This has been a tough week for me, emotionally. The news has on two occasions, made me break down crying. First, news of the Philadelphia children being denied access to a club swimming pool, and the subsequent scrambling to justify their actions.
Now, I read this article from The Vancouver Sun. I was so heartsickened by this undercurrent of hatred becoming more and more apparent in this country.
Conservative Free Republic blog in free speech flap after racial slurs directed at Obama children
BY CHRIS PARRY, VANCOUVER SUN JULY 11, 2009
Photograph by: Remo Casilli , Reuters
This photo of U.S. President Barrack Obama's daughter Malia, wearing a peace-symbol t-shirt touched off a storm of epithet-laced comments on the conservative 'Free Republic' blog
"A typical street whore." "A bunch of ghetto thugs." "Ghetto street trash." "Wonder when she will get her first abortion."
These are a small selection of some of the racially-charged comments posted to the conservative 'Free Republic' blog Thursday, aimed at U.S. President Barack Obama's 11-year-old daughter Malia after she was photographed wearing a t-shirt with a peace sign on the front.
The thread was accompanied by a photo of Michelle Obama speaking to Malia that featured the caption, "To entertain her daughter, Michelle Obama loves to make monkey sounds."
Though this may sound like the sort of thing one might read on an Aryan Nation or white power website, they actually appeared on what is commonly considered one of the prime online locations for U.S. Conservative grassroots political discussion and organizing - and for a short time, the comments seemed to have the okay of site administrators.
Moderators of the blog left the comments - and commenters - in place until a complaint was lodged by a writer doing research on the conservative movement, almost a full day later.
"Could you imagine what world leaders must be thinking seeing this kind of street trash and that we paid for this kind of street ghetto trash to go over there?" wrote one commenter.
"They make me sick .... The whole family... mammy, pappy, the free loadin' mammy-in-law, the misguided chillin', and especially 'lil cuz... This is not the America I want representin' my peeps," wrote another.
Such was the onslaught of derision on the site that the person who originally complained about the slurs, a Kristin N., claims only one comment in the first hundred posted actually criticized the remarks as inappropriate.
A note on the front of the blog reads, "Free Republic does not advocate or condone racism, violence, rebellion, secession, or an overthrow of the government," but one comment on the thread read, "This disgusting display makes me more and more eager for the revolution," while another read, "I never actually wnated [sic] to be a pistol before but..."
After attention from other blogs, the thread was suppressed and placed under review, but before long it was returned to the site intact, and attracted a new series of racial slurs when the original complaint email was posted publicly to the site, with the sender's email address intact.
"The writer has a point," wrote site owner Jim Thompson sarcastically. "We should steer clear of Obama's children. They can't help it if their old man is an American-hating Marxist pig."
"I agree Jim," wrote commenter, by the nickname NoobRep. "The kids didn't pick their commie pinko pansy of a father. Nor did they choose to be put into the spotlight. But Obama/Soetoro is fair game and so is his witch of a wife."
"Poor kids. I hope they're not 'punished with a baby'," wrote another. "Hopefully they won't deal cocaine like the Kenyan."
"DIRTBAGS! All of them. Our [White House] is now a joke to the rest of the world. We have no respect and this is not going to turn out well, mark my words. We will be hit, and much worse than last time. We are now seen as weak and vulnerable. Ghetto and Chicago thugs have taken over."
Only after significant negative attention from a host of left wing political blogs did the maintainers of the Free Republic site place the thread under review for a second time, before finally pulling it.
In the wake of the controversy, some Free Republic posters complained about the vitriol.
One poster by the name of "fullchroma" wrote, "To Jim Thompson: The recent uptick here in racist vitriol, aimed at Barrack, Michelle and their children has made me wonder if I belong. My objection to Obama has nothing to do with skin tone. Is the ugly stereotype of Conservative racism true?"
Another, going by the name of TChris, wrote, "Free Republic is a political discussion forum. It SHOULD be beneath us as a group to stoop to such juvenile tactics as I see increasing here lately. Do we REALLY have to insult Mrs. Obama's appearance like a clique of nasty 14-year-old girls?"
But such opinions were not shared by all. Said Roses of Sharon, "Poor libs .... Too late, the battle has been joined."
© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun