September 8, 2009

A KKK-style cross in Moraga: And who are the Neo-Nazis lurking beneath our happy suburban surface?

The FBI is investigating the discovery of a "KKK-style cross" left in the driveway of a Moraga home. The San Francisco Chronicle says the home belongs to a white couple whose son was visiting over the weekend with his African-American wife. According to the East Bay Daze, the 3-foot-tall object was a "fairly sophisticated rendering of the klan's 'flaming cross'--with this one wrapped in t-shirts and the KKK insignia.

It's natural to worry that this latest incident in Moraga is part of something very dark going on in our society, in the wake of the United States electing its first non-white president nearly a year ago.

On Sunday, I was listening to Brian Copeland on his regular Sunday morning talk show on KGO radio, and he was expressing alarm at the hysteria surrounding Obama's speech to school children Tuesday.

He contended this hysteria represented a growing atmosphere of hate and racism in our society--sparked by some people's resentment about a black man being in office. Copeland noted the nastiness, anger, and resentment in rhetoric behind the birther movement, the town hall shout-downs, and people showing up at Obama appearances armed with guns. Copeland also said there had been an increase in the number of threats against the president's life.

Copeland first addressed this issue back in November, shortly after Obama was elected. Around that time, as I reported, an African-American family in Pleasanton was targeted by anti-Obama vandalism. Vandals had slashed their elect Obama lawn sign and all the tires on their two cars. Obama's name and profanities were spray-painted onto their garage and cars, and their home was egged and toilet papered.

Right after Obama was elected, news reports were coming in from across the country of cross burnings, school children in Idaho chanting "Assassinate Obama," black figures hung from nooses, and racial epithets scrawled on homes and cars.

More recently, in Walnut Creek, an employee at a North Main Street Midas auto service shop reported to KTVU that he endured repeated racial slurs from a mechanic and, as some kind of sick joke, seeing a noose hung in a work area. The employee complained to his manager but the manager failed to reprimand the mechanic or get him to stop his behavior. The Midas shop's owner has since said that the mechanic and the manager won't be fired, though they might deserve it, but will try counseling and community service.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, an internationally renowned civil rights organization that tracks the activities of hate groups, reports that right-wing militias, after a decade of largely disappearing from public view, are making a comeback, appearing in large numbers around the country. What's got them irked is that the federal government, their longtime target, is now headed by a black man.

"That, coupled with high levels of non-white immigration and a decline in the percentage of whites overall in America, has helped to racialize the Patriot movement, which in the past was not primarily motivated by race hate," the center reports. "One result has been a remarkable rash of domestic terror incidents since the presidential campaign, most of them related to anger over the election of Barack Obama. At the same time, ostensibly mainstream politicians and media pundits have helped to spread Patriot and related propaganda, from conspiracy theories about a secret network of U.S. concentration camps to wholly unsubstantiated claims about the president's country of birth."


The center says there are 84 active hate groups operating in California.

And guess what?!? According to the center, we're lucky enough to have a local group of racist skinheads. The group is called Volksfront, and it has a chapter in Concord. Volksfront, an international fraternal organization for "persons of European descent," says it represents "the independent voice of the white working class." Since October 1994, Volksfront has been at "the forefront of the struggle for white autonomy, white self-determination and the issues of the white working class."

The Anti-Defamation League calls this band of brothers, the most active neo-Nazi group on the West Coast, "virulently racist and anti-semitic."

So, are things really getting ugly out there, not just in the places you'd usually expect, but in so-called decent, respectablec ommunities like Moraga, Pleasanton, and Concord? If so, what do you think we should do about it?


Anonymous said...

Do you ever read the comments on

MickeyMartin said...

We will ever fully stamp out racial ignorance and intolerance. Fortunately these groups are growing far and few between. We need not give them credence for their willingness to perform acts of hatred in the community. They are no different than the wing-nut winos in Berkeley who claim the world will end tomorrow. They just are twisted in their thinking and find some sort of esteem in hating others, as if it gives them some sort of moral ground to stand upon. These weak minded and misled folks will be here forever, but we need just walk by them and ignore them like we do the winos. Giving them recognition for their ignorance is counterproductive IMO.

Thud said...

I care not a whit about obamas colour...I do care about his policies as I see first hand the destruction socialism has wreaked on my country. Of course because I do oppose him I will by many be called a racist...oh well...if the hat fits.

Anonymous said...

Thud there are a couple of things wrong with your statement.

1) you say "socialism has wreaked on my country" not your former country. Since you have not adopted the US as your country you have no basis to oppose Obama other than an intrested bystander.

2) and I don't know who calls you a racist, the only thing I know ist that you call Obama a racist, as you posted on your blog.

3)and of course it is telling that you seem to link KKK crosses and Neo Nazis with opposition to Obama.

Anonymous said...

The truth is that racism is alive in society. These days, racists exist but they have learned to keep their racist views unspoken. These racists live among us. They are co-workers, neighbors, fellow church members, etc. Racist views have not changed. They simply don't act them out as much as before. These people have learned that murders, lynchings, etc. have consequences. However, they now do hidden or anonymous racist acts.

