Colleen Redman over at Loose Leaf Notes reports overhearing this exchange at the Floyd Post Office:

Animated Woman: If Obama is president the black people are gonna take over. They’ll line us white people up and shoot us.

Postal Clerk: I think you should go home and go back to bed so you can wake up again.

Good God. We hoped that kind of red-neck ignorance had long vanished from the landscape but apparently it hasn’t. When Hillary Clinton surrogates like former vice presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro and Philadelphia Governor Ed Rendell offer up racist comments as part of a choreographed campaign of fear mongering it is little wonder that ignorant comments like the one Colleen overheard at the post office still exist in our society.

 Racism has long found its roots in the ignorant who fear what they don’t understand and manifest that fear in hatred towards others.

It does not belong in Floyd County, it does not belong in Virginia, it does not belong in America and it certainly does not belong in our political system.

35 COMMENTS

  1. I agree with you wholeheartedly Will. I don’t think people are stupid, just uninformed (or more likely, misinformed). The great majority of our friends and neighbors are really nice folks, it’s just that some have not had the benefit of getting to know a whole lot of people that (at first glance) aren’t just like them.

    We really need to carry this conversation out of the blogs and coffee shops and into the streets, school board, council and supervisor meetings. Once people find out that their worst fears (and I believe that hatred, bigotry and prejudice are all rooted in fear) simply vaporize in the wake of friendly communication and familiarity with other people, they will all be able to relax and enjoy life a little more (with a whole bunch of new friends too).

  2. This presents a great teaching moment for the Obama supporters in the community. If our ignorant hillbilly brethren were ever to join hands with other aggrieved and dismissed people – like African-Americans, they could together become a powerful coalition for change in America. Living in fear and anger is no way to go through life, or build a great nation.

    And Zach, since you found your way onto the internet (and here), you should also be able to find your way to the fact that Obama is a long-time member of the Church of Christ, attended several elementary church schools overseas, none of them a “radical muslim school”. You need to quit making excuses for your prejudice.

  3. I typically do not post ever. This string though has me concerned.

    We recently moved here from an extremely multicultural community next to NYC. My daughters couldn’t understand till we moved to Floyd that they weren’t Jewish. We still recognize and respect (acknowledge) most Jewish holidays as well as Kwanza, Catholic holidays, Rashashana, Diwali and a host of others. We celebrate diversity everyday in our household. What surprises me most about people in Floyd is that they still don’t realize they are the minorities now. Country folks, white Protestants, rednecks, etc… are the minorities. I feel that it is up to the few of us who understand that in America today, there is no majority race or ethnic group. We have to value diversity in order to survive in this global world – not continue to live in a glass bubble that was built in the 50’s. So what if Barack Obama is Muslim. I have some very good friends who are Muslim. It is a peaceful religion and its basic principals in life are the exact same ass Christianity and Judaism. Maybe that will lend him a different point of view to tackle the multitude of hard issues our country faces. It is up to you as productive, informed voting citizens to learn about the issues that face us. Not bask in the comfort of preconceived ideas with no hard knowledge. The state of our nation is not good at all right now. Globally we have lost our competitive edge. Financiers and business leaders of the world are not looking to American business as the global leaders any more. They are looking to what those narrow minded people in Floyd like the person at the post office would call third world countries. Those are the people, who are called minorities by some here, that are the new world leaders! Those are the people that we must learn to understand, that we must learn to take orders from the new world. Not the other way around. I would hate to think that we moved here and this is the majority opinion or cultural base in Floyd. I must say – that I have not come into contact with anyone thus far who I would say believes in this type of cancerous ideology.

    My concern about Obama is his lack of experience. Then I look to our birth as a nation and none of our founding fathers had any experience. In fact George Washington hadn’t even seen a war battlefield front line as a commanding officer until the revolutionary war. He had no political experience. And my favorite founding father Alexander Hamilton, had never run his own company or been schooled formally in finance before becoming Secretary of the Treasury and creating our financial systems of today.

  4. Floyd is probably the “whitest” place I’ve ever been. The fact that there are so few minorities here (especially African-Americans) is largely to blame for the unenlightened views on racial issues some in the county have. Experience has taught me that if people never talk to those of different races or religions they tend to believe the worst.

    I also NEVER underestimate the gullibility of folks when it comes to political stuff. People who think Iraq/Saddam were responsible for the WTC attacks (around 50% of the U.S. population) are easy marks for those selling the “Obama is a muslim” or “He won’t stand for the pledge/national anthem” garbage.

  5. Some are surprised to see racial comments. How can you be? Statistics show that much of Obama’s success comes from the black community, and much of Clinton’s support comes from women. Don’t most naturally associate with people of their own characteristics to the point that they often supersede the actual issues? Should we watch what we say though it betrays our actions?

    Just look at any comedian of color and compare their comments to the alleged postal incident and you’ll see more aggressive racial statements made. Where’s the discussion or outrage? So far, PC attitudes seem to be on a one-way street.

