Wednesday, November 18, 2009

They assume they know you 

While I was reading Eric's post, I came upon a title on that same site "Fear and Loathing in White Cloud." 'White Cloud' is a smear that people put on my fair city, and has been one I've heard pretty much since I moved here in 1984. At that time I was probably in the darkest 10% of the population here (unlike all you European descendants, my father's family is actually from the Caucasus.) Not to claim any minority status, but to say that I am aware of the whiteness of the place, particularly after moving here from Los Angeles.

Calling the place White Cloud has become in the last decade more than a joke about Stearns County residents, in-breeding, etc. It has become a cudgel taken up by race baiters, and the article linked contains the old saw about our town police picking up "too many minorities." What one should note about those studies is that they never correct for people of color who come from other countries (who might not have a firm grasp of the rules of American roads) or that minority groups might have a younger population, and younger people get stopped by police more than those over 50. The people who did the study said simply they didn't have the Census data.

The writer dredges up the swastika story, which we've covered here at length. The only person found to have drawn a swastika turned out not to be from this area, assuredly not Sherburne County, and is not white. That young man probably did not draw the others. We don't know who did, but the writer of this article assumes he does.

So instead this writer relies on a document of the Sherburne County GOP and a police report that someone burns a cross in Seberger Park on Halloween night. From this we get
Even though the 6th District is among the least diverse in the country and Sherburne County is the whitest county in that district, the GOP still uses the fear of forced integration and public access for everyone as a reason to fear Democrats. To them, patriotic principles are at odds with protecting the weak. Many of us were taught that America is a �melting pot,� but here in Sherburne County you�re either one of us or one of them.

...There is a stain on this part of the state. It�s ugly and real and always right under the surface of any political conversation. It�s played a big part in every election and yet it�s never come up in a debate or candidate interview.

Maybe it�s time it did.
Now for some reason we have to first assume that the only reason anyone burns a cross is because of racism. The fact that it's Halloween, or even Guy Fawkes Day, has nothing to do to change that inference in this writers world. (BTW, did you ever wonder where Jack O' Lanterns came from? I did too, now I know.) The SherCo list is a bit more problematic, but it was written in 2007 by someone unknown, and it took me some time to find it on their page (it's at the very bottom of their main page, in small font.) And let me again point out that very little of Sherburne County is in east St. Cloud.

The writer of this, a director of the 6th Congressional District DFL and a max-dollar contributor to 2008 Congressional candidate Bob Olson, has thus concluded that if you vote for the GOP you are a racist, no matter what you do. And it's a dirty secret in Minnesota, even though he uses a common slur for a city in central Minnesota, as well as the derogatory term "tea bagger". This dismissive arrogance of those with whom you disagree is even more galling given he does not live in St. Cloud.

But this won't matter to them, and no doubt my post will show up as fodder for more of their childish behavior. Remember this moment though: It's clear that the DFL in this district believes that its opponents are evil and probably racists. So when you put out your lawn signs, what's on them really doesn't matter. If you don't vote for their gal, they assume an awful lot about you.

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