Racism rears its head in Texas after a black man is elected President

Strange but that blog post headline seems like it belongs in the 1950s, except for one thing.  The black man was running for office. Except the black man was running for President. Except for the fact that he WON.  Hate dies a slow, painful, tortured death as pain and agony are all it knows. Most people and most things die the way they live. Still it’s disturbing and I’m on edge waiting for the white hoods to make a final appearance before it’s all said and done. The news in the local morning paper just has me shaking my head today.

This is frightening, but it’s just the appetizer: In Fort Worth, Obama’s Election prompts run on guns and ammunition

Allan Craig is scared for the country and for himself.

So less than 48 hours after Democrat Barack Obama was elected president, Craig went out to buy an M-4 rifle.

“It’s for protection,” the 57-year-old funeral director from Weatherford said. “I’m fearful for our country. I think there will be violence. People want to go in and take over this country .?.?. trying to destroy America.

“I will protect myself and my family.”

I’m scared of people like this guy. Yes, there will be violence – from people who react to the election of our first black President buy running out to buy guns and bullets.  How do I protect my family from people like this?  Is there any protection from our neighbors who react to change and difference and diversity by arming themselves more heavily?  Tuesday night wasn’t the end, it was just the beginning. There is more work to do.

The main course was this: Area Schools deal with Racist Comments, Actions

Students at Colleyville Middle School used a social networking site to urge one another to wear black in protest of Obama’s victory, according to the parents of different students.

If it happened, campus administrators didn’t notice, Grapevine-Colleyville school district spokeswoman Megan Overman said. “There wasn’t anything organized, as far as we could tell,” she said.

There were hallway chants and untoward comments at a few Grapevine-Colleyville schools, including Colleyville Middle, since the election, but “those incidents have been handled,” Overman said.

The district has a character education program that focuses on civility, and the issues will also be discussed in some history classes, she said.

“We’re trying to turn this into learning opportunities,” Overman said. “Only every four years do we get a chance to talk about elections, and elections this historic are obviously much more rare.”

It seems like the character education program at this school isn’t very effective. Yes, Ms. Overman you only get to talk about elections every four years, but you get to do anti-racism/anti oppression education every day. If the Grapevine-Colleyville schools took these issues seriously and engaged them with students and parents would students get to middle school age and engage in this type of behavior? Possibly, you can’t stop everything, but a systemic anti racism education program that begins in the earliest years of schooling would leave middle schooler far less likely to engage in such behavior.

What we need now is reconciliation on a mass scale.  There are tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, perhaps even millions of people who are living in fear that in the aftermath of Tuesday’s election results there will be a mass revenge-taking, a mass table-turning.  I am getting the sense that racists feel like white South Africans after apartheid.  Perhaps our response needs to be as measured as was South Africa’s.  As justified as oppressed black South Africa might have been to turn the tables on their white oppressors at apartheid’s end, they did not.  They opted for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission instead.

There is a seismic shift going on among the political and social forces that have control of American public life for the last 28 years. Rev. Osagyefo Ushur Sekou writes, “Consider that for some years now one has been able to interchange the words ‘Christian’, ‘conservative’, ‘religious’, ‘right’, and ‘Republican’ in one sentence without necessarily changing the meaning of the sentence” (“Who’ God? Faith, Democracy and Making of an Authentic Religious Left” in Dispatches from the Religious Left pg. 64)  That dynamic is itself changing and came to a head Tuesday night. Those for whom this reality is a good thing are ready to move ahead into a new, more civil, more inclusive century.  Those for whom that old paradigm was a good thing are shaken to their bones. Some do not know how to handle it and are just plain scared, terrified.  From and out of that fear, they will act.  Hatred is making its stand against gay rights, racism is popping up in reaction to election results and what had been good manners have been lost as racist jokes become a way to identify as “us” against “them” in the new tolerant and welcoming world order.

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