Racism

on Wednesday, July 9, 2008




I have recently started reading the news on the St. Paul Pioneer Press web site. I don't know why I picked them over the Minneapolis Tribune, but I did. I also registered so that I could leave my comments about stories. Now I'm not saying that everybody who posts there is an idiot and a racist, but I am shocked at the number of idiot-racists who do post there on a daily basis. Frankly, I didn't know such people lived in Minnesota.

It started with the story of a Somali man who was shot to death outside a hotel in Brooklyn Park at 4:30 in the morning. I've left for jobs at 4:30 AM with George if we had to get to the far side of Wisconsin or we had to drive deep into Iowa, and a couple of those times we've met at a place of business, a cafe or gas station, so my first reaction is to give the guy a benefit of a doubt. The racists, on the other hand follow a twisted path of logic that ends with this guy being a gang-banger who was shot by another and good riddance to him.
  • He was black, therefore a gang-banger
  • It was 4 am and he obviously had no legitimate reason to be there (because he was black and a Somali)
  • It was in Brooklyn Park, which everyone knows is full of ne'er-do-well black people
My sister lives in Brooklyn Park in a curvy-roaded suburban area full of happy, smiling white people. I know the whole city isn't like that and my blood freezes every time I hear of another murder there (three homicides in 2007... three too many), but I simply will not assume the worst. If it comes out that the guy was a gangster and all that, I'll be very happy to say I was wrong.

The worst was a comment about a story of a man in Madison, WI who had been tortured by some drug dealers for money:
...that's what white people get for mixing with africoons...
I fucking couldn't believe my eyes!

Any story that has to do with a Muslim or a person with a Muslim-sounding name is riddled with, "he/she should go back to where they came from," or the one I always get a kick out of, "in 30 years we'll be under Sharia law and you'll be beheaded for being a liberal."

Democrats and liberals of all stripes are "demoncrats" and are mentally unstable. Anyone who protests the war or the war machine is an unwashed, unemployed hippie (woe be to the war protester with a Muslim-sounding name!). A woman who died in a car wreck, leaving three children behind, is labeled as a welfare cheat because her children all have different last names! A black man who holds three full time jobs to support his family is shot outside an after-hours club in St. Paul, well, he never should have been there in the first place (and he was probably affiliated with a gang).

Recently a guy in Lakeville was rousted out of his bed by two cops in his bedroom shining flashlights in his eyes because he left his garage door open and his front door ajar. The cops say that the neighborhood had had a bunch of break-ins recently and they were just checking. The guy is upset and has gone to the city council to ask them to change the policy on how police should behave in such a situation. The commentors blame him for being a liberal, filing a frivolous lawsuit and wasting taxpayer money. Nowhere in the article did it mention anything about a lawsuit, and when I pointed that out I was labeled "clueless."

The icing on the cake were some of the comments about the convicted felon (prostitution) in Little Falls who was shot to death while holding the County Commissioners hostage at gunpoint. He was just a small businessman trying to make it vs. the liberal, nanny government. (Anyone who has ever been to Morrison County would never call it liberal.) Unbelievable.

Oh, and Barrack Obama will bring the nation to it's knees, whether that's the topic of the story or not.

Like putting your tongue on a sore tooth or looking under a bloody band-aid I keep checking back. I guess I want to see just how bad bad can get. Certainly not everyone who posts there is a narrow-minded fool, but there are a lot of them. Some people are actually very thoughtful, informative and caring. I want to be one of them.

But it makes me sad to think that some of my fellow Minnesotans can be so cruel, so intolerant, so shallow. I thought maybe we'd grown beyond that kind of thought, this is the 21st century after all, but I guess I was very, very wrong.


5 comments:

Mike Sawin said...

I've been to the Pioneer-Press site, and I too was disheartened. The SC Times story chat is about as bad.

My thought about the Lakeville guy: imagine if there had been a home break-in or homicide on the property.

"Oh come on! The door was OPEN. Those cops should have known something was wrong!"

In this situation, there is no win for the cops.

People on these boards just want to fight with and insult other people. They want something to be indignant about.

It's hard to even read some of the comments, much less join in.

SuperChunk said...

Dude... I try VERY hard to avoid reading the responses on the Strib site (just as bad as St.PPP site). It makes me want to spend the time to craft a thoughtful response to the hate-mongering, knee-jerk reactioneers that spew their bile in short-burst spastic fits (is that redunant?)...

Anyhoo - I've come to realize, those people will NOT accept or consider other POV's, and YOU are the douchebag if you DARE to contradict them with intelligence and/or tolerance.

Fuckers. Now, am I a hypocrite for hurling such an epithet at "them"? Probably... c'est la vie.

Boedette said...

We have the same situation with the local paper up north. I've come to realize that when people have a faceless audience, and they don't have to use their real name, they somehow feel emboldened to spew the most unbelievable bile about their fellow human beings. Because there is no personal accountability for what they say...they say it all.

Being a Native American woman I've lived with these attitudes and the racism all of my life. It's always good to know that other folks are realizing that people really DO think and believe this way. I am told over and over that racism is all in the victims mind, that I am interpreting what they said or did wrong, that I'm too sensitive about it, and that they can't possibly be a racist. Well, people don't wear pointy white sheets much anymore...but many still harbor the same attitudes. That to me is what is scary about these news blogs, it's a forum for anonymous thugs to feed on eachother. We actually had a candidate for Mayor say in an interview that certain people did not belong in our community..that you knew who they were because they didn't "look" like the residents. He then went on to talk about the people coming from Chicago and Detroit for our welfare...hmmmm I can't imagine who he might've been referring to! Anyway, the community rejected him (thank god) and we move on...But he was quoting what is said daily on the local blogs. I have noticed that more and more folks bring up these kinds of statements in face to face conversations, I wonder if the prevalance of these conversations on blogs emboldens people to speak up in search of others of a like mind. Ugly possibility.

Ah well, in 48 days we can hoist a beer amongst the tolerant. See you then!
Kelly Boedy

LG said...

Just bear in mind, assholes like this tend to organize in groups and make concerted efforts to over-represent their real numbers on-line, especially when commenting on newspaper articles. They might be just a few people posting and pretending to be different folks.

Chad said...

The extreme left and right wingers are in St. Cloud too. I'm not sure why, but I like to check the posts on the opinions page at the Times website and the same things get posted there constantly by the same dozen people. It's easy to hide behind your words if you don't have to back them...