Black men attacked in three states
Published Aug 11, 2010 5:58 PM
Several brutal attacks have targeted African-American men in Michigan, Virginia
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.
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