UPDATED SATURDAY: Local Papers Report More Anti-Obama Incidents From Maine to California
By Dexter Hill - E & P
Published: November 14, 2008 12:20 PM ET updated Saturday
Earlier this week we started covering (see link at bottom) anti-Obama, often racist, incidents taking place around the country, generally overlooked in the national media -- but covered by local papers. This seemed to strike a nerve with many readers so we will continue regular updates.
Local stories show that anti-Obama incidents (including physical and verbal abuse, KKK outfits worn, flags burned on front lawns) are occurring on both sides of the Mason-Dixon line.
AP reports today that "in a Maine convenience store, an Associated Press reporter saw a sign inviting customers to join a betting pool on when Obama might fall victim to an assassin. The sign solicited $1 entries into ''he Osama Obama Shotgun Pool," saying the money would go to the person picking the date closest to when Obama was attacked. 'Let's hope we have a winner,' said the sign, since taken down."
From the Orange County (Ca.) Register, concerning an incident in Fullerton: "Two gang members pleaded not guilty Thursday to hate crime and attempted robbery charges in connection with the beating of a black man who was trying to buy cigarettes at a Fullerton liquor store." The two men shouted racial and anti-Obama epithets in the attack.
In Idaho, the Secret Service is investigating a “public hanging” sign erected by a man upset with the election outcome, the Bonner County Daily Bee (Sandpoint) reported Thursday.
A handmade sign posted on a tree reads “FREE PUBLIC HANGING” written in large letters beneath a noose fashioned from nylon rope. The sign then names former Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry, current U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and civil rights activist Al Sharpton. The most prominent name on the sign is “OBAMA,” according to the Bee.
"That's a political statement. They can call it whatever they want, a threat or whatever," the creator of the sign, Ken Germana, told the Bee.
Germana denied any intentional racial tone to his sign but admitted he would not lose sleep if harm did come Obama’s way, according to the Bee.
In Durham, N.C., two officers have been accused of making derogatory anti-Obama remarks on their MySpace pages. Police Chief Jose L. Lopez Sr. said in a telephone interview with The News & Observer in Raleigh, North Carolina, “It wasn't a racial slur, but we're still investigating it."
City Manager, Tom Bonfield, told the Observer that if the officers are discovered to have posted racially charged statements, the department will take appropriate action, according to the newspaper.
In Mississippi alone, the American Civil Liberties Union has received more than 10 calls since the staff first reported anti-Obama incidents last Friday, according to the Jackson (Miss.) Free Press.
One call was from a middle school vice principal, who claimed that teachers at the school had banned students from talking about the election in class, threatening any student who violated the rule with after-school detention, according to the Press. The school administrator had taken care of the situation but called the ACLU about the legality of the teachers’ censorship.
At the University of Texas in Austin, a racist post on Facebook has cost one student his place on the university football team, according to the Houston Chronicle.
Buck Burnette, a sophomore offensive lineman for the fourth-ranked Texas Longhorns, was dismissed from the team on Nov. 5 after posting a racist remark about President-elect Obama as his “status” on the social networking Web site. Burnette posted: “All the hunters gather up, we have a [slur] in the White House,” the Chronicle reported.
Burnette said the post was said by a friend during a text-message exchange on Election Night, and that his decision to post the comment on Facebook was poor judgment, according to the Chronicle. He has since released a statement admitting his mistake and claiming that it is not a true reflection of his character.
When Longhorns coach, Mack Brown, was asked if he were concerned that the racial slur may cause division on the team, he cut off the question, responding, “Folks, I’m not going there at all. I’m through,” the Chronicle reported.
AP reports today: "While the world watched a Grant Park celebration heralding the election of the first black U.S. president, some white Chicago police officers committed hate crimes against black residents cheering Barack Obama's victory elsewhere in the city, attorneys alleged Thursday." Lawsuits have been filed.
The Philadelphia Inquirer reported Wednesday that tensions had erupted at two local universities. At St. Joseph’s University, a drawing of a stick figure in a noose was found in a classroom and residence hall on Oct. 29, and students suggested that the drawing was against Obama.
While the Inquirer reported that one student felt the university was slow in its response, the Philadelphia FOX News affiliate reported Thursday that administrators have already taken action after a recent racially-motivated attack at La Salle University. Several students and the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity have been suspended after an attack on three black freshmen students, according to FOX 29.
At Appalachian State University, the administration has expressed disappointment at the numerous times black students have expressed being harassed in residence halls since the election. The Appalachian, a student newspaper serving the university, also reported conversations suggesting Obama may not be alive in 2009 and a t-shirt seen around campus that reads “Obama ‘08, Biden ‘09.”
Mentioned in the same article, racist comments were discovered at North Carolina State University last week. Spray-painted in university’s free expression tunnel after the election were the phrases, “Kill that n...” and “Shoot Obama,” the Appalachian reported. The NAACP has called for the expulsion of the four students accused of the graffitti, the Associated Press reported Thursday.
In Oswego, New York, police are investigating whether a fight outside a pizza shop that left a SUNY-Oswego student hospitalized was sparked by remarks said about Obama.
A verbal argument at the Pizza Pub in Oswego Sunday night suddenly escalated when Army fire support specialist Pvt. Kevin Flanagan hit college student Angel Moreno, the Associated Press reported.
"One [soldier] was saying bad things about Obama," a Pizza Pub manager who witnessed the incident told the New York Post. He added that Moreno “got really upset” and responded to the soldier, “ 'Obama! F- - - you!' " the Post reported Tuesday.
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