North Carolina: A Snapshot of Modern Day Race Relations?

Does anyone know what is going on in North Carolina? It seems that each day I'm shocked more than I was the previous day. First there was Barack Obama's stop at Fayetteville's Cape Fear BBQ & Chicken on Sunday. Let's just say it didn't exactly provide an image of racial equality and fellow Americans living as one in hopes of furthering the common good. Here's how the Politico describes the scene when Obama arrived:

Obama arrived at the barbecue joint around 12:30 p.m., where an older and majority white clientele of several dozen were eating lunch after church services. Many patrons applauded as he walked into the diner, but Diane Fanning, 54, began yelling “Socialist, socialist, socialist — get out of here!”

So how does Obama handle the situation? Like the pragmatist he is. Of course, it unfolds just as you would expect:

Later, Obama came to the long table where Fanning and other members of a local First Presbyterian church were gathered. He held out his hand to her and asked, “How are you, ma’am?” but she declined to shake his hand.

Fanning asked Obama about a North American union, and Obama responded: “Well, you know, I am opposed to it if it were happening. But it doesn’t seem to be actually be happening. The truth of the matter is there is no plans. I’ve talked to a lot of people, including folks down in Texas. There’s no plan to create a common government between Mexico, U.S. and Canada. That’s just not … that’s just not happening. I know some people have been hearing rumors about it. But as far as I can tell, that’s just not something that’s happening. We would never give up our sovereignty in that way. Any other questions?

In an interview, Fanning said, “I still think he’s a closet Muslim."

Wow. I find it at least a little comforting to know that the wack-jobs that believe these "closet Muslim" emails are the tinfoil hat wearing conspiracy theorists. But here's where the article puts to bed any of the questions about the serious undertone to it was portraying:

Sheila Evans, 39, who is biracial, told Obama, “I’m so proud of you.” She told your pooler Obama had chosen a restaurant frequented more by whites, while one a couple of doors down had predominantly African-American diners on Sundays.

Not exactly a picture of race relations in North Carolina that would make you proud. In 2008, people are proud of a black man for going into the hostile white eatery rather than the more friendly black eatery nearby. Come on North Carolina. That has to be a joke. Right?

Then, Sunday there was that whole "Obama Bear" incident at Western Carolina University that prompted James to begin collecting firearms. (By the way James - probably a better idea to take a deep breath.)

Then, today we get the icing on the racism cake. Think Progress has a couple of videos of a decent size group of white McCain/Palin supporters protesting and shouting at a large line of people (almost entirely black) waiting in line to vote early this past Sunday. Here is Think Progress's description of the scene:

On Sunday, the Washington Times’s Christina Bellantoni stopped by a polling place in North Carolina, where she reported that a “group of loud and angry protestors” — almost all of whom were white — were shouting and mocking voters — nearly all of whom were black. Bellatoni noted that people “were shouting about Obama’s acknowledged cocaine use as a young man, abortion and one man used the word ‘terrorist.’ They also were complaining that Sundays are for church, not voting.”

Everyone should watch the videos. Then, if you're like me, you'll probably watch to watch them again to make sure you're really seeing what you think you're seeing. Shouting at people standing in line to vote? Does that really happen in North Carolina? Correct me if I'm wrong - this is 2008, not 1957. Right? As with most of you, one image comes to mind when I see all of these events unfolding:

I'll admit that I'm only 27 years old so I may just be naive to these types of things. If this type of scene normal. Did anyone see anything like this in 2004 or 2000? I've seen people protesting at polling stations before but they were much smaller groups and they didn't seem to be racially divided.



Excellent post. Thank you.

Doubts about Dole?

some optimism to balance the horrors

Here is a moving story
A good friend and Democrat in Durham shared some stories from her first day greeting voters at one of the Durham County polling sites. It illustrates so well why being at a polling site and helping voters is so important. Here is her story and you just know there are many, many more across the country:

"... I opened the polls this morning and there were more than 25 people in line at 8:30--and it was already sprinkling! Despite the rain, there was a steady stream of voters. And what voters! There was the schizophrenic who arrived with his caretaker, proudly announcing that he'd taken 'extra medication' so he'd be sure to mark his ballot correctly for Obama. And the Haitian woman announcing that she had become a citizen last week just so she could vote. The newly-18 year old who was escorting her great-grandmother to register and vote for the first time. And a poll worker told me about an ancient black woman (96) who was legally blind who arrived in the first wave yesterday to be sure her vote would be among the first placed for "Barama." And two Holocaust survivors who so appreciated the fact that I was standing in the rain to explain how the ballot worked that they went to Starbucks after they'd voted ad came back with a decaf non-fat mocha for me--and insisted that I sit in their car and drink it while they greeted voters for me. Ah, American diversity. The best part is that I convinced so many voters to also fill in the Democratic straight ticket bubble instead of voting just for Obama. My hope is that we will defeat Dole after all!