In Psychology we learned that many of these people have behavioral problems that go way back. They may have the inability to feel for others. This could lead to many different disorders such as anti-social personality disorder(formerly called pyschopaths).

Of course, racism is getting rarer. Most people these days are well adjusted and civilized members of society. A few bad seeds might get us down, but we have faith that most people are somewhat tolerant of other people.

Thud said...

Anon status is non of your business and even if I was just a bystander I think you will find Obama does impact upon my life in many ways, none of them positive.As for linking kkk etc did you even bother to read the post?

Anonymous said...

don't worry thud, your system of wealth and power by birthright is alive and well across the pond. the question is why does a person as obviously common as you defend it?

Thud said...

Anon 3.40...yup thats me,"common as muck" as we say here inbetween doffing our caps to our betters. The system has in fact been rather kind to one so low born as me hence my living in several different countries in rather comfortable circumstances...ah! capitalism,you just have to love it.

Anonymous said...

Again, I cannot believe the arrogance of the liberals posting on this site. Anon 3:40 actually said "a person as obviously common as you..."? Who are they--Queen Victoria? Anon 3:40....we are not amused.

Thud, you seem like a nice and decent person. If you are British then I apologize for the rudeness of the Americans posting here. I have enjoyed reading comments -- please keep posting here.

Anonymous said...

To Anon 3:40 and the rest of the liberals...please read Camille Paglia's latest article on Here is an excerpt:

"Why has the Democratic Party become so arrogantly detached from ordinary Americans? Though they claim to speak for the poor and dispossessed, Democrats have increasingly become the party of an upper-middle-class professional elite, top-heavy with journalists, academics and lawyers ...The top schools, from the Ivy League on down, promote "critical thinking," which sounds good but is in fact just a style of rote regurgitation of hackneyed approved terms ("racism, sexism, homophobia") when confronted with any social issue. The Democratic brain has been marinating so long in those clich├ęs that it's positively pickled."

Yep, sounds about right to me.

Anonymous said...

"Why has the Democratic Party become so arrogantly detached from ordinary Americans?"

I assume you mean by oridinary Americans Birthers, Teabagers, the death panel people the parents who had no problem when Reagan or Bush spoke to students but rather keep their kids at home than send them to school to hear Obama talk to them about education, the cross burners of Moraga or the Volksfront in Concord, the preacher who prays for Obama's death, the guy at Midas in WC, I hope you get the picture.

If these are the ordinary Americans than yes by all means for my taste the Democratic party can't become detached enough from ordinary Americans.

Thud said...

Anon 4.01...thanks for your words...much obliged.

Anonymous said...

Anon 4:33,

Actually, I didn't say anything about "ordinary Americans". I was quoting Camille Paglia, a writer for the website

Reason and logic seem to escape you. The ordinary Americans that Paglia was referring to are not "the cross burners of Moraga or the Volksfront in Concord, the preacher who prays for Obama's death, the guy at Midas in WC", and it is offensive for you to say so. I believe your statements confirm Paglia's opinions about the current state of the democratic party.

Hang up your ivy league degree -- if in fact you have one -- and try mingling with real people for a change. We are all around you and, most gallingly of all for you, I'm sure, we all have a vote.

Anonymous said...

hate proves a lack of depth, period. reflects an entrenched sense of "I" and "thou" -

Did you cadaver class, when you cut through the skin, all the tissue is the same color, black, white, asian - so they are just dumb who think it matters longer than their lived life.

last point:

Intermarriage will kill most racism in a couple generations.

Anonymous said...

Anon 5:19 it seems impossible to have an intelligent discussion with you. You quoted Camille Paglia "ordinary American: and then when called upon you run away from it. You used this quote and it must mean something to you.

Why do yo tell who are these ordinary Americans the Democratic party is so arrogantly detached from? Do you mean the tens of millions of ordinary Americans without Health Insurance? The workers in the automotive industry who depended on government help to keep jobs? The people in the financial services industry who depended on their jobs? Small business owners who needed access to credit to keep their business alive?

Please enlighten us.

Anonymous said...

"We are all around you and, most gallingly of all for you, I'm sure, we all have a vote."

Why do I think the Democratic Party is not loosing any sleep about your vote, given the fact that you didn't vote for Obama 2008 and will not vote for any Democrat in the future.

Anonymous said...

Anon 4:33 So you really like Camille Paglia? Or is it just that one of the talking heads on Fox News quoted her latest ramble on

For some reason I have some serious doubts that ordinary American really identify themselves with Camille Paglia's writings.

Just for your education here is another quote by your new idol:

"These days, especially in America, boy-love is not only scandalous and criminal, but somehow in bad taste. On the evening news, one sees handcuffed teachers, priests and Boy Scout leaders hustled into police vans. Therapists call them maladjusted, emotionally immature. But beauty has its own laws, inconsistent with Christian morality. As a woman, I feel free to protest that men today are pilloried for something that was rational and honorable in Greece at the height of its civilization."

Camille Paglia in Sexual Personae (New York,Vintage Books1991)

Well at least now you can tell all your friends that you and NAMBLA share the same taste in writers.