Race Hatred Flares in the Old Dominion

Askia Muhammad | 3/27/2013, 11:46 a.m.

There is hardly anything in life whose appearance is not shaped by perspective. From the planet Mercury, just 30-some-odd million miles from the Sun, the sun fills the entire horizon during the day, and the temperatures for humans would be unbearable, ranging from a cool 212 degrees Fahrenheit at night, to a sizzling 1,292 degrees in the daytime.

But on the other end of the Solar system, from the planet Pluto, a nifty 4 billion plus miles away, the Sun would appear as the size of a quarter in the sky and the temperature gets so cold at times its atmosphere actually freezes. It's all about one's perspective.

So it is with people. To his wife and daughters, Barack Obama isn't just the president of the United States; he's probably a wonderful husband and father. But to others, a little more distant from his family's embrace, he's seen as a disappointment by some of his supporters who wish he would appear to do more for them, while opponents may view him as the personification of the Red Devil. Perspective.

Meanwhile, in Chesterfield County, Va. recently, a fire was intentionally set in the middle of the night at the home of Dr. O. Deshea Cuthrell, a church pastor. Racist graffiti was also painted on his house, and his car was set ablaze as well. Police are investigating the incident as a case of arson, although it has not yet been labeled a hate crime. Maybe it was just a couple of "Good Ole Boys" who had a little too much to drink ... as boys will be boys, you know. It just depends on your perspective.

That's one possible explanation given to Richmond Free Press publisher and founder Raymond Boone, for a gunshot that was fired into the second floor office of his crusading newspaper, a newspaper which unabashedly supported the election in 2008 and the re-election in 2012 of President Obama. Maybe it was some folks who had partied too much in a downtown bar near his office, and then, you know ... the shotgun came out and, aw shucks, boys will be boys.

Boone does not intend to back down from his record of advocacy on behalf of Black people. Nor does he suffer fools gladly.

So when Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack promised an advertising campaign in the Black Press, and then launched a program to combat obesity among Americans, and then when there was little or no advertising for the campaign in the Black Press, Boone felt betrayed, and said as much to Education Secretary Arne Duncan during a White House briefing for Black publishers during Black Press Week in mid-March. It's a matter of perspective, I suppose.

After all, what group is more susceptible to obesity in America than Black folks? What better way to reach them than in the pages of the newspapers they trust and respect? Never mind the fact that Black people gave President Obama more than 90 percent of their votes in two consecutive elections. Never mind that the president's opponents in both elections polled a majority of White voters, both male and female.