Hate, Taught And Learned In Joplin And Elsewhere

As I watched CNN’s coverage on Sunday of yet another mass killing, it was easy to notice the immediate on-air confusion, as expressed by HuffPo:

The complications of covering a relatively small religious group (there are between 25 and 30 million Sikhs in the world) were clear on Sunday. Outlets like BuzzFeed and writers like Sunny Hundal compiled several examples of reporters struggling with the facts of the religion: a Fox News analyst asking if there had been any “anti-Semitic acts” in the past against Sikhs; CNN’s Don Lemon wondering if Sikhs have “traditional enemies,” or if the shooter had “beef with the Sikhs”; a local Wisconsin station saying that the religion is “based in northern Italy.”

I have noticed the coverage today is turning toward developing an understanding of the Sikh religion, which is often confused with that religion Americans are supposed to alternately fear and hate, Islam. Here in Joplin we likely have at least one person who acted on his fear and/or hate of Islam early this morning:

A mosque in southwest Missouri burned to the ground early Monday in the second fire to hit the Islamic center in little more than a month, officials said.

Let’s face it. The reason the now-dead thug in Wisconsin targeted a Sikh temple, and the reason someone may have burned a Joplin mosque to the ground, has little to do with religious distinctions, fine or otherwise. It has to do with cultural angst over foreignness and pigmentation, the same kind of angst exploited for political gain by Obama-haters on the right.

We don’t know who set fire to the Joplin mosque—though the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR, the group that figures prominently in Glenn Beck’s conspiratorial fantasies) is offering a $10,000 reward for help in finding and convicting the guilty party—but we do know who killed the Sikhs in Wisconsin. The Southern Poverty Law Center specializes in following American hate groups and it reported today that the killer was,

a frustrated neo-Nazi who had been the leader of a racist white-power band.

Now, before I get hammered by right-wingers playing the-left-always-blames-this-stuff-on-conservatives game, obviously the bastard that killed those folks in Wisconsin is not on a par with, say, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, who last month said about the upcoming election:

The fact that it’s not a question of whether can Mitt Romney win. The question is — the statement is, Mitt Romney has to win for the sake of the very idea of America. Mitt Romney has to win for liberty and freedom and we have to put an end to this Barack Obama presidency before it puts an end to our way of life in America.

No, issuing that kind of rhetoric, coupled with four years of right-wing suggestions and statements that Mr. Obama is not one of “us,” is not the same as gunning down innocent Sikhs or burning down Islamic centers. No one is suggesting that.

But Priebus’ appeal, as well as similar appeals by conservatives, is to the same paranoid part of the right-wing brain that, when operating at full tilt, does engineer the kind of acts we saw over this weekend, as unhinged people do terrible things to those they have learned to hate.



  1. ansonburlingame

     /  August 6, 2012

    In my view the underlying cause of mass volience, seen increasingly in America today, is simple hate. In many cases it can be further reduced to racial, ethnic or religous hate, but not always. The “gunner” in Colorado seemilngly was no in that categoy of only racial, ethnic or religous hatred. Maybe he just hated Batman viewers or something!!

    Where does all this increaseing hatred come from as evidenced by more and more mass violience or close calls to such violence?

    Look no furhter than your TV screens in my view and watch our politics in America today, from both sides of the aisle. Billy Long for example has now publicly said that he is “sick of Obama”. How far must one go to move from being “sick of ” to “hating”?

    Now do you want to read some “hate filled” polemics? Well you are on the classic local blog for such polemics in my view. Just “squash those cockroaches”, etc. No that is not an incitment to violence, but it sure can stir up the anger, extreme anger on the part of many and it does if you read the comments herein.

    We as the voting public have moved very far beyond stirring up SUPPORT for various causes. Nope, instead we stir up anger, harsh anger AGAINST various causes. And such political anger can only be a thin line between such anger and thence “hate”.

    And for you progressives all over President Bush for 8 years, don’t try to tell me it all started with the GOP against Obama in the last not quite 4 years!!!



    • You know, Anson, I am aware that you have difficulty following an argument, at least an argument on this blog. But I simply can’t let you get away with the following statement:

      Now do you want to read some “hate filled” polemics? Well you are on the classic local blog for such polemics in my view. Just “squash those cockroaches”, etc. No that is not an incitment to violence, but it sure can stir up the anger, extreme anger on the part of many and it does if you read the comments herein.

      The blog you cite was titled, “Squash ‘Em Like A Cockroach!” and, as usual, you missed the entire point of it. It was about a Baptist minister just a few miles from Fort Bragg who was going off in the pulpit about homosexuality, particularly when he uttered this hate-filled nonsense to his followers in church:

      So your little son starts to act a little girlish when he is four years old and instead of squashing that like a cockroach and saying, “Man up, son, get that dress off you and get outside and dig a ditch, because that is what boys do,” you get out the camera and you start taking pictures of Johnny acting like a female, and then you upload it to YouTube and everybody laughs about it and the next thing you know, this dude, this kid, is acting out childhood fantasies that should have been squashed!

      Can I make it any clearer? Dads, the second you see your son dropping the limp wrist, you walk over there and crack that wrist! Man up! Give him a good punch, okay? “You’re not gonna act like that. You were made by God to be a male and you are going to be a male.”

      And when your daughter starts acting too “Butch,”  you reign her in! And you say, “Oh, no! Oh, no, sweetheart. You can play sports. Play ‘em!  Play ‘em to the glory of God. But sometimes you are going to act like a girl and walk like a girl and talk like a girl and smell like a girl, and that means you are going to be beautiful, you are going to be attractive, you are going to dress yourself up!”

      You say, “Can I take charge like that as a parent?” Yeah, you can. You are authorized. I just gave you a special dispensation this morning to do that. (Laughter)

      Get it? It was the freaky pastor who thought that what he considered to be homosexual tendencies should be squashed like cockroaches, not me. The blog post was about the hate of that pastor and the Iron Age thinking, or as I put it, stupidity, that supports it. And I will tell you again, as I have told you many times before, it is not hate-filled to point out the hate speech of others. Just because I spend considerable time commenting on, say, the extreme hatred for President Obama coming from folks on your side, doesn’t mean that I am equally guilty of the same thing.

      You need to get your facts straight, Anson.


  2. You’ve got to be taught
    To hate and fear,
    You’ve got to be taught
    From year to year,
    It’s got to be drummed
    In your dear little ear
    You’ve got to be carefully taught.

    You’ve got to be taught to be afraid
    Of people whose eyes are oddly made,
    And people whose skin is a diff’rent shade,
    You’ve got to be carefully taught.

    You’ve got to be taught before it’s too late,
    Before you are six or seven or eight,
    To hate all the people your relatives hate,
    You’ve got to be carefully taught!

    – Oscar Hammerstein II, 1949


  3. Jane Reaction

     /  August 6, 2012

    Anson seems to have been carefully taught to wander all around any topic. Does the Globe have no other editorial writers?


  4. Treeske

     /  August 6, 2012

    Anson,- I can’t believe you are ignorant about the facts around W. To compare justified criticism to racism is below your intelligence!


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