What? Are people that bigoted?

Kenji Sugahara

I am completely amazed at the sheer stupidity, ignorance, and bias of some individuals. I just spotted this article and had to post it: Iraqis that were visiting Memphis city hall on a State Department Tour were barred after the city council chairman said it was too dangerous to let them in.

The Chairman was quoted as saying "We don't know exactly what's going on. Who knows about the delegation, and has the FBI been informed? We must secure and protect all the employees in that building." The council chair went as far as saying he would "evacuate the building and bring in the bomb squads" if the group entered.

Are these the kind of people we are electing to positions of power? Is this the kind of America we live in? Is this what we have come to expect? Is this the war on terror? Sheesh.

  • Randy (unverified)

    Memphis, man...

    City council.

    Local officials generally fly under the radar and, sad to say, it seems most bigoted stories I remember come from the south.

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    and I thought Memphis was actually a metropolitan city.

  • Tenskwatawa (unverified)

    -- At some extent -- and this case sounds like it has reached it -- some behaviors are beyond being issues of bigotry or stupidity, to be mocked or ridiculed and dealt with by trying to get the culprit to wise up. In over-the-line cases, like this, it is crime to deny and curtail public access and civil rights and the perps are to be arrested. That's right, arrest the Memphis City Council, indict them, and bring them to trial. At least send a National Guard cordon to insure the public can enter their City Hall, like Eisenhower sent National Guard to enforce free public access to school buildings.

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    Wow. Turns out that Joe Brown, the city councilor responsible, is an African-American active with the NAACP and 100 Black Men. Here's his bio.

  • Cab (unverified)

    Fear really screws with people. It can turn someone into a monster. If we are going to arrest someone lets arrest those in the media crying "fire" all day long. The media sets the tone.

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    Kari- wow. That is an interesting twist. I wonder if there will be a response from his office.

  • Shetha (unverified)

    Oh boy. Glad I (an Iraqi American) didn't show up. That surely would've thrown them for a loop.

  • Tim (unverified)

    Randy wrote:

    "...it seems most bigoted stories I remember come from the south."

    Sigh! As someone who grew up in the South, I can say that the south is less than perfect in many ways regarding the attitudes of the majority of the populace with regards to race. However the statement that "most bigoted stories...come form the south" implies that there is more bigotry in the south than other regions of the country. Perhaps this is not what you meant to convey.

    I thought it would be a cold day when I defended the South, however the South today is not the same south of the 60s and 70s. Times have changed. I mean to actually have a black man on the city council at all is a huge step in the South. Why single the South out?

    I guess your comment is a result of living through the 60s and seeing the images of brutality coming out of the south. The images of the civil rights battles define the South to your generation. I would postulate though that the real bigotry and ignorance displayed in this particular case has less to do with Southern bigotry and more to do with bigotry directed towards those of Arab decent by Americans in all parts of the country post 9/11.

  • Justin (unverified)

    This post and comment section is full of bigoted remarks:

    First, why is it a shock that a black man would be bigoted? Why does his race matter?

    Secondly, I don't think the South is any worse than the rest of the nation when it comes to racism. It just receives more attention.

    And finally, in case someone has forgotten, we are at war against Iraq. Why is it so unfathomable, that Joe Brown wouldn't want to meet with men whose country we are bombing.

    Folks, we're bombing the hell out of Iraq and torturing the prisoners of war. Somehow I don't think Iraqis like Americans too much, and considering the circumstances I think I would be leery about being stuck in a room with a bunch of men from Iraq myself.

    This blog is the perfect example of why George Bush is going to be re-elected. The Democratic party is just out of touch with the majority of Americans.

  • Tim (unverified)


    The State department invited trhe Iraqs to come to America to see how democracy works.

    The comments about Joe Brown being Black aren't bigoted. They more express suprise given the history of treatment of Blacks in the South. The idea here is that a black man should know very well the trappings of bigotry and racism. Hence the suprise. Perhaps you are historically challenged?

