The persistent racist menace in the United States

A documentary in two parts by Russia Today, called “Race Supremacy: Revealing Hatred”:

Did you know that Warren G. Harding, who was president of the US during the 1920s, was actually sworn into the Ku Klux Klan while in office–using the White House Bible? I knew the KKK was powerful during the 1920s (that was actually its peak of popularity and power), but even I had no idea it was that far advanced. (Ironically, there were and still are some who insist that Harding, not Obama, was the first “black” president of the US, alleging that he had a “drop” of the blood. There is no hard proof that this was indeed the case.)

I had never heard of the Greensboro Massacre until now, either. It seems pretty clear that the local police, and indeed the entire judiciary system, were in league with the Klan, even as late as the 1970s and ’80s, such that the victims and survivors got no justice, and the perpetrators–who I’m sure were well known to the authorities–went free. And the racist corruption still runs very wide and deep, much more so than most of us realize:

Part II is more reassuring in some ways, and more chilling than others. Angela King, a former white-supremacist gang member who went to jail for her part in a robbery, says that prison was what opened her eyes to the common ground shared by all humanity. It became impossible for her to hate others who shared her plight of poverty and incarceration. When she left prison, she began to speak out against the white supremacists and separatists. She is still doing so today, and if there is any real hope of forestalling a fascist uprising, it lies in “formers” like her, who can band together with service organizations to reach young people before the fascists get a brainwashing hold of them. In these difficult economic times–eerily parallel to those of Weimar Germany–the job she does is extremely important, much more so than it initially seems.

But others remain obdurate. Tom Metzger, whose surname, appropriately enough, means “butcher” in German, became a hater while still in the army. When he got out, he tried unsuccessfully to “infiltrate” the Democratic party, who for obvious reasons wanted no part of him. So he started a number of racist hate groups. Chillingly, he does not see himself as a terrorist, even though he is to the white-power terror groups exactly what Osama bin Laden is to al-Qaida–a key leader and financier. Rather, he views himself as the chief of an army which will at some point rise up and make war (which he also uses as an acronym for his organization) against the “New World Order” or “One World Government”, or whatever other woo-woo terms the racists like to use for anything, real or imaginary, that threatens the uniform whiteness of their insular universe. His idea is the opposite of Angela King’s–it is to nab the bright young middle-class high school kids before they get to college university (where they will be exposed to too many non-insular ideas and far too much intellectual freedom), and indoctrinate them as covert members of his “army”. From there, he hopes, they will infiltrate the armed forces, the police services, and any other place that affords power, authority, and easy access to weaponry.

Tim McVeigh was one of Metzger’s success stories, if a movement based on a twisted, doomed ideology can be said to have success stories. The Oklahoma City bombing was not, as it’s commonly painted, just one lone nut’s “payback” for the deaths at Waco and Ruby Ridge (which were also prime examples of right-wing terrorists fighting against a government they took to be evil–and far too integrationist), it was, by Metzger’s own reckoning, a racist war salvo. McVeigh was certainly clever and well prepared, with ample support from within the various right-wing “militia” movements, and even had military terrorist training under his belt (he was a veteran of Gulf War I.) But since McVeigh gave the illusion of being a “lone wolf”, in spite of his extensive and well documented contacts with the various white racist movements throughout the country, it is still seen by far too many as “just an isolated incident”. Never mind the fact that “lone” wolves are really pack animals, and that loners can and do return periodically to their pack for nurture and reinforcement. Therein lies the real danger–that the authorities will not see or recognize the “lone wolf”–and the pack behind him–until it is too late. How many more of these “isolated incidents” will there have to be before the real problem is tackled at its root?

Incidentally, there are ways and means to keep infiltrators like Metzger’s protégés from doing damage while in the police, military, etc. Those much-maligned sensitivity-training courses can actually make a difference here, if properly tailored and made absolutely mandatory. So can good, old-fashioned racial integration and affirmative action. Cops and military servicepeople from a variety of ethnic backgrounds not only can prevent the culture of their organization from becoming too insular and white (and racist), they can also help ferret out potential moles in their midst. They can also help turn the brainwashed back around; it’s awfully hard to race-bash your working partner or army buddy, when it gets right down to it. A constant, continuous humanizing program of training and accountability is needed if those in uniform are to be prevented from turning once more into the jackbooted thugs of nightmarish history.

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3 Responses to The persistent racist menace in the United States

  1. It’s a battle that needs to be fought on many fronts – from dumbass morons at the municipal level to cross-border intellectual forays like this. Rock on, sister Sabina!

  2. Cliff says:

    “Did you know that Warren G. Harding, who was president of the US during the 1920s, was actually sworn into the Ku Klux Klan while in office–using the White House Bible?”
    Almost certainly a myth based on the deathbed bragging of a klan member trying to make himself look important.
    http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/2229/was-warren-harding-inducted-into-the-kkk-while-president

  3. Cliff, thanks for that. Here’s hoping that he really wasn’t one. Not that the KKK wasn’t running more than enough of the US anyhow. And that thing about running red lights? Yikes. Talk about a licence to kill! Why anyone would award them something as absurd as that is beyond me.

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