By Farooq A. Kperogi
In a town called Midland in the state of Michigan, a reliably Democratic state, a man attired in the ghoulish ceremonial robes of the Ku Klux Klan, a murderous white supremacist organization dedicated to eradicating African presence in the Western Hemisphere, held a gun and waved the American flag upside down simultaneously. When police arrested him, he said he was protesting over Obama’s victory.
A similar incident was reported in another Michigan town called Traverse City shortly after Obama’s election. There, several workers at two local stores flew an American flag upside down as an emblematic expression of remonstrance over the election of Obama, according to the town’s newspaper, the Traverse City Record-Eagle.
"(The inverted flag is) an international signal for distress and we feel our country is in distress because the nigger got in," one of the protesters told the paper. He later reportedly apologized for calling Obama a “nigger.”
The Winston-Salem Journal also reported incidents of people protesting against Obama’s victory by symbolically flying the American flag upside down. “The flag is stretched upside-down between two poles in a field, with a black X running from end to end. The X is a reference to the Confederate flag,” the Journal reported.
(The Confederate States refer to the Southern states that attempted to secede from the United States in 1861 because they wanted to keep Black people enslaved in perpetuity, and the flag is the symbol of their continuing defiance against the United States).
In Long Island, an island in southeastern New York, people woke up after Election Day to find their cars spray-painted with racist graffiti, including messages threatening to kill Obama.
It even got closer home—from an African perspective, that is. In New York, a 17-year-old Liberian Muslim immigrant by the name of Ali Kamara was pounded to a pulp by four white brutes who shouted “‘Obama’ before beginning the attack," according to a local newspaper.
The Los Angeles Times also reported that angry white men spray-painted racist anti-Obama broadsides on houses and several cars a few days after the election. Of the many graffiti inscribed on the cars and houses, the one that tickled me the most is: “Go back to Africa!” Recall that a similar phrase was used in an incident I reported last week.
Many innocent Black Americans have also been bearing the brunt of fringe white anger over Obama’s victory. This week, for instance, a Black American in California was beaten to a state of stupor by white men who were incensed that he wore a T-Shirt with Obama’s picture emblazoned on it.
His tragedy was only the latest in a string of misdirected anger at Black people over Obama’s victory. A day after Obama’s victory, for instance, a predominantly Black church in a town called Springfield in the northeastern state of Massachusetts was burnt to cinders.
The town’s newspaper, The Republican, quoted the church’s pastor, Bishop Bryant Robinson Jr., as saying that the fire was “a hate crime" ignited and fueled by anger over Obama’s victory.
In the same state of Idaho where I reported that primary school children were caught singing “assassinate Obama” in a school bus, the Secret Service looked into the case of a sign posted on a tree with Obama's name and the offer of a "free public hanging."
These and many other as yet unreported incidents around the country are dampening the post-election glow of racial progress and harmony.
Editor & Publisher, which prides itself on being America’s oldest journal covering the newspaper industry, has been chronicling the threats to Obama since November 5. Most of the incidents recounted here were taken from the journal.
Obama win galvanizes white supremacists, spikes gun sales
As is obvious from the foregoing, one of the unintended consequences of Obama’s victory is that it has energized the hitherto fragile white supremacist movement.
According to the Associated Press, a day after Obama’s election, Stormfront.org, the most vicious white supremacist Web site on the Internet, got more than 2,000 new members. The previous day, which is Election Day, it had registered only 91 new members.
The Associated Press quoted one Stormfront poster, identified as Dalderian Germanicus, as saying: "I want the son of a bitch [that is, Obama] laid out in a box to see how 'messiahs' come to rest. God has abandoned us, this country is doomed."
The anger and frustration over Obama’s win has also spawned a disturbing phenomenon: the unprecedented rise in gun sales. According the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) which checks police records of gun buyers in the United States, more people have bought guns since Obama won election than at any time in the past.
In October alone, for instance, when every respectable poll showed that Obama would win the election, 1.18 million firearms were purchased, according to the FBI. This figure has since increased several fold after Obama won the election.
People who want to put a positive spin to this disturbing trend claim that the increase in gun sales is a response to fears that Obama might enact laws to limit gun ownership, and that what we are witnessing is merely panic buying in anticipation of Obama’s impending gun-control laws. They point out that a similar, though less dramatic, scenario happened when Clinton won the presidential election in 1992.
However, others are not this pollyannaish about the unexampled increase in gun sales after Obama’s victory. They fear that the rise in gun sales may signal that Obama would have to contend with the specter of mass would-be assassins throughout his presidency.
Victory emboldens secession threats
Obama’s election is also intensifying calls for secession by some elements in the still largely racist South. This is not surprising, though. Obama had his worst electoral showing in the South.
Just about 20 percent of Southern whites voted for Obama. They gave McCain more votes than any Republican candidate ever received in a long while. But their efforts came to naught. So, for many Southern whites, Obama’s victory has heightened their sense of powerlessness and irrelevance in the new America, Obama’s America.
"In states like Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama, there was extraordinary racial polarization in the vote," said Merle Black, a political scientist at Emory University here in Atlanta. "Black Americans really do believe that Obama is going to represent their interests and views in ways that they haven't been before, and, in the Deep South, whites feel exactly the opposite."
The Associated Press reported that for secessionist groups like the League of the South, the hope is that Obama’s victory would provoke a more vigorous debate about the direction of the US and the South's role in it.
It quoted a member of the League as saying, "To a lot of people, the idea of secession doesn't seem so crazy anymore. People are talking about how left out they feel ... and they feel that something strange and radical has taken over our country."
Does this signal an impending race war? Well, no. "We're not looking at a race war or anything close to it, but ... what we are seeing now is undeniably a fairly major backlash by some subset of the white population," said Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center's Intelligence Report in Montgomery, Alabama. "Many whites feel that the country their forefathers built has been ... stolen from them, so there's in some places a real boiling rage, and that can only become worse as more people lose jobs."
To be concluded next week