from The Huffington Post
November 16, 2008
Posted November 15, 2008 | 11:41 AM (EST)
Racial Incidents and Threats Against Obama Soar: Here Is a Chronicle
Since election day, the number of threats against the president-elect, and
racial or violent incidents directed at his supporters, have soared. The
Secret Service is concerned, calling it the highest number of threats
against a President-elect in memory, but the national media until this
weekend have largely ignored the disturbing pattern. So a few days ago, over
at the Editor & Publisher site, we started chronicling the incidents, which
has drawn wide attention (so we will continue, though we hope the problem
Some claim that, given the size of this great country of ours, the incidents
don't amount to much or are merely anecdotal. I would argue: The ones we
know about may represent only the tip of the iceberg -- the ones that make
it into the local press. And, yes, they may die down as the country gets
used to the idea of a President Obama. On the other hand: They could soar
again as that reality nears.
So let me just briefly list the full range of episodes, which doesn't even
include several cross burnings on front lawns. These aren't necessarily the
worst but they do capture the national flavor/fever. Note that about 2 out
of 3 took place in states that Obama won.
* 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 "The 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."
* In Idaho, the Secret Service is investigating a "public hanging"
erected by a man upset with the election outcome, the Bonner County Daily
Bee reported Thursday. A handmade sign posted on a tree reads "FREE PUBLIC
HANGING" written in large letters beneath a noose fashioned from nylon
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
or whatever," the creator of the sign, Ken Germana, told the Bee.
* A popular white supremacist Web sites got more than 2,000 new members the
day after the election, compared with 91 new members on Election Day. The
site, ..., was temporarily off-line on Nov. 5 because of the overwhelming
amount of activity it received. One poster, identified as Dalderian
Germanicus, of North Las Vegas, said, "I want the SOB laid out in a box to
see how 'messiahs' come to rest."
* From the Orange County (Ca.) Register: "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
in the attack.
* From today's New York Times: "Two white Staten Island men face hate
charges after they were arrested on Friday in the beating of a black
teenager on the night that Barack Obama was elected president, the police
said on Saturday. The teenager, Alie Kamara, 17, was walking home on Pine
Place in the Staten Island neighborhood of Stapleton when several men hit
him on the head with a baseball bat and yelled 'Obama,' said Aliya
the civil rights director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, who
was in contact with Alie's family since the attack and spoke to his mother
on Saturday after the arrests were announced."
* 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.
* In Midland, Mich., a man dressed in full Ku Klux Klan regalia walked
around toting a handgun and waving an American flag. Initially denying it,
the man eventually admitted to police that the display was a reaction to the
Obama victory. "[The man] had a concealed weapon permit and was walking up
and down the sidewalk in front of a vehicle dealership while some motorists
shouted obscenities at him and others shouted accolades," police told The
* Parents in Rexburg, Idaho, contacted school officials this week after they
learned that 2nd and 3rd graders on a school bus were chanting,
* 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"
social networking Web site. Burnette posted: "All the hunters gather up,
have a [slur] in the White House," the Chronicle reported.
* AP reports: "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."
have been filed.
* 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
"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.
* The Associated Press revealed on Wednesday, "Police on eastern Long
are investigating reports that more than a dozen cars were spray painted
with racist graffiti, reportedly including a message targeting
President-elect Barack Obama. The graffiti included racist slurs and
sexually graphic references. At least one resident in the quiet Mastic
neighborhood told Newsday her son's car was scribbled with a message
threatening to kill Obama."
* Employees at Hampel's Key and Lockshop in Traverse City, Michigan, flew
American flag upside down last Wednesday protesting of the new
president-elect, the Traverse City Record-Eagle reported. One worker used a
racial slur during an interview with the Record-Eagle: "(The inverted flag
is) an international signal for distress and we feel our country is in
distress because the n----- got in," said Hampel's employee Rod
later apologized for the comment, according to the Record-Eagle.
* Authorities in Temecula, Calif., found spray-painted graffiti on a city
sidewalk containing a swastika and anti-Obama slogan. And from the Los
Angeles Times: "Vandals spray-painted swastikas and racial slurs on a
and several cars in Torrance that displayed campaign signs or bumper
stickers for President-elect Barack Obama, authorities said Tuesday. The
incidents occurred Saturday night in the Hollywood Riviera section of the
city, said Sgt. Bernard Anderson. Four separate incidents were reported the
next day, he said. No arrests have been made."
* And from Maine: "More than 75 people rallied Sunday against an incident
last week in which black figures were hanged by nooses from trees on Mount
Desert Island the day after Barack Obama won the presidential election,"
according to the Bangor Daily News.
Greg Mitchell is editor of Editor & Publisher and its popular blog. His
latest book, on Iraq and the media, is "So Wrong for So Long." His
the 2008 campaign will be published in January. Email him at:
"The President of the United States, the Vice President, the President
Elect, the Vice President Elect, and their families, are under the
protection of the United States Secret Service. If you have reliable
information concerning a serious threat to harm any of these persons, you
should call the nearest Secret Service field office. You can find the
number in the phone book or on www.secretservice.gov. If your information
checks out, you may receive a substantial reward." (Source: