On June 10th, an 88-year-old white supremecist walked into the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC, armed with a rifle, and killed a black security guard before being fired upon and apprehended. As usual, local authorities including the Mayor of Washington, DC used two familiar words that were recently uttered in the murder of Kansas abortion doctor George Tiller; “isolated incident.”
Well just how many isolated incidents of targeted pre-planned murder have to occur before America finally comes to term with a dirty little secret that lies beneath its surface? This painful bleeding truth is that there are many angry white Americans along with many organized hate groups with extremist followers who are lashing out during an era of supposed racial inclusiveness, post-racial mentality, and Obama diversity.
And there are other issues which come to the forefront which deal with gun control and the ever so constant dismantling of gun restrictions laws across the nation. In 2008, portions of DC’s strict handgun and firearms law were overturned. And just last month, President Obama signed credit-card reform legislation with an amendment slipped in by republicans which now allows handguns inside of national parks.
Americans can thank the moderate democrats or the Blue Dog Democrats as they call themselves for this appalling action. They sided with Republicans on this issue and bottom line there simply were not enough votes to remove the amendment from the legislation.
Almost exactly two months before the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum shooting similar incidents were being foretold when Homeland Security issued a nine-page report titled “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment.”
The report which was sent to police and sheriff’s departments across the nation warned of an increase of “rightwing extremist activity” due to a variety of reasons including the economic recession and the election of America’s first African American president.
But this report, along with Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, were both crucified by conservatives when the report indicated that some disgruntled returning Iraq war veterans could be at risk for being recruited by white militias. Further, the Federal Bureau of Investigations has reported that 52.0% of victims of bias crimes are targeted because of their race, 17% because of their religion and 15% because of their sexual orientation.
The truth simply doesn’t lie. There is a steadily growing fear and anger among fringe white Americans that could potentially spill over into the mainstream and mostly white conservative arenas. If this happens the fire would have been stoked by the political rhetoric of many conservative radio and television media personalities and some elected officials.
So just what do Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, Mike Savage, Sean Hannity, Billy Cunningham, Mark Levine, G. Gordon Liddy, and the numerous conservative commentators on Fox News have to say? I have a strong hunch that those old two familiar words will come forth “isolated incident.”
And what do the black conservative commentators have to say when it comes to living in a supposed post-racial America? I think they will say much the same thing but not nearly as believable because deep down inside they and the rest of America know the real truth.
We as a country are not over the race issue and if we aren’t careful, a deep cultural and racial American divide will tear its way across the red and blue heart of America. And as the mid-term elections of 2010 approach we will see just how much diversity the American electorate can actually stand.
Herndon Davis is a media consultant/journalist focusing on issues of diversity among people-of-color, women and LGBT. He can be reached at www.herndondavis.com