    Your ignorant comments are the perfect example of why George Bush will lose the election. George Bush is incompetent. His supporters are ignorant of actual policy implementation as well as how to acheive goals in the real world. That's not the imaginary conservative world that people like you live in where we solve problems by brutalizing innocent people. You know, the collective guilt you assign to all Arabs? That is real bigotry. I am sure killing a bunch of people for the acts of a few will make things better for America.

    PS, Kerry leads Bush by 118 electoral votes accoprding to http://www.electoral-vote.com/. You remember the elctroal college right? The one that actually decided elections in America?

    Thanks for stoping by, and reminding us what we are fighting against.

  • pdxkona (unverified)

    The seven Iraqi civic and community leaders are in the midst of a three-week American tour, sponsored by the State Department to learn more about the process of government. <...> Shahla Waliy, a 31-year-old native of Baghdad, said she was intrigued by the city's civil rights history.

    "I heard there was a kind of majority-minority conflict in Memphis, especially in history," she said. "We have these smaller provinces, and we have majority-minority conflicts in these places."

    Oooooh. She sounds so scary... She must be part of the very small faction of Iraqis that our soldiers are currently in a firefight with. Yup. And there's no way she could be there because G.W. Bush meant it when he said we were going to help rebuild Iraq and their government. Naw, she definitely there for nefarious purposes; I don't care if Colin Powell himself invited them.

    Don't believe the Bush regime- no matter what they say, ALL Iraqis are dangerous!

  • Stephanie (unverified)

    I disagree that "the Democratic party is just out of touch with the majority of Americans."

    Are you saying that the Republican party is in tune with the majority of Americans? I'd say that the Republican party is in tune with rich and/or socially conservative Americans.

    If George Bush gets re-elected, it won't be because he's in touch with the majority of Americans. It will be because we don't get enough of the "majority" to vote.

    We need to get more of these people to vote: minorities, young people, low-income people, single mothers, etc. And people like my husband, intelligent people who are getting apathetic about politics.

    The Kerry/Edwards team, and the Democratic party, is not perfect, but it offers a better, fairer solution to the "majority" than the Bush/Cheney team.

  • Justin (unverified)

    Thank you for reminding me Tim, but yes, I am aware of the electoral college.

    (It's actually the Democrats that seem to have forgotten, with all the whining about how Gore should be President because he won the popular vote.)

    I actually am planning on voting for Kerry. However, I haven't completely made up my mind. (I am one of those powerful swing voters, who actually influence elections).

    And after watching the Democratic Convention, I have become increasingly wary of Democrats. I still don't know what Kerry stands for, I just know he isn't George W. Bush. And while I would hate to reward an incompetent President with a second term... ...I don't know if I can vote for a man I don't know.

    Additionally, the Democrats are pushing this notion that a person would have to be a moron to vote for Bush. Well, a lot of Americans support Bush, and they're not all rich, selfish, ignorant bigots... some of them are poor selfish ignorant bigots...

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    Justin- are there certain reasons at to why you are becoming increasingly wary of Democrats? I mean, if it's because you don't know what Kerry stands for, I think there are plenty of people who could help find resources to answer your questions.

    With Gore, I think the biggest beef was with the process in Florida, not with the electoral college. (whether it be cutting the recount short or disenfranchising voters).

  • Randy (unverified)

    Tim -- Yes, of course I grew up on the civil rights struggles. But tell me again what the percentages were of invalidated black votes in Florida 4 years ago as compared to whites?

    Small minds can be found anywhere, but it just seems as though they are more outspoken when they come from the South. That could, of course, simply be the effect of the liberal east and west coast media bias burying stupid notherner stories.

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    You want bigoted? Try this from the Obama/Keyes race in Illinois:

    In the same interview, he defended his belief that gay marriage is wrong, brushing aside a suggestion from an interviewer that sexual preference might be biologically determined.
    "We as human beings cannot assert that our sexual desires cannot be controlled," Keyes said. He said such a claim would "consign us to the real of instinctual animal nature-- and we are not there."

    In other words, Keyes says that gays and lesbians are animals, and can't control themselves sexually.

    <h2>Not to put too fine a point on it, but isn't that what many whites used to say about people of Keyes' particular skin coloration?</h2>

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