Sunday, August 02, 2009

Northern Idaho: The Anti-Diversity Paradise?

There's an interesting article on the efforts of people in the Northern Idaho panhandle to get beyond the stigma of the area's association with Richard Butler and his Aryan Nation compound.
The good news is that Butler is dead (from natural causes in 2004), the Aryan Nation is gone, and the area around Coeur d'Alene is growing as a result of a healthy tourist trade.
But Coeur d'Alene still seems to be a bigot's paradise:

Right-wing political attitudes are common. It's not unusual to see people sporting Confederate flags, anti-government slogans or even a swastika tattoo.

Many of the newcomers hail from California, including a large cadre of retired law enforcement officers, of whom O.J. Simpson trial figure Mark Fuhrman is the best known.

"LA cops move up here to get away from diversity," said Rachel Dolezal, director of education for the Human Rights Education Institute in downtown Coeur d'Alene.

Given that the racial attitudes of police officers are somewhat in the news as a result of the Henry Louis Gates case, the comment on LA cops is interesting. Several years ago, one of my students who had lived in LA told me that cops tried to recruit him for the police force as soon as they heard he was from Kentucky. That was because the LA cops figured that guys from Kentucky would have the "right" hostility toward minorities.

Can't be too righteous about the Confederate flags though. There's a lot of them around here.

1 comment:

Todd Mayo said...

Interesting and infuriating but not surprising. (Insert my response to "Black Anger Should Be Everybody's Anger.") This kind of stuff...MY GOD!! It's 2009! I refer everyone to this link:
Reverend Al puts it better than I ever could.