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Thursday, April 5, 2007

When We Hate Ourselves....

“Act your age, not your shoe size.” -- Prince

In November, the state legislature in Albany, New York, went into a frenzy when anti-black notes were discovered in front of the doors of the offices of two black legislators. "Kill all niggers because they don't belong here," the notes said, and were signed "Yours truly KKK." Darryl Gray, a 35-year-old black janitor has now confessed to typing and distributing the notes. Police are reportedly unable to think of a motive. Mr. Gray has been charged with aggravated harassment and could be sentenced to up to two years in prison. (Black Janitor Accused of Hate Notes, New York Times, Nov. 9, 1999.)

An interracial couple living in Georgia, Freeman Berry and Sandra Benson, have been arrested for insurance fraud in connection with a self-administered hate crime. In August, their home burned to the ground and the couple complained of hate calls and spray-painted swastikas. There was wide, sympathetic coverage. Miss Benson wept in the backyard of her burned-out house, telling reporters and investigators she was being punished for loving a black man. The FBI came to solve the hate crime and discovered that the couple had burned down their own house. Expensive computer equipment they claimed had been destroyed in the fire was later found in a rented storage locker. Nationwide Insurance rejected their $301,000 damage claim. This is not the first time Miss Benson and Mr. Berry have played this game. They made off with $244,000 from State Farm Insurance when their house in Goshen, N.Y. burned mysteriously. Miss Benson has also falsely claimed she was injured in a car wreck, though she managed to bilk three different insurance companies out of a total of $200,000 in the incident. She also claimed she was blinded when a photocopier fell on her as she was applying for a job, but it turned out she was "applying" for a job with the company that she and Mr. Berry run at home. She also has sued a doctor for "disabling" her by bungling an operation for breast reduction and fat removal. Mr. Berry has falsely claimed to have been injured falling down a flight of stairs. The two have been indicted on 23 counts of mail and insurance fraud. (Chelsea Carter, FBI Probes Georgia Insurance Scam, Associated Press, Aug. 24.1997.)

Last October, several people slipped into the Center for Black Culture and Learning on the campus of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. They left photocopies of a crude drawing of a black being hanged, and installed computer screen savers with anti-black messages. There was the usual hullabaloo, with black demonstrators stopping traffic, public agonizing about "racism," and the university president James Garland promising to recruit more non-white teachers and students. Blacks wallowed in self-pity, with one telling reporters, "It's been a very rough four years here. Every day, you are reminded of the color of your skin. It's horrible." Now police have fingerprint evidence that Nathaniel Snow, president of the Black Student Action Association, and his black sidekick Brad Allen were the perpetrators. They were, of course, in the thick of the March 1999 demonstrations- so much so that Mr. Allen was arrested for disorderly conduct- and Mr. Snow had an hour-long meeting with president Garland. Was the university delighted to discover that it is not a cauldron of racism after all? Somehow, it was not. According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, "The arrests of the two men shocked and disappointed school officials and students." President Garland now says, "It's important to realize this was an isolated incident and we should not generalize from it" -quite the reverse of his earlier view. One black academic advisor, in what was no doubt also a complete turnaround, cautioned students not to have "kneejerk" reactions. Apparently he needn't worry. The white student reaction the Enquirer printed as representative was that of a junior who asked, "Why would anybody want to do something like this... ?" (Randy McNutt, State Investigators Enter Miami, Cincinnati Enquirer, November 14, 1999. Saundra Amrhein and Kevin Aldridge, Two Charged in Racial Vandalism, Cincinnati Enquirer, January 22, 1999, p. A4. Mark Ferenchik, Police: Students Faked Slurs, The Columbus Dispatch, January 22, 1999, p. ID.)

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Booker T. Washington said:

"There is another class of colored people who make a business of keeping the troubles, the wrongs, and the hardships of the Negro race before the public. Having learned that they are able to make a living out of their troubles, they have grown into the settled habit of advertising their wrongs -- partly because they want sympathy and partly because it pays. Some of these people do not want the Negro to lose his grievances, because they do not want to lose their jobs....There is a certain class of race-problem solvers who do not want the patient to get well, because as long as the disease holds out they have not only an easy means of making a living, but also an easy medium through which to make themselves prominent before the public."

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