Thursday, November 3, 2016

Harrison, Arkansas: We are Racist and We Feel Good

Brought to you by the racist folks in and around Harrison, Arkansas. August 2016.

I visited Toronto in June 2016. Then revisited South Louisiana in July 2016. Today's post arose from my return drive to Missouri from the South Louisiana visit. I'll start the July Louisiana posts next, but this one is burning a hole in my pocket and can't wait any longer. 

South of Harrison, Arkansas, is the billboard:

"'DIVERSITY' is a code word for #whitegenocide.

Go here for the usual drivel that accompanies such stupidity.

Strangely, above this billboard is one that extols the virtues of Harrison, Arkansas. It is in dilapidated shape, which belies the cheery soap-bubbly copy:

Welcome to Harrison
Beautiful Town Beautiful People
No wrong exits
No bad neighborhoods
...paid for, evidently by Harrison "business owners"

The link to this perky billboard is Interestingly, the message in the upper sign  and the content in its accompanying website is more dangerous, in a way, than the hammer-head drek of the "whitegenocide" guy.

The tone and language of the "business owners" site are so congenial, so reasonable, so seemingly disarming in the acknowledgements of Harrison's flaws along with its charms - so well-written, in fact - that you might almost nod your head at this: 
[Gerald L.K.] Smith was in association with Charles Lindbergh, Henry Ford, Elizabeth Dilling, Father Coughlin, and others known for their pro-American activities.  Smith was an early supporter of local Boone county preacher Thom Robb and all have been labeled by some as racist. Though Lindbergh, Ford, Dilling, and Coughlin are all deceased, they maintained at the time as well as Thom Robb [national director of the KKK] does today, (He also serves as the national director of The Knights Party) to be pro-white only.

Harrison is most often mentioned in the news due to the location of the organization’s headquarters 2 miles from Zinc and 17 miles from Harrison.  [Thom] Robb had his office on Stephenson street just off the square in Harrison for many years as well as overlooking Harrison on Harrison Hill but moved it outside of the city to have room to build a church and family retreat to host conferences.  Some in the city resent the attention he brings while most are either ambivalent or quiet supporters.

Look how the author borrows authority from American icons such as Charles Lindbergh and Henry Ford. How he frames their activities as "pro-American." The suggestion that "pro-white" doesn't necessarily mean anti-someone else.

[Note: Being "pro-white" is NOT on the same playing field as being "for" groups who have experienced long-standing, systemic discrimination.]

Then the author proposes that "most" people in Harrison are either ambivalent or quiet supporters. ... So why should you, the reader, trouble your mind?

Very skillful propaganda that masks the malevolence beneath.

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