    I understand what Zach is saying. He’s concerned about any politician who considers Farakan a friend and supporter.

  6. Obama does NOT befriend Farrakhan. He does NOT agree with Farrakhan in any way. This is known knowledge so please do not post comments unless you know what you are talking about.

  7. If it were one incident, okay….maybe. But there seems to be a pattern from his wife’s comments on her not being proud of America to Farrakhan and along to Wright which is beginning to produce an unpretty picture of extremism. It’s hard to win an election when anyone strays too far from center. I’m interested to see how it plays out.

  8. I don’t have a problem with Mrs. Obama expressing her concern about this country’s image. For the record, I am proud of America as a land; I am proud of the United States as a democratic republic; I am proud of America the diverse people that somehow manage to get along well enough to hold it all together. I am not proud of America the headquarters of the world’s most powerful corporate bullies, manipulator of world politics for profit, invader of sovereign nations, overthrower of governments, preserver of institutionalized bigotry and prejudice and torturer of human beings. In our fear and desperation to maintain global domination and feed our insatiable desire to consume, we have surrendered the moral high ground (if we ever occupied it to begin with).

    It’s high time that we begin to see ourselves as world citizens, take responsibility for our actions and consider the formation of a World Federation to govern this rock on which we’re all hurdling through space. This is not a sport in which you must have a loser in order to be the winner. This is our physical reality in which the options are A) Evolutionary Success or B) Extinction. Which do you want for your grandchildren?

  9. I would like to expand on the subject of sub-prime loans after “Jim’s” comment about “individual responsibility”.

    In order to pursue my chosen profession, I am required to have a Virginia real estate license. Also, whenever I am a party to a real estate contract or any real estate related contract, I am required by law to disclose that fact. This is based on the presumption that I, as a real estate professional, have knowledge of the subject that exceeds that of the average consumer. My license is a public trust. If I violate that trust (even after disclosing my licensed status) by taking unfair advantage of a “responsible individual”, I can (and should) be sued. Some violations carry no monetary limit on the damages that can be awarded in a civil court.

    Banks and other financial institutions are similarly regulated and therefore SHOULD also be keepers of a public trust. They do not have the right to dupe “responsible individuals” using the advantage of superior knowledge. An industry operating with the permission of the government cannot just say “caveat emptor.”

    In this specific case, I would like to give you a quote from former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer who, regardless of his own character defects, did try to protect the citizens of New York from unscrupulous lending practices:

    “Several years ago, state attorneys general and others involved in consumer protection began to notice a marked increase in a range of predatory lending practices by mortgage lenders. Some were misrepresenting the terms of loans, making loans without regard to consumers’ ability to repay, making loans with deceptive “teaser” rates that later ballooned astronomically, packing loans with undisclosed charges and fees, or even paying illegal kickbacks. These and other practices, we noticed, were having a devastating effect on home buyers. In addition, the widespread nature of these practices, if left unchecked, threatened our financial markets.”

    And as for the Bush administration’s “fault” he said:

    “Even though predatory lending was becoming a national problem, the Bush administration looked the other way and did nothing to protect American homeowners. In fact, the government chose instead to align itself with the banks that were victimizing consumers.”

    Now, under the current administration, some of these lenders are getting “bailed out” but the individuals that were suckered by predatory lenders have lost their houses permanently and suffered long-term damage to their credit.

    In my end of the business, that would be illegal, as I’m sure it would be in the lending business if it were not for this (Spitzer again):

    “In 2003, during the height of the predatory lending crisis, the OCC (Office of the Comptroller of the Currency) invoked a clause from the 1863 National Bank Act to issue formal opinions preempting all state predatory lending laws, thereby rendering them inoperative. The OCC also promulgated new rules that prevented states from enforcing any of their own consumer protection laws against national banks. The federal government’s actions were so egregious and so unprecedented that all 50 state attorneys general, and all 50 state banking superintendents, actively fought the new rules.

    But the unanimous opposition of the 50 states did not deter, or even slow, the Bush administration in its goal of protecting the banks. In fact, when my office opened an investigation of possible discrimination in mortgage lending by a number of banks, the OCC filed a federal lawsuit to stop the investigation.”

    So that’s why the concept of “individual responsibility” does not and cannot imply that a reasonably intelligent citizen is on a level playing field. The weight of the entire federal government has a tendency tip the balance a wee bit. Please be aware that I generally speak of “the administration” as I don’t believe for a moment that this president has the intelligence or presence of mind to concoct such devious schemes on his own. So in that sense at least, I’m not saying it’s “Bush’s fault”.

    I’m sure if asked, Doug would be glad to post the entire article or a link to it (it may already be on Capitol Hill Blue). Doug: please accept my apology for hijacking your blog!

  10. It’s OK to have differing viewpoints. I personally believe that Obama’s relationships with marginal elements, however tenuous or insincere, will become an issue big enough to cost him an election. It’s one thing to have risk overseas, but quite another to have domestic social unrest.

