Monthly Archives: July 2009

Missouri teenager burned in attack, hate crime alleged

As it happens, there is in fact another story with a racial dimension that has grabbed my attention – a Missouri story that could become national news.

On June 10, an altercation occurred between Poplar Bluff, Missouri teenagers. One boy was struck in the face. At this point, not much else is known publicly about that altercation.

Three days later, on June 13, fifteen year old Walter Currie, Jr., who is black, was seriously burned in an alleged attack by two white teenagers. It appears – though this is not confirmed – that this heinous attack was perpetrated by the June 10 victim and a relative.

On July 6, Currie was charged in the initial incident, according to his family. Local officials have announced that all individuals involved in both incidents have been charged with crimes.

On July 29, Currie’s uncle, Pastor Gregory Nichols of Kansas City, states in an interview with KCTV that he believes that burn attack was racially motivated.

Black America Web has reported on the story. Nichols has set up a blog here.

Principally Political wishes the best to Walter Currie, Jr. as he recovers from his wounds. The attack was a brutal, inhuman crime against him and must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. If you are interested in helping the family with medical bills, Nichols can be contacted via his blog.

Nichols has painted this as a hate crime, and he may be correct. So far, officials have said that the incident does meet that criteria.

Much more on this later. Right now, it’s late.

Post Script: A bit of background on Southeast Missouri…..

Now, to those not from Missouri who may be reading the blog, a few words about Southeast Missouri. It is largely rural, with Poplar Bluff being one of the major population centers along with Cape Girardeau . It is white, but there is a decent sized black population there as well. It is one of the poorest regions of the state, and I believe produces rice and cotton as some of its chief agricultural products – crops you probably won’t see too many other places in the Show Me State.

Residents should correct me If I’m mistaken, but Southeast Missouri is also unique in that to a degree it considers itself Southern. Most of the rest of the state considers itself Midwestern, culturally and geographically.

It’s on the edge of the Bible Belt, but is not known to be as outwardly evangelical as Southwest Missouri. Economically, it has not experienced anywhere near the growth that it’s Southwest regional counterpart has. It’s fairly conservative politically but with strong populist impulses.

In short, Obama would probably consider this bitter-clinger territory.

I’ve been told by a highly authoritative source (someone involved for many years in public service in the region, who loves the region but is also honest about its sins and shortcomings) that racism still exists in Southeast Missouri. That cultural dynamic would seem to lend credence to allegations of racism in this case.

You can bet that the culture of the region will be brought up in future coverage of this story, and that’s why I’ve included a few notes on it here.

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Filed under Crime, Race

Heartfelt thoughtfulness must mark conversation on race

We’ve been talking a lot about race recently on Principally Political. It was never a strategic objective to devote a lot of time to discussing racial issues, but recently there have been several important stories with racial dimensions to them, and I felt a duty to weigh in.

Race is one of those issues that requires participants to invest a lot of emotional energy in the conversation. It can be a sensitive subject, and you always run the risk of someone taking offense at what you say or mean (or what they thought you said and meant).

There are some things I think are helpful when discussing race, and they include listening, being patient, gathering facts, and believing that while people may approach issues from different perspectives, we do still share a good deal of common ground. I’ve been uncompromising in my criticism of President Obama when it comes to issues like the Gates case, but it is always my goal to give all such issues thoughtful and heartfelt consideration before offering comment.

The site has gotten heavy traffic this month, and a lot of those hits have come from people interested in the posts on some of these race-related issues. I thought this we be a good time to offer a few of these personal thoughts on the subject at large.

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Filed under General & Miscellaneous, Race

Obama losing law enforcement support

It appears that way anecdotally, at least. It would be interesting to see some polling data of law enforcement personnel nationally following President Barack Obama‘s misleading, malicious innuendo against Sgt. James Crowley and the Cambridge, Massachusetts police for arresting Harvard Professor Henry Gates.

By now – via Drudge – you may have seen this CNN video (solid news work here by the network) featuring colleagues of Crowley. They remain strongly supportive of their fellow officer for doing the right thing, and are displeased with the president for jumping to conclusions about the incident.

I’m having trouble embedding the clip, so you can watch the video here. I think what we’re seeing here is the beginning of an at least partial realization by the public that Obama is not the racial healer so many people hoped he would be. In fact, in this incident, he has been the exact opposite.

