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The Riots Next Time? Racial Violence Looms If Barack Obama Loses—Or Wins
"I seriously think certain segments of American political life will become completely unhinged. I can imagine the fear of this social unraveling actually aiding Obama enormously in 2008."
We all know, of course, just which "segments of American political life" Goldberg is referring to so coyly. This "social unraveling" really means race riots.
In Salon.com, Glenn Greenwald immediately criticized Goldberg for making such an (allegedly) racist observation. And to my knowledge, Goldberg has not repeated it since. But it is an important question and Jonah Goldberg deserves credit for raising it, however gingerly.
In the same post, Goldberg further warned us that if Barack Obama loses the presidential election "teeth shall be gnashed, clothes rent, and prices paid".
I am not really sure what Goldberg meant by this. But I certainly agree that the outcome might very well be dangerous—most especially, for whites.
How dangerous? Consider one of the more serious race riots of the last decade: the Cincinnati Riots of 2001.
In April, 2001, 19-year old Timothy Thomas led a dozen police officers on a long, late-night chase through the dangerous "Over-the-Rhine" section of Cincinnati. One officer eventually intercepted Thomas, suddenly confronting him face to face in an alley. Thomas then apparently tried to pull up his sagging pants. The officer believed he was reaching for a weapon. He fired once, killing Thomas, who turned out to be unarmed.
Timothy Thomas was the 15th black male to die while in confrontation with the Cincinnati police in six years. Soon Cincinnati's black leaders began to repeat the cry of "15 Black Men" over and over again—a cry that was quickly picked up and parroted by a compliant media.
This, despite the fact that most of these black men were extremely violent criminals—one murdered a teenage girl with an axe and another shot a female police officer, then carjacked her cruiser. In fact, ten of the Cincinnati 15 had pointed or fired guns at police officers during their fatal attempts to resist arrest. Two others tried to run over officers with their cars.
These facts did not matter to Cincinnati's black leaders, some of whom had already filed a racial-profiling lawsuit against the city's police department. Norma Holt Davis of the NAACP announced that Thomas's death was just more proof that "the police force has declared war on African-Americans."
Two days after Thomas's death, a heated throng of black activists forced their way into a City Council meeting with the usual demands for "justice". The protest quickly grew into a crowd of over 1,000 black men, women, and even children. They eventually poured out of Cincinnati City Hall, then marched down to police headquarters, shouting angry demands to meet with the Chief of Police. Some even took pictures of the officers guarding the entrance to the police station, taunting them with promises of future retribution. [What Really Happened in Cincinnati, By Heather Mac Donald, City Journal, Summer 2001]
Anger would only increase over the next three days. hordes of black males rampaged through the city targeting whites and white-owned establishments. Storefront windows were smashed in and their goods looted, parked cars were trashed, vending machines were overturned. Rioters also torched an outdoor market, a police substation and dragged several dumpsters into the middle of the street and set them ablaze.
"It was a night of white terror" said one Cincinnati business owner. Blacks heaved bricks through the windows of passing white motorists, and pulled white men and women from their vehicles and pummeled them. Some indiscriminately fired gunshots into the air, and very often, at white police officers.
Unfortunately, such instances of mass racial violence are not unusual. Many Americans do not realize how often they occur because the MainStream Media either glosses over such events or ignores them altogether. CNN, for example, initially described the Cincinnati Riots as mere "disturbances" committed by "protesters".
- Most people outside of New York have never heard of the Crown Heights Riots of 1991, where for three days black mobs looted stores, vandalized property, and brutalized whites, specifically Jews—culminating in the death of 29 year old Yankel Rosenbaum, who suffered multiple stab wounds and a crushed skull.
- Few Americans remember the Seattle Mardi Gras Riots of 2001, where gangs of young black men (and women) clobbered whites at random, including twenty year old Kristopher Kime who was hit over the head with a broken bottle then stomped to death for coming to the aid of a badly beaten white woman.
Given this proclivity to mass racial violence, it seems reasonable to ask, then, if riots will break out around Election Day—not simply because Barack Obama is the nominee, but because so many members of the black underclass fervently support him.
Rapper Snoop Dog recently told Newsweek: "People that I know that have never cared about politics are registering to vote this time: gang members, ex-cons, you name it. I hate to see a lot of that hope go down the drain, and if [Obama] loses, it will."
