The Common Good

Hate Crimes, Racist Incidents Escalate After Obama's Election

A family's pro-Obama banner was wrapped around a cross and burned in their front yard.

According to Associated Press writer Jesse Washington, after Obama's election incidents of race based hate crimes escalated across the country. I guess, no matter the rhetoric of some commentators, we really aren't living in a post-racial country. According to Washington some such crimes, totaling in the "hundreds," have been:

  • Mangled Obama signs and pizza boxes filled with human feces left at a woman's front door in Snellville, Georgia. That woman's 9-year-old niece was told, "I hope Obama gets assassinated," while riding the bus to school.
  • Grant Griffin, a 46-year-old white man from Georgia, said, " If you had real change it would involve all the members of (Obama's) church being deported."
  • Crosses burned in the front yards of Obama supporters and racial epithets left on their cars.
  • One supporter received a note on his car that said, "Now that you voted for Obama, just watch out for your house."
  • Second and third grade students chanted "assassinate Obama" while riding the bus to school.
  • Swastikas and racial slurs have been spray painted on cars, schools, skate parks, sidewalks, and homes in New York, Texas, and California.
  • A sign outside a general store in Maine says it is running the "Osama Obama Shotgun Pool." People can place $1 bets on the date Obama will be assassinated. The bottom of the sign reads, "Let's hope someone wins."
  • Black figures have been hung in nooses in Maine and Texas. There was also a figure of Obama hung in effigy at a Christian college in Oregon before the election took place.
  • One black teenager was beaten with a bat in New York the night of the election by four white men shouting, "Obama!"
  • Death threats are being sent to President-elect Obama at a rate higher than for any other president-elect.

In light of this, I am calling on all white Christians to publicly speak out and denounce all such racist attacks. The church can not remain silent in the face of such sin. To do so would be to be complicit with it. I know many Christians voted against President-elect Obama, but this type of behavior is indefensible. I was honored to preach the Sunday after Obama was elected at an African-American congregation. To share in their history that Sunday was a gift I will always cherish. However, it seems others are sharing in another part of America's history. One that is not as glorious, but one that we know Americans have the potential of living. There was once a time when many churches remained silent as racism openly ravaged our country. Let's make sure today is not one of those days.

Jimmy McCartyJimmy McCarty is a student at Claremont School of Theology studying Christian ethics, a minister serving cross-racially at a church in inner-city Los Angeles, and a servant at a homeless shelter five days a week. He blogs at http://jimmymccarty.wordpress.com/.

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