The serious hatin’ on Barack Obama is in full force among racists in cyberspace and has spread to countless computers in homes across America.
Since Obama defeated Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary last month, clinched the Democratic presidential nomination and could become America’s first black president in November, racist groups, white supremacy organizations, neo-nazis and skinheads have all increased their activity on the Internet and stepped up their hateful online denunciations of Obama.
It’s a hate experts say is now reaching a fever pitch.
“I haven’t seen this much anger in a long, long time,” Billy Roper, a 36-year-old who runs a group called White Revolution in Russellville, Arkansas, told The Washington Post. “Nothing has awakened normally complacent white Americans more than the prospect of America having an overtly non-white president.”
Stormfront.org, for example, is a website launched the site in 1995 by a former Ku Klux Klan leader, Don Black, to promote white empowerment out of his house. Its website boasts the words: “White Pride World Wide.”
“A site that drew a few thousand visitors per day in 2002 has expanded into Black’s full-time job, attracting more than 40,000 unique users each day who can post on 54 different message boards,” the Post reported.
Bill Murrain, an Atlanta lawyer specializing in health care and education who began his career as a civil rights attorney, said he just returned from visiting the civil war monument to African-American soldiers and the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. with his sons.
“They remind me that as a people, we have not and could not permit ourselves to be paralyzed by fear of what others threaten or can do to us. We would still be on the plantation,” Murrain told BlackAmericaWeb.com.
“As a nation, we should not permit ourselves to be paralyzed by our basest fears,” Murrain said. “We must be prepared to stand for something, to stand for our values, not to cower in fear or to permit the lowliest amongst us to frighten us so that we forsake all of our highest sense of moral value and of the difference between that which is right or wrong in order to succumb to our basest fears.”
“We surround Barack Obama in prayer. And the Secret Service,” he added.
According to some experts, Obama will need plenty of both, as his unprecedented candidacy has sparked a resurgence among race mongers across the country.
“I get non-stop e-mails and private messages from new people who are mad as hell about the possibility of Obama being elected,” Black told the Post.
Some offerings from loyalists of Stormfront.org:
“How did this scumbag even get nominated?” wrote one reader. “And the sheep follow him so blindly! This should be front page news, and Barack needs to be toasted.”
“As I told my co-workers if Obama gets in the White House, the major cities will burn,” wrote another white supremacist.
For his part, Obama has spoken about race on occasion but plays down his race as a reason for voters to embrace him. He has talked about his multi-cultural heritage from the perspective of an American who is also half-white.
The half-white part of Obama’s lineage seems lost on those posting comments on sites like Stormfront because they view Obama as inferior. “Blacks can never reach their full potential,” wrote one reader.
Some black Democrats say racists will not deter black voters from helping to elect Obama as the nation’s first black president.
Craig Kirby, a Democratic political strategist, said it’s a proud but sometimes unsettling time in America’s history.
“Obama’s campaign has awakened lots of people, many who had hope that both America and the culture of America could and would change,” Kirby told BlackAmericaWeb.com.
“There are other folks in America who are hell-bent on America never growing, never reaching it’s potential from the strength of our diversity,” he said. “There are the many groups that seem to be rearing their ugly head.”
And aides to Obama said they will counter all rhetoric from racists.
“The Obama campaign isn’t going to let dishonest smears spread across the Internet unanswered,” Obama spokesman Tommy Vietor said in a statement. “We have to be proactive and fight back.”
The resurgence of hate groups comes as a new poll by The Washington Post-ABC News shows that nearly half of all Americans say race relations in the country are in bad shape and three in 10 acknowledge feelings of racial prejudice.
“Many think Obama has the potential to transform current racial politics. Nearly six in 10 believe his candidacy will shake up the racial status quo, for better or worse. And by nearly three to one, those who think Obama’s candidacy will affect race relations said it will have a positive impact,” the newspaper reported.
“African-Americans are much more optimistic than whites on this score: Sixty percent said Obama’s candidacy will do more to help race relations, compared with 38 percent of whites. Two-thirds of those supporting him for president think it will improve the situation,” the poll showed.
“For black voters,” Kirby said, ” it allows us to take a good look at how far we have come — and how far we yet have to travel.”
About Michael H. Cottman