In a recent column well-worth reading, Dennis Prager warned that "the deep emotional connection that nearly every black American has to an Obama victory is difficult for even empathetic non-blacks to measure". [Liberals' Warnings About Obama Loss May Prove Self-Fulfilling, September 23, 2008]
Yes, white liberals are attached to Obama too, but only superficially. After Election Day, they can sip their lattes with a clean conscience knowing that they voted for a black man for President, then go on with life as usual.
For black Americans, however, Barack Obama is far more than a cause célèbre. Their attachment, as Prager suggests, is something far deeper, and far more disturbing.
This emotional connection is perhaps best illustrated in a video taken at a charter school in Kansas City, Missouri and posted on Youtube [link]. In the video, about a dozen black teenagers dressed in military fatigues parade and chant about how Barack Obama has inspired them to be the next architect, doctor and so on.
It is clear from the stony stares of these boys that Obama does not so much inspire their admiration as reinforce their anger. How do you expect they will react if Obama loses the election?
White liberals have convinced themselves that Barack Obama is one of them, or nearly so, because of his articulate English and elite education. What would an Ivy League educated, half-white man from Hawaii have in common with incendiary black leaders like Louis Farrakhan?
Quite a bit, actually. Obama's spiritual mentor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, is a good friend of Louis Farrakhan and even accompanied him to Libya to meet with General Muammar Gaddaffi in 1984. And in 1995, Barack Obama himself flew from Chicago to Washington, D.C. to attend Farrakhan's Million Man March. He described the march then as "a powerful demonstration of an impulse and need for African-American men to come together to recognize each other and affirm our rightful place in the society".
The unsettling truth is that Barack Obama is not some bridge between black and white, but a man who is obsessed with the perceived injustice of growing up black in a white-run world. In Dreams from My Father, Obama writes of how, as a teenager, he would closet himself in his room and absorb the works of black radicals like W.E.B. DuBois and Malcolm X, withdrawing "into a smaller and smaller coil of rage".
Indeed, the one idea Obama most identified with then was Malcolm X's wish that "the white blood that ran through him, there by an act of violence, might somehow be expunged".
It does not seem to matter to Barack Obama that the white blood that runs through him is not there by an act of violence, but by an act of marriage. Or that he has never personally experienced any of the injustices we typically associate with black Americans.
Clearly, Barack Obama has far more in common with the angry young black men who are devoted to his candidacy than most Americans realize.
Moreover, Obama has been leading in the polls for many weeks. His supporters are psychologically prepared for his victory. So if he is ultimately defeated, then it would appear to be because a significant number of white voters switched to John McCain at the last minute. When that happens, expect the pundit class to make many gloating remarks about the "Bradley Effect" and how bigoted American voters will just never elect a black candidate.
Even Obama supporters have begun to admit violence is likely if Obama loses. On CNN, James Carville recently hinted at riots, saying that if Obama loses, "it would be very, very dramatic out there".
And Philadelphia Daily News columnist Fatima Ali, a fervent Obama supporter, recently wrote that
"If McCain wins, look for a full-fledged race and class war, fueled by a deflated and depressed country, soaring crime, homelessness—and hopelessness." [We need Obama, not 4 more years of George Bush, September 2, 2008]
Many urban police departments are making special preparations in the event of Election Day unrest, including Cincinnati, Chicago, Philadelphia and Detroit. The Oakland Police Department has announced that they will deploy riot control units on November 4th and have a SWAT team on standby. [Police prepare for unrest, TheHill.com, By Alexander Bolton, October 21, 2008]
Significantly, police fear violence not only if Barack Obama loses—but even if he wins. That is because blacks have a history of violence in victory, especially after sporting events. For example, riots of varying size often coincide with the conclusion of the NBA Finals, most notably in Detroit after the Pistons won the 1990 title. Seven people died during the "celebrations".
Some will call it bigoted to prepare ourselves for post-election race riots. But given recent history, it's all too possible that if Barack Obama loses the presidential election, a large number of black Americans just might become unhinged.
Matthew Richer (email him) is a writer living in Massachusetts. He is the former American Editor of Right NOW magazine.