BTW, more great work on Gates-gate:

[UPDATE: I have moved this piece to the top slot since this post was first published. Breitbart wields a devastatingly sharp pen in this piece. Highly recommended reading.] Obama’s Accidental Gift on Race Andrew Breitbart, Real Clear Politics

Unteachable: The racial grievance industry won’t learn anything from the Gates affair Harry Stein, City Journal (this follows the also excellent City Journal piece by Heather Mac Donald)

A Post-Racial President? Thomas Sowell, Real Clear Politics

Obama knows ‘stupidly’ when he doesn’t see it Mark Steyn, OC Register

And, I haven’t read the following but they look worthwhile, as judged by RCP:

The Mask Slips Melanie Phillips, The American Spectator

What Are Obama & Gates Trying to ‘Teach’ Us? Ruben Navarrette, Real Clear Politics

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Conservative support for president on citizenship question

National Review – long one of the most respected publications of modern American conservativism – has weighed in with support for President Barack Obama in regard to allegations that he is not legally a United States citizen. The questions have generated a certain amount of controversy in the past and have resurfaced in recent weeks.

The Obama presidential campaign responded to the allegations during last year’s election and now the Obama White House has also spoken on the matter, ridiculing claims of the so-called “birthers.”

From time to time it is necessary for the esteemed institutions of political movements to police their own ranks, swatting down unseemly sentiments, puzzling pursuits and inane ideas. That is a role NR has conscientiously assumed over the years (though I have taken issue with some of their treatment of Ayn Rand’s work), and is now exercising that responsibility in this case. It is to their credit.

I don’t like the fact that Barack Obama won the last presidential election. Yet to deny reality or lend credence to conspiracies would be to become as ill-willed and irrational as those who drove around with “He’s NOT my president” bumper stickers over the last eight years. We can do better than that.

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Filed under Barack Obama

A changed man? Gates used racial slur in college application

Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. said of his arrest and ensuing controversy that “this is not about me.” Never mind that his every action and statement has seemed to indicate his belief otherwise.

Now, we learn that Gates has long harbored antagonistic views towards White Americans. In his application to Yale, he wrote:

“As always, whitey now sits in judgment of me, preparing to cast my fate. It is your decision either to let me blow with the wind as a nonentity or to encourage the development of self. Allow me to prove myself.”

Gates is accomplished man who has worked hard to achieve success and notoriety. He didn’t start out with many advantages in life, with perhaps the exception of a present, gainfully employed father.

However, he does seem to harbor some resentment towards Whites and animosity towards institutions he perceives as being tools of a White establishment (the university, the police, etc.). Some people might say this is understandable, given his background growing up as  Black American in West Virginia. Unfortunately, it’s unhelpful in furthering the enormous progress our diverse nation has made towards racial equality and harmony.

Post Script: The AP piece which documented the racial slur provided a good deal of relevant and detailed biographical information, but at times seem to border on sycophancy. It read as if the writer, Hillel Italie, was earnestly penning a public relations expose for a client who needed some good press).

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Obama’s numbers hitting new lows

President Barack Obama‘s presidential approval index has dipped into double-digit territory for the first time of his presidency. Developed and tracked by Rasmussen, the index represents the difference between those who strongly approve of the president’s job performance (29%) vs. those who strongly disapprove (40%). Obama now stands at -11%.

This comes after a rough week for Obama: political back-and-forth over health care; a relatively lackluster performance at his press conference; and his malicious innuendo against law enforcement because his own personal friend, who is Black, was arrested for disorderly conduct.

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“Promoting Racial Paranoia”

Heather Mac Donald of the Manhattan Institute‘s City Journal has written one of the best pieces I’ve seen yet about the Gates incident, published yesterday in National Review Online (via Real Clear Politics).

She writes that Obama has lent credence to harmful myths about racial profiling which actually make crime fighting more difficult in inner city neighborhoods, and thus negatively impacts minority populations. This is an excellent piece by someone who knows her stuff.

This is also a great reminder for me that I need to be checking in with the Manhattan Institute more often. People often first think of Heritage and AEI when it comes to conservative think tanks, but MI has got to be one of the best centers out there. Serious while hip. Scholarship sans arrogance. Relevance. These are all good things for a think tank.

Not to say I agree with them on everything – they’re probably more lenient on illegal immigration, for example – but they’ve got a lot of credibility, in my book. Cheers.

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Filed under Barack Obama, Race