We're not sure what to make of this morning's Daily News article that seems to feign surprise that the James von Brunn, the racist who shot up the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, isn't from the south. Apparently, there are racists in New Jersey! They might drive Hyundais! Why, they might even be your friends and neighbors!
Stereotypes enable anti-Semitism to grow into hate crimes, experts say, yet people who commit such crimes are often pegged into a single profile themselves.
That's why it might come as a surprise that Wednesday's U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum shooter, James von Brunn, drove a Hyundai instead of a pickup truck - and that New Jersey, one of the nation's wealthiest states, has the highest rate of anti-Semitic incidents.
"We have haters among us," said Etzion Neuer, New Jersey regional director for the Anti-Defamation League. "New Jersey has a little bit of everything: the Klan, skinheads and black extremists. We have two white-supremacy record labels in the state."
"There's a real misconception for many of us here in the Northeast that this is strictly a Southern phenomenon," Neuer said. "We think it's men with Southern accents driving pickup trucks."
Due respect to the Daily News, this is quite silly. Of course there's racism in the northeast. The folks at the Daily News do read the comments at Philly.com, right? They do remember the Philly police officer who casually offered up racist talk to a Temple journalism student, right? They even remember their own story about the Keystone State Skinheads from last year, right?
Is there anybody in the Daily News readership who didn't think there were racists about?
We’re always having a beer in Philly. But we haven’t had a beer the way President Obama had a beer last week—sleeves rolled up, hanging with Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Sgt. James Crowley—trying, with the force of his charm and a few frosty mugs, to defuse the nation’s latest racially charged incident. “A teachable moment,” the president called it, and goddamn if Philly isn’t chock-full of teachable moments.