By now many readers have heard about the McCain/Palin volunteer who claimed to have been attacked by a black man who purportedly wanted to punish her for not supporting Obama/Biden.
Looking at the photographs, which show a mirror image “B” superficially scratched on her cheek, it is so very easy to see that she lied, that the news about it left me cold.
Still, in the time between her claims breaking the news and the truth coming out, much damage was done to racial relations in the US.
And there is little doubt that there are people who will believe the invented attack actually happened–facts be damned–and that the ‘retraction’ was forced on the *cough* poor innocent victim *cough* by those horrid liberal dogs.
In response to that incident and the attendant racist overtones of the coverage (both ways), my recent crush, Keith Olbermann, had this to say:
And he is so right about the precariousness of racial peace and acceptance, and about how having a black candidate has brought to the surface underlying tensions and fears that many otherwise decent people don’t want to acknowledge, even to themselves.
Because this is not an isolated incident. There is a deeply rooted attitude of racism in the US, and while many–if not all–minorities face discrimination, active or passive, it is also true that it is most often evident towards blacks.
Witness, for example, the disparity in the following sentences for juvenile offenders, one white and the other black (taken from the Dallas Morning News, but available pretty much verbatim from several other sources online; bolding is mine)
With a population of 26,000, Paris is 73 percent white and 22 percent black, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
A monument to the Confederacy dominates the front lawn of the recently remodeled Lamar County Courthouse, from which a mob seized two black brothers and killed them in 1920. That was the last of at least half a dozen lynchings in the county.
“You can’t talk about Paris without mentioning the lynchings,” said William Harris, the county’s first assistant district attorney.
Two years ago, Shaquanda Cotton was the talk of the town. Paris found itself in the national media spotlight when the black teenager was sent to a Texas Youth Commission lockup for pushing a teacher’s aide. Months earlier, the same judge gave a white teen probation for burning her family’s house down.
“That was a wake-up call,” said Pike Burkhart, who is white and president of the Lamar County Chamber of Commerce. “We don’t perceive ourselves as a racially divided community. We want to make sure we have more dialogue between our black and white communities.”
Ms. Cotton spent a year in a juvenile lockup and was freed after protests alleging racial bias. Still, authorities insist they followed the law.
“We did nothing wrong,” said district attorney spokesman Allan Hubbard.
Yet, you may notice that the identity of the then minor black girl has been published while the privacy of the white teen is preserved.
On the other side of the coin, we have several groups (from the New Black Panthers to member of the Nation of Islam) trying to twist what appears to be a murder committed under the influence of alcohol, into a racially motivated crime (from the same article quoted and linked above):
Motorists found Brandon Demon “Big Boy” McClelland’s mangled body early Sept. 16 in northeast Lamar County, near a curve in a two-lane county road. Authorities first suspected the 24-year-old was the victim of a hit and run, killed by a speeding lumber truck.
But suspicions soon turned to the victim’s white drinking buddies: Shannon Keith Finley and Charles Ryan Crostley. Witnesses told police that the men admitted running down Mr. McClelland after an argument. Both suspects maintain their innocence.
What is there to gain by insisting that people focus on their differences more than on what makes them the same?
Will we–humanity–ever be able to ignore color of skin, political leanings, religious beliefs, and simply remember that we all bleed the same, we all love the same, we all die the same?
Some days it feels like there has been no progress at all in that direction. Other times it feels we are walking backwards.
edited to add: well, of course, I should have known–turns out we have people hanging the other candidate from trees and house eaves. Gee, so not surprised.