Power of Story
Send a Tweet        
- Advertisement -

Share on Google Plus Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn Share on PInterest Share on Fark! Share on Reddit Share on StumbleUpon Tell A Friend 4 (4 Shares)  

Printer Friendly Page Save As Favorite View Favorites (# of views)   11 comments
Exclusive to OpEdNews:
OpEdNews Op Eds

How to respond to anti-Obama racism

By       Message Patty Bates-Ballard     Permalink
      (Page 1 of 2 pages)
Related Topic(s): ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; (more...) ; ; ; , Add Tags  (less...) Add to My Group(s)

Must Read 1   Well Said 1   Valuable 1  
View Ratings | Rate It

opednews.com Headlined to H2 11/18/08

Author 13372
- Advertisement -

While millions of Americans celebrated the election of our nation's first African-American president on November 4, many others raged, penned racist rants threatening President-elect Obama's life, and assaulted their neighbors. America, it's time we find a way to express ourselves more constructively.

- Advertisement -

Racists coming out of the woodwork

- Advertisement -

The Southern Poverty Law Center is reporting hundreds of election-related hate incidents over the last two weeks, including cross burnings, noose hangings and hate-filled graffiti, like the death threats to Mr. Obama scrawled on the "free speech" wall at North Carolina State University. Former University of Texas football player Buck Burnette's was only the most widely reported of scads of vile, racist Internet postings. Now two Durham, North Carolina police officers are under investigation for posting Internet insults about President-elect Obama. Perhaps the most discouraging incident comes from Idaho, where elementary school children chanted "assassinate Obama" on a school bus. 

But of all the incidents reported so far, one in New York City serves as a clear warning about where we could be headed. On November 9, an American soldier and veteran of the war in Afghanistan pummeled an American college student and Obama supporter into critical condition because neither one seemed to have the ability to talk about the election respectfully. Angel Moreno, a junior studying wellness management, suffered critical head injuries when witnesses say he was punched by Private Kevin Flanagan of Manchester, NH. Moreno reportedly responded to Flanagan's derogatory comments about Obama by asking him, "How do you like working for Obama now?" and "Obama [screwed] you!"

No matter how ill-advised this response, considering the lingering effects so many soldiers suffer as a result of the stress of battle, both men will pay dearly because they didn't have the skills to converse with each other about issues of race and politics.

As children we used to say, "Sticks and stones will break my bones but words can never hurt me." There are some people with extremely strong character and high self esteem for whom that adage may work. But for most of us, hateful comments do hurt. What's more, such comments usually are accompanied by or lead to actions that, at the very least, exclude and often directly discriminate.

This election season has been full of examples of the undeniable fact that Americans still don't know how to talk about diversity. Accusations of racism and sexism have become a regular staple of the political news diet. But markedly absent from the dialogue are measured, informative and direct responses to the comments in question.

Time to learn

That's because when faced with the touchy issues of race, gender, sexual orientation or religion, many usually well-spoken people have no idea what to say. But it's time we learned. It's time to heed Barack Obama's call from earlier this year to delve deeper into "the complexities of race that we've never really worked through a part of our union that we have yet to perfect."

- Advertisement -

Buck Burnette and so many like him apparently are accustomed to using racist language without fear of reprisal. No doubt they defend their right to say the things they said. But I wonder if they realize just how powerful words are.

I shudder to think what would happen if we were to lose our new national leader to racist violence. So far the Secret Service has done its job to prevent such a tragedy. It's high time that more conscientious Americans begin doing ours by responding to insensitive comments before they turn into actions.

It won't be easy to take a stand for civility. Many people of good will have been hounded by free speech defenders for being politically correct. But the term "political correctness" has done a lot of damage to this nation. It creates an image of people being forced to use sensitive and respectful language. Why should we have to be forced to be respectful? Yes, the constitution guarantees our right to say almost anything, but most of us choose to balance that right with a desire to be respectful. We don't have to agree, but surely we can find a way to discuss our differences without resorting to name calling and threats.

Next Page  1  |  2

 

- Advertisement -

Must Read 1   Well Said 1   Valuable 1  
View Ratings | Rate It

Patty Bates-Ballard is a mother and writer who advocates respect for the earth and its people. The owner of WordSmooth, a Dallas based communications company, Patty has just published her first book, Navigating Diversity. She also has written for (more...)
 

Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon



Go To Commenting
/* The Petition Site */
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Writers Guidelines

Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
- Advertisement -

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

The Top 10 Most Offensive Comments of 2008

How to respond to anti-Obama racism

Lead Toy Recalls Continue While Congress Piddles

Cameroon Nip Tuck: Fleshing Out African Corruption

Flushing with gratitude: Learning about the corruption of water in Cameroon

Bill Clinton and racism: A little humility please