Hate Often Wears Mask Of Respectability


November 27, 1991|By Russ Mullaly

I'm getting real sick of this resurgence of hate groups and of individuals who espouse hate under the disguise of respectability.

I'm talking about David Duke, a certain presidential campaign, the Ku Klux Klan's forays into Howard County in search of new members and now the distribution of a hate-filled newspaper in Columbia.

Some of this hatred has been camouflaged by the use of "code words" to make it appear to be mainstream right-wing political rhetoric. But anyone with intelligence can see right through it.

Thankfully,the people of Louisiana chose to see David Duke and his platform forwhat they really stood for. But this sort of thing is far from over,with another presidential election coming up soon. One wonders how dirty and hateful this next one will be, following the race-oriented, Willie Horton-related tactics of the last.

Then there is the othertype of hate or racism -- the overt type practiced by the white supremacists, the KKK, the Nazis, the skinheads and their ilk. These folks are popping up again all over the place. You'd think it was the '50s or earlier.

I heard recently on a radio show a tape that had been recorded from a KKK phone hot line. Can you believe it? This tape had the voice of one of the more ignorant-sounding people I have ever heard, spouting the most crude, racist comments. It was liberally sprinkled with racial epithets as well. And people pay to listen to thisgarbage!

Closer to home, I'm sure everybody has heard by now about the appearance, on 50 or so lawns in a neighborhood in Columbia, ofa newspaper titled Racial Loyalty. This paper, published by the Church of the Creator, in Otto, N.C., (but with an Ellicott City post office box number), seems to hate everyone except certain whites.

This "church" and its members feel threatened by blacks, Jews, Christians and what they call "mud races." This alleged church's "religion" isthe "worship of white people." They also have an IRS exemption for being a church, yet! These people have a history of using violence to prove their points, as well.

The leader of this "church," Ben Klassen, founded it because he was disappointed by George Wallace, neo-Nazis and the John Birch Society. He called Adolf Hitler the "greatest white man."

What I find difficult to understand is their motivation in leaving copies of their newspaper in Columbia, an integrated community. Did they do it because Columbia is integrated, or was it justignorance or happenstance on their part?

This renewal of overt bigotry and prejudice can be traced back to the beginnings of the Reagan administration, when the government chose to look the other way or gave subtle support to making discrimination "respectable."

This was done by the gutting of certain agencies which look out for the rights of minorities. This could be further seen by the appointment of questionable individuals to head these agencies.

Howard County has not been immune from acts of racism and bigotry. Churches have been damaged. Things have been defaced by swastikas. Hate literature has been distributed.

Even more disturbing is this trend toward making bigots appear respectable. Just take the case of David Duke. I'm sure there are more just like him out there looking to seek political office. I read this past week that there is some kind of training school that will clean up racists and bigots and teach them the correct way to speak so they can come off as mainstream politicians.

We need to be able to identify these code words and know who these people are.We need to speak out against the hate-mongers and reject their philosophies which place blame on certain groups for our country's problems. We need to make it known that we don't think racist jokes are appropriate. By saying nothing, you help to promote racism.

This country has worked too hard and lost too many lives to get where we are inpromoting civil rights to have us return to the bad old times when prejudice, overt or subtle, was "acceptable."

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