Editorial: Help face and conquer the racism among us
In recent days a post has been circulating on local social media pages that reveals an ugly reality — that there are hateful racists living among us in the Quad Cities.
The post, which has since been deleted, targeted a Black fine arts professor who has developed an online Master of Fine Arts curriculum at Prescott College. The professor, Patrisse Cullors, lives in Los Angeles and teaches remotely over the internet at Prescott College and likely other colleges throughout the country. She is also a co-founder of Black Lives Matter.
The social media post appears to have originated on a Facebook page called, “Chino Valley Community Facebook.” It featured a screenshot of Cullors’ Prescott College bio along with the headline, “This is who Prescott College just hired,” and the comment above it that read, “This is the WRONG PERSON for a COLLEGE IN PRESCOTT SEND HER BACK TO CALIFORNIA.”
What adds to this disturbing action is the nature of some of the comments placed with the post.
One user said, “We need to make her quit. Her kind is not welcome here.” Another posted, “This is so very sad. We are being infiltrated! What are your kids going to be learning?”
But the most disgusting comment was a post by a user identified as Sam Keller who said, “Get the rope and everyone involved gets it too. the war is on our doorstep fight now.”
The orignal post was reportedly placed on the group page by a Prescott artist, which the Courier is not naming at this time because while she initiated the hateful Facebook thread she did not create the actual death threat comment. But based on the fact that this was a local Facebook group — and there were other commentors seemingly supporting this hate — we are sickened by the entire affair.
The president of Prescott College, John Flicker, condemned the social media thread as an “ugly racist message.”
In a statement released by the college Saturday, Flicker said:
We are dismayed to see the ugly racist messages circulating on social media in our community about Patrisse Cullors, a member of our faculty at Prescott College. Patrisse is a professional artist and educator living in Los Angeles who is the Faculty Director of our online Master of Fine Arts program. Her inspiring work is recognized across the globe and we are honored that she is a part of the Prescott Community. She is also a co-founder of Black Lives Matter. We strongly support Patrisse’s academic freedom as a member of our faculty and her right of free speech as a citizen. We also strongly support the efforts of Black Lives Matter to achieve a more just society for all Americans.
These racist messages are unacceptable and do not represent the values of our community, and we are grateful for the growing number of messages we are receiving supporting Patrisse and her work. If you support Patrisse and her work join the cause and continue to speak out against racism. — John Flicker, President
“In the last 24-48 hours multiple people in Chino Valley, Arizona said terrible things about me, but one person specifically called to hang me,” Cullors said Sunday in a post on Instagram. “My work @prescott_college is very important to me. My students are incredible and talented and brilliant. I won’t let white racists stop me from showing up for Black freedom.”
We are grateful for the Facebook users and area residents who have publicly spoken out to denounce this kind of hate. It saddens us that anyone would threaten murder because they disagree with someone’s politics or activism. What saddens us more is the thought of such hateful individuals living among us. As one Courier reader told us, “Racism and violent threats seem to be alive and well in and around ‘Everyone’s Home Town.’”
We call on everyone in our community — hired civic leaders, politicians, business owners and Facebook users — to take a stand against all forms of hate. For those racists hiding in the shadows or even openly flaunting their hatred in our community, let’s send the message that their hate is not welcome here. Let’s send this same message to any politician who receives support from haters and would carry such hate with them into an elected county, town or city office.
One closing thought — some of the hate speech we have seen on Facebook comes from people who claim to be followers of Jesus Christ or who believe in a God that created all mankind. We’ve also seen racist comments posted by people who claim to be veterans loyal to the United States and its people. No Christian who believes in the Bible or patriot who supports the Constitution should propagate racism and hate in any form. If they do, they are not who they say they are.
— The Daily Courier