    I had trouble following the other points about corporate America, etc. Corporate America provides employment, wages, retirement accounts, pensions, goods & services, and pays enough taxes to cover America’s arguably over-extended entitlements. They are useful enities given a system of “proper” checks and balances.

    Again, I don’t follow the “we are all winners” logic. I have 2 children, one of which enjoys playing games and another which only enjoys knowing that he won. I try and explain that we cannot always win and that it is okay to lose some, but that he should never give up. I can’t imagine what would motivate an individual to move their behind if it were not for the promise of some reward, material or principle-based.

    This reminds me of the HBO special on John Adams where he argued that the Continental Congress had to be all for Revolution or not at all as they would fail if they all grappled for the unattainable middle. So, I will not instruct my children to search for the middle where there are no losers and winners, only the cry for enforcement of level playing fields resulting in some redistribution of rewards. No, I will tell them that we are all connected, but that the unit of that connection is primarily effort, struggle, and competition.

    Lastly, and I don’t know how we got onto all of this, but anyone who deludes themselves into thinking that America or any other nation has the moral high ground is misguided in my opinion. I actually believe that searching for this mythical high ground will end our nation’s success.

  11. You’re right, you’re having trouble following it– and that’s OK too. As Eckhart Tolle is fond of saying, “If you don’t get it, you may not be ready. When you’ve suffered enough, you will.”

    The corporate entity was created as an “artificial person” for the sake of business and in many ways, that was a good idea. The problem is that this “person” has no conscience, no soul; it is guided by the bottom line. Like an animal, it seeks to survive and out-compete– to win at any cost. After a couple of centuries of this, we are finding the cost too high in terms of human suffering and environmental destruction. Yes, we can control it, but we’ll have to make that effort. We can’t bomb people and overthrow governments and rape the environment just because it’s good for this quarter’s balance sheet. We are now finding out that while that worked in the past (not well, but good enough) it isn’t going to work in the future. Too many people are catching on. Our karmic debt is overtaking us; foreclosure is breathing down our necks.

    Benefits? Pensions? Ever heard of a little company called Enron? Talk to those folks. Even today the complicit administration is bailing out banks, but the poor saps that got sucked into sub-prime loans don’t get their houses back. That would eat into the twenty million dollar CEO bonus. The governor of New York (despite his character flaws) tried to stand up for the little guys who were losing their houses. He then found out what the Patriot Act and domestic spying is really about. Speaking of executives, do you really beleive that a CEO deserves to make 600 to 900 times what his employee makes? How much is enough? Incentives-good, profit from one’s labor–good, loss of a middle class and economic stratification of society into the mega-rich and the poorest of poor–bad idea.

    Can we all be winners? Sure we can. It’s called unity– oneness. Our true nature wins over our thought-constructed ego critter. It’s what all the religious prophets have been trying to tell us over the last few millenia. All we have to do is wake up. Do I get it? Nah– but I’m starting to understand a little bit more every day. You’re probably scratching your head over most of what I just said. You’ll get it when you’re ready. Everyone will.

  12. I don’t believe I will ever “get it”. My limited mind is having a hard time focusing on the ever-expanding allegations and inconveniences of “bad vibes” that result from … life. Oneness? I’m going to feed my family, let alone my soul on oneness? Do I smell a pungent weed, picture long hair, and a lack of personal hygiene combined with a pulpit of new age tauism here?

    Tune in, turn on, and drop out of a system responsible for a standard of living and freedom that has surpassed any in the history of mankind? No way dude. There’s a fire in me that says the “have nots” can be the “haves” only in a system that rewards individual effort over collective redistribution.

    Enron? A company that in the scheme of corporate America represents a statistic so far out in the statistical tail as to be irrelevant. Ever heard of Sorbannes-Oxley? Oh corporate America has its problems for certain, but America won’t throw the baby out with the bath water.

    And what ever happened to individual responsibility? You know, the kind where you take out a loan with a legitimate intent to repay it? In a world with no winners and losers, where there’s just oneness, then I guess there is no responsibility. The moral hazard lies with those that fail to honor their contracts and get relief at the honest people’s wealth.

    CEO pay is a tough one. It follows a winner-take-all strategy. Did Michael Jordan deserve his comp as a professional athlete? Economics says yes as without him basketball would have been that much less valuable. Similarly, if a CEO makes the right decisions and earns $2 Billion that otherwise would not have existed, then he/she may deserve 1% or $20 Million. I do have a problem with CEO’s getting rewarded regardless of performance, certain golden parachutes, etc.

    Oh wait, I get it now – it’s all Bush’s fault. Please…

  13. That’s a very telling response and it explains a number of things that you have said on this thread and others. I rest my case. Peace…

  14. This thread has drifted so far off topic you couldn’t find your way back with a GPS. It’s closed.

  15. Aw Doug, just when it was completely losing touch with reality!

    Peace and other good things to you!

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