Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Racism and the Town Hall Disruptions

Yesterday I noted the gunman who showed up at the New Hampshire town hall meeting on health care. He was carrying a sign that bore the same quotation Timothy McVeigh had on his shirt when he was arrested for the Oklahoma City bombing. As if that weren't sufficiently scary, another gunman turned up at a forum in Arizona.

Meanwhile, back in the heartland, more evidence of just how post-racial America has become.

You probably saw the news footage that was all over the networks last night of an angry black woman being taken away from the health care forum hosted by Senator McCaskill. If, like me, you'd been watching the event when it happened live you would also have seen a white person being led away in the opposite direction. None of the news services I checked in with last night provided any context for the footage they were showing, and none seemed willing to show enough of the footage so that viewers would see that there was also a white person being escorted away by the guards. And so, the context-free imagery most of the nation was left with was simply that of an angry black woman who had to be led away from the meeting.

Not till today did any of the news services bother to tell the whole story.

If you follow this link you can see the entire video of what happened.

You will see an African American woman sitting down and placing a rolled-up poster on the chair in front of her. A photographer comes over taking pictures, and the woman starts to unroll her sign so that he can get a picture of it. At that point, a white person comes from across the aisle, snatches the sign away and starts to rip it up. The owner of the sign rises and confronts her, and gets taken away by the cops.

So what was this all about?

The rolled up poster was a picture of Rosa Parks.

The reason it was rolled up was that the woman had been greeted with jeers and insults when she held the sign up on her way in.

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