Despite the milestone represented by the election of America's first African-American president, the ugly specter of racism is still all too prevalent throughout the country. Mark Potok, director of the Intelligence Project at the Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors hate crimes, said that there have been hundreds of racist incidents since Barak Obama's electoral victory. As reported by the AP, here are some of them:
• Four North Carolina State University students admitted writing anti-Obama comments in a tunnel designated for free speech expression, including one that said: "Let's shoot that (N-word) in the head." Obama has received more threats than any other president-elect, authorities say.
• At Standish, Maine, a sign inside the Oak Hill General Store read: "Osama Obama Shotgun Pool." Customers could sign up to bet $1 on a date when Obama would be killed. "Stabbing, shooting, roadside bombs, they all count," the sign said. At the bottom of the marker board was written "Let's hope someone wins."
• Racist graffiti was found in places including New York's Long Island, where two dozen cars were spray-painted; Kilgore, Texas, where the local high school and skate park were defaced; and the Los Angeles area, where swastikas, racial slurs and "Go Back To Africa" were spray painted on sidewalks, houses and cars.
• Second- and third-grade students on a school bus in Rexburg, Idaho, chanted "assassinate Obama," a district official said.
• University of Alabama professor Marsha L. Houston said a poster of the Obama family was ripped off her office door. A replacement poster was defaced with a death threat and a racial slur. "It seems the election brought the racist rats out of the woodwork," Houston said.
• Black figures were hanged by nooses from trees on Mount Desert Island, Maine, the Bangor Daily News reported. The president of Baylor University in Waco, Texas said a rope found hanging from a campus tree was apparently an abandoned swing and not a noose.
• Crosses were burned in yards of Obama supporters in Hardwick, N.J., and Apolacan Township, Pa.
• A black teenager in New York City said he was attacked with a bat on election night by four white men who shouted 'Obama.'
• In the Pittsburgh suburb of Forest Hills, a black man said he found a note with a racial slur on his car windshield, saying "now that you voted for Obama, just watch out for your house."
Barack Obama's campaign actively sought to include people of widely diverse backgrounds united in their quest for change. These racist incidents come not as a result of any divisive actions on the candidate's or campaign's part; they occur simply because Obama is an African-American. Apparently there are scores of lunatics out there who simply can't come to terms with that fact. May the Secret Service never relax their guard, even for a millisecond.