•  HOME 
  •  BOOKS 
  •  WWP 
  •  DONATE 
  • Loading

Follow workers.org on
Twitter Facebook iGoogle

Black men attacked in three states

Published Aug 11, 2010 5:58 PM

Several brutal attacks have targeted African-American men in Michigan, Virginia and Ohio.

In Flint, Mich, site of the deadliest attacks, five African-American men have been murdered since May, and 15 others have been injured. All those who were assaulted are African American except one. They were attacked with a knife or sharp object; however, no one was robbed. This has led to the view that the assailant, who is a white man in his late 20s or early 30s, intended to kill the men he attacked.

In all cases described here, the assailant asked for directions or assistance with a broken vehicle; then the attack began.

On Aug. 9, officials confirmed at a Flint press conference that there have been similar attacks in Leesburg, Va., near Washington, D.C.

The Detroit Free Press reports in Leesburg, “On Thursday, a 15-year-old black male was stabbed in an attack as he was jogging around 9:45 p.m. Two days later, a 67-year-old man was stabbed as he sat on a porch outside an apartment building. Both men were African American.” (Aug. 9)

Both men survived the Leesburg assault and have been hospitalized. A Latino man was also attacked with a hammer in a shopping center parking lot. And on Aug. 7, Anthony Leno, 59, was attacked in an alley near Collingwood Presbyterian Church in Toledo, Ohio.

Flint and the economic crisis

Flint has been hit hard by the economic crisis that began there more than two decades ago. Major plants have closed, industrial jobs have left, and homes have been foreclosed while public spending cuts continue. The city’s unemployment rate is nearing 24 percent.

John Danz Jr., a former Flint resident, explained, “I moved away from my hometown of Flint just two months ago. It was the best move I ever made in my life. My mom decided to move back to Flint from Texas after three years because she missed her family. ... Trouble is, Flint is an abysmal cesspool financially and socially. She didn’t think, and now she wonders how she’ll get by without a job from week to week. ... In eight months in Flint, my mom had one temporary job for three weeks. I never came close to finding a job.” (News Blaze, Aug. 7)

Flint’s economy was based on the automotive industry that grew rapidly during the early and middle years of the 20th century. The first significant autoworkers sit-down strike in 1937 took place in Flint at General Motors. The strike and plant occupation marked a turning point in the recognition of the United Auto Workers as a collective bargaining unit.

Racist attacks have escalated in the U.S.

The killings and assaults that appear to be racially motivated are not taking place in isolation. Civil rights organizations and other agencies that research racist provocations and violence report that the number of groups advocating intolerance and hatred have increased in the last two years since Barack Obama’s candidacy and presidency.

The NAACP, among others, has criticized the Tea Party movement for harboring racist elements within its ranks. At Tea Party gatherings, there are reactionary signs, which ridicule President Obama and even say he should “go back to Africa,” although he was born in the U.S.

When President Obama visited Warren, Mich., last year, a white woman carried a racist sign outside the venue where he was speaking. The sign accused Obama of “turning the United States into Uganda.” She was asked, “What’s wrong with Uganda? It is one of the most beautiful countries in Africa.” However, she gave no response.

The Michigan Emergency Committee Against War and Injustice was demonstrating in the area where Obama was speaking. As protesters called for a federally imposed moratorium on foreclosures and a national jobs program, they noticed several white people making derogatory statements about President Obama.

The attacks against African-American men must be viewed within the same context as the passage of Arizona’s SB 1070, the anti-immigrant, racial profiling law. African Americans and Latinos/as have borne the brunt of the current economic crisis; they have the highest unemployment rates in the country.

Tens of thousands across the country have joined in recent mass marches opposing Arizona’s racist law. On Aug. 28 the UAW and the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition are co-sponsoring a mass demonstration in Detroit calling for jobs, justice and peace. This will be followed by the One Nation march in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 2, with demands similar to those raised on Aug. 28. Oct. 7 has been designated a National Day of Action to Defend Public Education.

Working-class people and the nationally oppressed must come out in great numbers for these demonstrations. The racists and neo-fascists can only be defeated through mass mobilizations and political education campaigns that focus attention on the real impact of the capitalist crisis on all working people throughout the U.S. and the world.

The writer is editor of the Pan-African News Wire.