News comes today that Pleasant Hill police are investigating two racially charged cases of school vandalism.
Claycord.com says that on Monday night a Mt. Diablo Unified security officer discovered that someone had damaged equipment and written racial slurs in one classroom at Gregory Gardens Elementary. Meanwhile, KTVU reports that Valley View Middle School was also a target of racist vandalism over the weekend. In the case at Valley View Middle School, according to the Mayor of Claycord, someone wrote graffiti proclaiming “White Pride,” “White Power Bitch,” “WP,” and “I love Tyler.”
These are just the latest incidents in what seems to be a disturbing trend in our community.
Martinez police are investigating the case of a teen, late last month, harassing an African-American family at the park near that town’s marina by shouting “White power!” and waving a Confederate flag in their direction.
The FBI was also investigating the discovery early last month of a “KKK-style cross” left in the driveway of a Moraga home. News reports say the home belongs to a white couple whose son was visiting over the weekend with his African-American wife. According to the blogger, the East Bay Daze, the 3-foot-tall object was a “fairly sophisticated rendering of the klan’s ‘flaming cross’–with this one wrapped in t-shirts and the KKK insignia.
So, what’s going on? As I wrote back after the discovery of the KKK-style cross in Moraga, I can’t help but wonder if these incidents are part of something very dark going on in our society, in the wake of the United States electing its first non-white president nearly a year ago.
I’m not alone in wondering—and worrying. Remember all the fuss about President Obama’s speech to school children last month? Well, around that time, KGO Radio host Brian Copeland, on his Sunday morning show, was expressing alarm at the hysteria surrounding the speech. He contended this hysteria represented a growing atmosphere of hate and racism in our society–sparked by some people’s resentment about a black man being in office.
Copeland noted the nastiness, anger, and resentment in rhetoric behind the birther movement, the town hall shout-downs, and people showing up at Obama appearances armed with guns. Copeland also said there had been an increase in the number of threats against the president’s life.
Is this something we should tolerate in our community? Absolutely not. Does anyone have any ideas about what we should do about it? Identifying and prosecuting the promoters of hate speech? Sure. And what about talking to our kids?