Yes, there were some Republicans. ... Once, two Republican couples met up just over the "no campaigning beyond this point" sign. They stopped and in loud voices spoke disparagingly of Obama, as in, "Imagine the taxes we'd have to pay if That One got elected!" I had to turn towards them and grin ear to ear. And then I accepted a pat on the back from a large middle-aged black woman who assured me, "Don't worry, honey, this year we outnumber them." Indeed, we did today! The Lawson campaign had hired two young .. women to hand out flyers. They were obviously doing it for the money, not out of conviction. They greeted voters first, handed them the Republican flyers, then smiled as I explained to those same voters that they didn't need those flyers for Republicans if they just voted the straight Democratic ticket. Each took turns voting, asking me later for an Obama sticker even though they couldn't wear one until they left 'the job.' "


LOL! BJ's "entrepreneurs" in action

Each took turns voting, asking me later for an Obama sticker even though they couldn't wear one until they left 'the job.'

I really shouldn't laugh, because paid campaign work is putting food on a lot of families, but you know. Damn. That's funny. :)

I had this on my list to write

and you did a much more thorough job than I have time for today - or that I could have written had I found time. From the bottom of my heart, thank you! This really needed to be said.

I don't want to watch those videos, though I know I will. We are calling all elderly and African American voters in our county to encourage them to vote early. Those are the two groups most likely to avoid voting if there are any voter suppression antics, long lines, bad weather, lack of transportation....etc. I start calling in an hour. I called for six hours yesterday.

[edit] - I meant to ask you.....the article I read said that Fanning would not shake Obama's hand. Did you read that as well? You can probably imagine the sarcastic comment I had reserved for that one.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

She's a nut

Fanning is a Freeper. (See "Free Republic.") They're nuts. Picture the "crazy lady at McCain rally" when you see the name "Freeper," or even the thug who knocked Joe Killian down, and you'll have a reasonable mental image of the type. Not that all Freepers appear disheveled, unwashed or dazed, but their mental processes certainly are.

Fanning isn't just a person reacting to a heightened sense of tension around this campaign. She lives to create that kind of tension and revels in it. If you visit a Freeper website you can see that in a typical post. They seem to enjoy the act of hating.

I can't imagine belonging to a political party with those kind of morons as allies.

Did you read the part in the article

that said she had just come from a church service? didn't take.

Ayup...very familiar with Freepers. They also are known for descending on polls found online to sway the outcome. Hence our charge to, "Freep this poll!" I know you know this...just adding to your description of a Freeper which is quite accurate from what I can tell.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.


And who knows what the preacher had been saying?

It's helpful to know that Freepers exist, just as it's helpful to know about the so-called Christian Identity movement, the neo-nazis and other hate groups. The internet has given them new ways to recruit, whip up and organize idiots and worse, people who are quite bright but mentally twisted.

That's unsettling, but at least we know more about these kinds of groups than in the days before the internet, when they were forced to be much more secretive and furtive in their organizing.

I think it's important to realize that there will always be this certain percentage of people who are going to feed on hating others and who will from time to time gain popularity and power -- and use it.

These videos are disturbing, but not novel.

Let's face it, Virginia politicians out in the boonies have probably been saying things a lot worse than "macaca". It wasn't novel, it was just that it got videotaped. Same with this, it's not novel, it just got videotaped. Crazy.

"You could say, 'Look, is this guy, Laden, really the bad guy that's depicted?' Most of us have never heard of him before." John McCain, following Clinton's strikes on al Qaeda camps

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.

Exactly - church seems like

Exactly - church seems like an underlying theme through all of these stories. I loved the part where the protester was yelling about how Sunday was for church not voting. I guess they edited the part where he explained how Jesus had appointed him to the position of "Enforcer" to ensure everyone was obeying the Sunday church mandate.

Another great line, I believe I read here

"Republicans want to reduce government down until it fits in your bedroom."

I use to attend a local church regularly round these here parts, one of those fine upstanding church attendees one day walked into the fellowship hall which was full at that point and said (in a loud voice)"I don't know why those black people don't vote Republican after all, Lincoln freed them..." The hubs and I left when the preacher and another parishioner swapped wives.

No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.

Progressive Discussions

That's some Church!

Now how can you object to a lil ole wife-swapping between parishioners!? I betcha it was one of those hot-tub things. Hot tubs will lead ya straight to perdition.

I was thinking about the churchgoer who commented about black folks and the party of Lincoln and then the folk in the video that Robert posted for Justin's attention earlier today -- showing the blatant racism of these folks in Ohio. It's always interesting to me how these people can call themselves Christian and yet be so comfortable ignoring their Messiah's entire reason for being.

It's at times like this that I remember wise words my father uttered to me before dropping me off at school on day. I was fourteen and confused and angry about political smears fostered by the GOP and being accepted and repeated as gospel by my classmates. Dad stopped the car, looked at me solemnly and said, "Brunette, people are stupid."

