few argue that the rage expressed is more fervent for the face of the candidate is charcoal in hue. It is easier to find enthusiastic hatred for a person whose complexion is dark. This truth was witnessed, and ignited, in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Florida, and other states, near a week ago. Tempers flared and the Republican candidates fueled the fire. Unfettered taunts were frequently hard at McCain/Palin events.
A sense of grievance spilling into rage has gripped some GOP events as McCain supporters see his presidential campaign lag against Barack Obama. They're making it personal, against the Democrat. Shouts of "traitor," "terrorist," "treason," "liar," and even "off with his head" have rung from the crowd at McCain and Sarah Palin rallies, and gone unchallenged by them. . . .
Is it correct to cruelly condemn a man or a woman; is it proper to stoke a fire or incite fury for a person. Americans might remember hate is taught. Humans are not born to disdain. People learn to love passionately or to loathe avidly. Differences in appearance can provide a target for intolerance. Not in my backyard, neighborhood, community, amongst my closest friends, or in my family is the racial retreat, the rant of those who rather be at odds than be united in the States.
I think that hate is a thing, a feeling, that can only exist where there is no understanding.
If you hate a person, you hate something in him that is part of yourself. What isn't part of ourselves doesn't disturb us.
No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion.
References to racism . . .