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Posted by on Aug 4, 2008 in Economy, Guest Contributor, Media, Politics, Society | 7 comments

Mining Racism and Murder in a Northeastern Pennsylvania Town (Guest Voice)

This is a Guest Voice original-report post is by journalism professor and author Walter Brasch who is also an award-winning syndicated newspaper columnist and radio commentator, and president of the Pennsylvania Press Club.

Mining Racism and Murder in a Northeastern Pennsylvania Town

by Walter Brasch

On a street in Shenandoah, Pa., deep in the heart of the anthracite coal region, six White teens took their racial hatred to a higher level. They confronted 25-year-old Luis Ramirez, an undocumented worker, and beat him to death.

At first the police chief, the mayor, and borough manager refused to believe racism was involved. Although there was already racial and ethnic tension in the 5,000 population town, the town’s political leaders were united in one belief—it was just another street fight gone bad. “I have reason to know the kids who were involved, the families who were involved, and I’ve never known them to harbor this type of feeling,” said the borough manager.

It took police almost two weeks, even with several witnesses, to finally arrest four of the teens. The district attorney charged two of the teens with homicide, aggravated assault, and ethnic intimidation, and two others with aggravated assault and ethnic intimidation.

Unindicted co-conspirators are millions of Americans and the far-right mass media.

It’s common for people in a nation that is in a Recession to complain. They’re frustrated with their lives, with bad working conditions, dead end jobs, and low incomes. They’re frustrated by skyrocketing prices, obscene corporate profits, and do-nothing legislators. The problem isn’t “us,” they believe, but “them.” Others. Outsiders who “invaded” America

A century ago in the coal region, good ole boy Americans complained about the Irish and Poles who took “our” jobs in the mines. For decades, Whites kept Blacks out of almost all but the most menial jobs, and then lynched those who they found to be too “uppity.” During the 1920s and 1930s, the masses of Germans, trying to rationalize their own economic distress, decided the problem was the Jews—and Americans went along with that ethnic racism. We blame Asians. Africans. Muslims. Anyone who’s different.

In today’s America, it’s the “Illegals,” the code-name for undocumented Mexicans. Of course, undocumented Swedes or Canadians or anyone with White skin pass under the radar. Anyone with dark skin doesn’t.

However, politicians and pundits together yell that “illegal” means just that. “What’s not to understand about ‘illegal’,” they screech. They claim they aren’t after any one race or people. Just get rid of illegals. You know, the ones who take “our” jobs. Take “our” welfare. Take “our” education. Take “our” health care. For free! And, while they’re taking, say the forces of righteousness and purity, these illegals become criminals. Some do. But most don’t.

You can’t reason with people in their own crises.

You can’t tell them that our prisons are filled not with undocumented workers but with American citizens. You can’t explain that most undocumented workers don’t want hand-outs because they don’t want to be known to the authorities.

Volumes of data won’t convince some of the masses that undocumented workers, the illegals, often live in near-poverty and don’t get welfare. They don’t even go to the ER when necessary, and so their illness or injury “runs its course” while destroying other body systems because these undocumented workers, already exploited by American business, are afraid of being identified and deported.

In our schools, hatred festers and breeds. Jokes about race, ethnicity, religion, women, gays, and anyone not “us” are told and retold by students—and by teachers and principals who should know better.

Two decades ago, the hatreds would have been somewhat isolated, confined to the corner saloon or social club. But now, self-aggrandizing politicians and media talk show hosts and pundits, who erroneously believe they are populists, spew hate-filled torrents of bigotry and fear-mongering.

I don’t know if the six teens who murdered Luis Ramirez listen to talk radio, watch Fox News, or read web blogs and anonymous call-ins and letters to the local newspaper. They don’t have to. Their community does.

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Copyright 2008 The Moderate Voice
  • JustUsLeague

    Thank you for this article. Yesterday, I forwarded these two links to a number of people after finding out that they believed undocumented aliens were the primary reaon for crimes, dwindling social services, etc.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economic_impact_of_illegal_immigrants_in_the_United_States
    http://mediamattersaction.org/reports/fearandloathing/online_version

    I’ll forward this article as well…..but know that as the economy worsens, prejudices and hatred will take the upper hand to sense and empathy. Regardless, we must keep talking and championing.

  • Silhouette

    I think with every crime commited in the US from now on, we should scrutinize it to see if it is racially motivated.

