Election Spurs Race Threats And Vandalism

Cross burnings. Schoolchildren chanting "Assassinate Obama." Black figures hung from nooses. Racial epithets scrawled on homes and cars.

Incidents around the country referring to President-elect Barack Obama are dampening the postelection glow of racial progress and harmony, highlighting the stubborn racism that remains in America.

From California to Maine, police have documented a range of alleged crimes, from vandalism and vague threats to at least one physical attack. Insults and taunts have been delivered by adults, college students and second-graders.

There have been "hundreds" of incidents since the election, many more than usual, said Mark Potok, director of the Intelligence Project at the Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors hate crimes.

One was in Snellville, Ga., where Denene Millner said a boy on the school bus told her 9-year-old daughter the day after the election: "I hope Obama gets assassinated." That night, someone trashed her sister-in-law's front lawn, mangled the Obama lawn signs, and left two pizza boxes filled with human feces outside the front door, Millner said.

She described her emotions as a combination of anger and fear.

"I can't say that every white person in Snellville is evil and anti-Obama and willing to desecrate my property because one or two idiots did it," said Millner, who is black. "But it definitely makes you look a little different at the people who you live with, and makes you wonder what they're capable of and what they're really thinking."

Potok, who is white, said he believes there is "a large subset of white people in this country who feel that they are losing everything they know, that the country their forefathers built has somehow been stolen from them."

Grant Griffin, a 46-year-old white Georgia native, expressed similar sentiments: "I believe our nation is ruined and has been for several decades and the election of Obama is merely the culmination of the change.

"If you had real change it would involve all the members of (Obama's) church being deported," he said.

Change in whatever form does not come easy, and a black president is "the most profound change in the field of race this country has experienced since the Civil War," said William Ferris, senior associate director of the Center for the Study of the American South at the University of North Carolina. "It's shaking the foundations on which the country has existed for centuries."

"Someone once said racism is like cancer," Ferris said. "It's never totally wiped out, it's in remission."

If so, America's remission lasted until the morning of Nov. 5.

The day after the vote hailed as a sign of a nation changed, black high school student Barbara Tyler of Marietta, Ga., said she heard hateful Obama comments from white students, and that teachers cut off discussion about Obama's victory.

Tyler spoke at a press conference by the Georgia chapter of the NAACP calling for a town hall meeting to address complaints from across the state about hostility and resentment. Another student, from a Covington middle school, said he was suspended for wearing an Obama shirt to school Nov. 5 after the principal told students not to wear political paraphernalia.

The student's mother, Eshe Riviears, said the principal told her: "Whether you like it or not, we're in the South, and there are a lot of people who are not happy with this decision."


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by C on Nov 28, 2008 at 05:52 AM
    For T : Don't just blame America for this. Don't forget a mainstream media that cast aside all pretenses of objectivity and impartiality to help Obama win. Now, watch for the next four [or, God help us, eight] years. Just like the media did all they could to demonize and discredit Bush, they will do a complete 180 for their messiah. They will gloss over,or completely ignore, any goofs he might commit. If the "Big 4" networks ever wonder why so many of us don't trust them and instead turn to FOX, they'll need look no further than their own overtly biased coverage [worship] of Obama.
  • by Obama Snake Oil Co Location: Washington on Nov 26, 2008 at 05:34 AM
    While this blaming of Bush for everything will go on regardless of whether it is his fault or not, some of you that post here should do more research to make your point. It makes you look silly to state such nonsense. The problems we are experiencing now are the results of reigns of Clinton and Bush. It just now came to bear. As far as this article goes, white people of the country are vindicated of race. Why, because they voted in Obama. Blacks alone, couldn't have done it. So, are there a few bad white people? Yes, there are also a few racist black people, and then, there is the rest of us. It proved that the color blind can elect a minority. Now, how will Obama handle the nation? Right down the middle. The liberals will be pissed at him for all the money they gave him and go after him at some point. Some of you say support Obama yet you screamed on this board how he was an idiot and how he started the war, cheated in the election. It goes both ways.
  • by $$$ Location: NC on Nov 26, 2008 at 12:50 AM
    Let's see, NAFTA and a new meaning to the Oval office. That's the only thing that Clinton gave us in 8 years. Not to mention a draft dodger.
  • by Anonymous on Nov 25, 2008 at 02:27 PM
    To James, Well this country was in good shape when Clintons people were in. Obama has been more on the ball in two weeks that Bush has in 8 years.
  • by James Location: Wilson on Nov 25, 2008 at 10:47 AM
    Obama ran on the platform of "Change". How much of a change is it going to be with him placing ex-Clinton people in his cabinet posts? He doesn't have the experience to accomplish anything that needs to be done.
  • by Valerie Location: Kinston on Nov 21, 2008 at 06:23 PM
    Let's come together and make this a stronger country. There's fault on both sides.Whites and blacks both say and do things they shouldn't and it's time out.Obama is the President and we should support him like we supported Bush and God knows he made a mess.Thanks to all the people black and white who voted for Obama, now lets pray that he will lead this great country with all these hateful folks on this site in a better direction. God forgive the people with hatred, racism and fear in their hearts and bring us together as a strong nation to fight against the real enemies, Iraq, Iran and anyone, anything, and any idea that makes us weaker and open to attack.
  • by tj Location: NC on Nov 19, 2008 at 05:55 AM
    Does having his FACE plastered all over my TV count as vandalism?!! It does to me! What is up with having his name on bumper stickers that have the African flag on them? Is he not the U.S. Pres? Coins, books, t-shirts...this is ridiculous!!! I can see it now, next school shopping season the hottest item will be the Obama lunch box!!! Pre-order now to get yours and we'll throw in a free coin purse for all that money he is going to give you!! Racism indeed, I have experienced more racial tension since this man won the primary than in all my 32 years. Thanks America, you have screwed us all.
  • by T Location: NC on Nov 19, 2008 at 05:47 AM
    Why is it that blacks can say and do whatever they want, however negative toward whites, and there is never any news coverage? We have seen a lot more instances of black on white racism than visa-versa. They are already handed whatever they want thanks to the way our government is set up. After working in a local high school that is 90% black, I can tell you that it is very frustrating to know that MY tax dollars are paying for people to go to college....not community college mind you.....because of their skin color. ANY kid that wanted to, got a free ride and believe me, I have read reports by these same kids....appalling!! They didn't even know how to spell or use punctuation correctly! Thanks to our (well, some of our Forefathers) for putting us in this mess. God help our even more divided country!
  • by Geez on Nov 18, 2008 at 09:03 AM
    Anonymous you are right on about the racism issue. Enough said!!
  • by OK Location: NC on Nov 18, 2008 at 12:09 AM
    How dare those people have the nerve to be proud. We give them an inch and they start to think they are equal. Don't they know we are the only race that is allowed to be oppressive. My daddy told me I could do and say what ever I wanted to black folks. What makes them think they can do the same. Something has to change. Those black folks need to learn their place. We own this land. Yall just visiting. Can I get an Amen. We the real Americans.
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