"At many Inland Empire high schools, racial conflicts arise when large numbers of incoming black and Hispanic students accustomed to urban environments undergo a clash of cultures with their new white classmates in semi-rural locales like Norco, a city of about 24,000 located 50 miles southeast of Los Angeles that still calls itself "Horse Town usa." Norco's official Web site plays "Ghost Riders in the Sky" as theme music, greets visitors with "Howdy, Partner!" and proclaims, "We are dedicated to providing a high quality of life while keeping our rural lifestyle." City jobs are listed under the header, "Cow Hands Wanted."
At Norco High School, two black female students who sat for lunch at a table in the shade that a group of white students told them was designated "Whites Only" last September were hit in the face with burritos and then punched in the face by two white males. A few days later, a group of white students beat another black student unconscious. Racist graffiti appeared on the school's walls. Yet another black student found song lyrics about shooting blacks placed on her desk.
"People of color move their families out here because they can get a house for the price of an apartment in the big cities on the coast, and because they think it's safer out here than the neighborhoods they can afford there. But a lot of times they get here and they find a different kind of danger, a different kind of tension," said Lorraine Watts, president of the NAACP in Lake Elsinore. "Truth is, they have second thoughts once they're here, and if they could afford housing elsewhere, a lot of them would leave." "
This is from a story by the Southern Poverty Law Center Intelligence Report.
The Lake Elsinore assault took place 10 months after a comparable hate crime at a high school in Murietta Valley, a similarly sized, practically identical city that's just a short drive south on Interstate 15. In that case, a black basketball player at Murietta Valley High School was violently fouled by a white opponent in a game during which white fans yelled racial slurs from the stands. The next day, two white students attacked the ball player outside the high school principal's office, severely beating him while yelling more racial slurs. The attackers, then aged 14 and 17, pleaded guilty to assault and making racial threats, and served short sentences in a juvenile detention center.
Of course, people who point things like this out are just elitist liberals who have a grudge against rural residents and against the South, right?
People will talk about how the exploitation of these people needs to be taken into account, etc... but when are we going to apply standards of responsability to them?
When people from the dominant ethnic group beat the shit out of people who are different races and ethnicities, why is there a move to try to explain it away? No such thing is given to blacks and hispanics who commit crimes; no, for whites, every explanation and exhonerating idea is put forward. It's like people think there's really no such thing as white supremacy, or that white supremacists can't be working class, or if they are, that they're misunderstood.
There's a fundamental difference between reaching out to people who belong to the other side of the liberal/conservative divide and trying to convince them to switch sides and tolerating hard core neo nazis and racists because they happen to be working class.
Work is only possible if there are valid reasons to do the work. I think that despite the posturing by people on Fox news about liberals that there is a grain of truth in the idea that liberals have cut themselves off from the concerns of regular people and don't know how to communicate their ideals to them effectively anymore. That's a failing which can be remedied, which can be the basis of new efforts on outreach, because there's a fundamental error at the bottom of it. For people who are hardcore neo-nazis I don't see where the misunderstanding is, to be blunt about it.
With trying to reason with people and expand the liberal/left support base I'm not quite to the level Ted Rall is at yet, which is to say given up on it totally, declared that people who supported Bush are idiots completely, but you know, I'm thinking about it.
There seem to be two camps, which more and more are hardened: those who buy into the Bush regime and those that don't. The war is becoming increasingly unpopular, and this is a good thing, but how long will this last?
When it comes down to it, this might be a case of irreconcilable differences.