    To get the hispanics mobilized to support Obama, we should try to split the focus on racism against blacks and hispanics.

    Hate crimes against women of all races can wait until after the election. We don’t want a focus on women’s issue right now.

    That would remind us of one woman, supremely qualified, who was nudged out of a job by a younger much more inexperienced man. Like what happens all the time, every single day in every town and city across America.

    Even amongst minorities, across the globe and across the centuries, women are the most descriminated-against group of people since the dawn of human history.

  • gekkobear

    So, fine. I’m an accomplice to murder. You’re an accomplice to several crimes by your attitudes as well.

    Heck, dozens of murders and rapes just this year. But who cares. Just deport them (or let them cross willingly and hide until the heat is off) and then let them come back and commit more crimes.

    If I’m to blame for my attitude not liking a group of people who ignore the laws and borders of this country; then you’re to blame whenever they commit crimes here for your attitude in aiding and assisting these criminals to come and commit felonies here; aren’t you? Or is that to clear and obvious a parallel to your article?

    I’d say as far as felony crimes go, you’re well in the lead. But don’t let that bother you. You worry about the small crimes rarely perpetrated against the few; while ignoring more massive increases in gang violence, drunk driving, and rape.

    As soon as the crimes against illegals increases past the crimes committed by illegals; then I’ll worry. Until then, and especially while th ratio is more like 20 to 1, I’m going to focus on stopping the 20. You go ahead and feel good trying to stop the 1…

    And since we’re assigning blame to those who even slightly, in any fashion, enable either side; I’m to blame for the one, and you the 20… are you sure you want to continue blaming completely uninvolved parties for their actions?

    I generally blame people who do things that are inappropriate, but now I guess I’m free to blame anyone who does anything I don’t like that might, by my arbitrary decision, have them even slightly aligned or related to the ones who actually committed the crime.

    So the crimes by illegals, aided by pro-illegal immigration forces, which are usually liberals, who are often Democrats. So if you’re blaming talk radio here; I’m blaming Democrats for all crimes committed by illegals.

    With about as much rational thought, proof, reasoning, and evidence (none, none, and none) as you provide in your article.

    Hey, it’s fun blaming people for stuff they had nothing to do with. what should I blame you for next? Inflation? Excessive kitten population in animal shelters? Sickle-cell Anemia?

    Since I don’t need proof, or evidence, or rational thought, or even anything that looks like a real link; this will be easy… intellectually dishonest, stupid, offensive, and pointless; but easy.

  • jwest

    Is this a parody?

    An “original report” by an “award winning syndicated newspaper columnist” and “journalism professor”?

    You’ve got to be kidding.

    This rant is the antithesis of journalism. Unless we are to believe that Mr. Brasch has the ability to discern not only all the facts but the motives of those involved, his tirade is nothing more than prejudice view of central Pennsylvanians coupled with a hatred of conservatives.

    Had Shaun Mullen wrote this article, we could have commented on the points and debated certain aspects. Everyone knows where Shaun stands and he makes no excuses for his far left views. But by foisting this Pravdaesque collection of liberal fantasies as the work of a serious journalist, TMV is making a mockery of the tiny shred of dignity left in those who describe themselves as journalists.

    Good lord. The only thing Mr. Brasch left out is “anonymous sources” reporting that Dick Cheney and Karl Rove held the victim down.

  • AustinRoth

    I truly cannot believe that Joe would sink to running this drivel. Next time, why not run a neo-Nazi rebuttal while you are at it.

  • Silhouette

    They ARE mining racism. Obama needs the latino vote.

    Gekkobear is the “anger against hispanics” diversion to get people to take the sensation seriously.

    I am getting so sick of Obama’s camp manipulating racism. Women’s issues are out there too. Why aren’t his media pals (for now) running bits on the violence and discrimination against the world’s largest minority group?

    Because it doesn’t serve his purpose. He’s all about the game. It would draw attention to how his inexperience and patriarchal media-buddies (for now) nudged a more experienced woman out of the job she really deserves (and everybody knows it).

    Anyone who thinks Obama represents change couldn’t be farther from the truth.

  • DLS

    “Unindicted co-conspirators are millions of Americans and the far-right mass media”

    To answer another user’s concern, this isn’t a parody, just extreme leftist lunacy.

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