(Ok, he didn't call me "Brunette.")

It had never occured to me that I had to accept that this sort of thing had always gone on and would always go on precisely because people are stupid. But it has, it will and they are. It is likewise true of racism. Should there come a day when we are all so blended that categories like "white" and "black" no longer work, we'll start hating each other based on lesser variations in skin tone or on hair or eye color.

Didn't you ever read Dr. Seuss's book about

the Sneetches? They were all yellow but some had a star where their belly button was. They were considered to be the "in" crowd and discriminated against all the Sneetches without a star. Dr. Seuss taught many important life lessons.

No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.

Progressive Discussions

Who doesn't love Dr. Seuss?

I think a lot about Horton Hears a Who whenever people try to discourage me from "yopping."

There are waaaaay too many people who refuse to speak out because they think it's of no use or the odds are stacked against 'em, etc . . . and I always think of that little Who whose YOP was the last little bit needed to get some needed noise through.

Word of Wisdom

Brunette - you're father was 100% correct. I'm just a little surprised by the prevalence of dumb/ignorant people in North Carolina. I grew up in South Carolina and attended Clemson for college. Then, moved to New York for three years to attend law school. Some friends of mine would say that while up north, I must have come under the influence of those "yankees" (people down here really use this title) because since moving to Charlotte a year ago I have been blown away at some of the things people do and say around here in public. For example, a week after moving here, I was walking through the mall when I suddenly heard this little kid (maybe 10 years old) talking to his mother loudly and first he dropped an "N-Bomb" and then his mother dropped one of her own. Like it was nothing. My stomach immediately jumped up into my throat. I can't remember another time in my life where I have been that shocked. I know this word, despite the gravity of it, is not one that anyone in the south has never actually heard before but I had never heard it from such a young person. And then for the parent to more than condone it.

Now I know that there are pockets of this type of ignorance everywhere and that North Carolina, as a whole, is not like this but I just never expected it. I guess growing near Myrtle Beach, South Carolina you sort of hold North Carolina to a higher standard. Kind of like the New York City of the two Carolinas (that may be a stretch).

Dad is always right

Even when he's wrong (or "mistaken," as I'd prefer to say), he's still the wisest, finest human being ever set foot on this yere planet.

I feel quite strongly that those who attempt to assign varying intelligences to the different regions of the country are wrong, confused, and thinking sloppily.

Now, granted, we have different cultures, backgrounds and to some extent sensibilities, but as far as whether the brain power is greater or lesser depending which side of the Mason Dixon line you're on, no . . . not a bit.

Also, for what it is worth, I grew up in the Deep South, and while the occasional classmate would demonstrate a poor upbringing by using the "n" word, the public or open use of that kind of language would have shocked anyone in my family. It wasn't done.

I would also note that a good friend of mine from Boston told me that racism there was very deep but that "unlike you southerners, we don't talk (ok, she said, "tawk" ) about it. We feel it but we hide it."

And I'm sure you are aware that the most bitter race riots in the last half of the 20th century took place outside the South.

We've all got a long way to go, but none of us makes much progress by pointing across a state line and saying, "Well they're worse than we are!"

My dad said the same thing to me

at about the same time.

Dad stopped the car, looked at me solemnly and said, "Brunette, people are stupid."

He didn't call me "Brunette", either,but I distinctly remember having the same conversation with him.

Dads are so cool.

Cape Fear BBQ

That's the name of the restaurant he went to. Not "hostile white eatery." It's a great place, I personally recommend the BBQ plate with brunswick stew, sweet tea, and hushpuppies. I assume they were referring to the Sandpiper Restaurant as being more minority restaurant...but, for bloody sakes, it's Fayetteville on a Sunday, the only reason reason there would be one color over the other is depending on what time the churches get out (still the most segregated hour in America). You go to Sandpiper or Cape Fear earlier, it'll be more white...a little bit later, it'll be more black.

Once again we are letting one misinformed woman create an entire characterization. Pray (or whatever) for her that her heart will not remain hardened, and that her vote will be on her what she wants for her community, not what she's been told to fear. other words, don't mess with Tex-...I mean, Fayetteville. :)

Phillip Hunter Gilfus,
Member(NC), Democratic National Committee

I agree, this was NOT a

I agree, this was NOT a segregated restaurant by any stretch, but the article made it appear that way. Reporters take license especially when some nutcase gives them an excuse to push a certain narrative. I've lived in many different states and in many different parts of NC, and from my experience NC no more segregated/racist than anywhere else in America. I'm not minimizing the disgusting behavior of these people, just trying to put it in the proper perspective.

Besides if you want to prove to media that NC is not a racist state, let's work like crazy these next few weeks and make them choke on that narrative. It's time to bring it home!! Let's make sure the racists really have something to complain about come November 5th.

A Little Comfort

A great post from Dependable Renegade:

For every reptile-brained "moran" spouting racist crap at McPalin rallies, there's Clinton Slagle: