Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Obama haters

-- by Dave

It's not really news that Barack Obama's candidacy is drawing out the worst tendencies of conservatives, including the way they're painting Obama's white supporters as race traitors.

But the far right and its minions have been particularly ugly, including at least one explicit assassination threat, as well as an outpouring of racial bile in anonymous comments sections.

As the likelihood of Obama capturing the Democratic nomination looms ever larger, these folks are apparently starting to ratchet the hate talk even higher. Mark Potok at the SPLC reports:
With the nomination of Barack Obama as the first black Democratic nominee for president seeming more possible by the day, racists and white supremacists are posting increasingly ugly and even threatening remarks on the Internet.

“OBAMA WILL DIE, KKK FOREVER,” concludes a Feb. 15 post by “Rodney” to a blog run by a person identified only as Strider333. Above that signoff, Rodney wrote: “The KKK or someone WILL assassinate Obama! If we get a NIGGER President all you NIGGER’s [sic] will think you’ve won and that the WHITE people will have to bow to you[.] FUCK THAT.”

As Potok notes, a lot of this kind of rhetoric skirts the assassination talk but isn't explicit, mostly because a lot of them are careful not to attract Secret Service attention. But the reality is that there's been enough of it already to warrant early protection for Obama, and heightened protection now.
The most heated anti-Obama talk appears to be on Internet sites that allow people to post messages anonymously. One such site, JD Underground, is a list ostensibly devoted to lawyers, although further details were not available. It has carried a particularly venomous thread, entitled “Nigger President,” that has stretched from January into this month.

“I’m hoping someone will do his public duty of putting a bullet through Obama’s head,” said a poster identified as “Kill Da Nigga.” Another poster suggests “bring[ing] back lynchings” and concludes with a warning: “LOOK OUT NIGGER. THE KLAN IS GETTING BIGGER!!!!!!” And a third, using the screen name “amerikkkan,” says only, “The deep south is making plans.”

Some of them, as the post notes, are hoping to set off a race war. But I think what they'd be most likely to accomplish is a final repudiation and marginalization of racist-right ideology.

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