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South Carolina: Home Of Hate Crimes, Homophobia, Racism, And Hypocrisy

by David Badash on June 7, 2010

in Bigotry Watch,Politics

From its long history of slavery, suppression of women’s suffrage, and black and poor voter-disenfranchisement, to the George Rekers rentboy scandal, to last week’s racist epithets thrown by a state senator, to the racial slaying and dragging of a black man by his white co-worker, South Carolina has become the epicenter of everything that’s wrong with America.

Now, before you go all Confederate on me, and tell me it’s unfair to blame an entire state for the actions of just a few, I’ll agree, but I’ll also blame the people of South Carolina (who number slightly more than half the population of New York City,) for allowing the same ugly events to happen again and again. At some point, citizens have to stand up and say, “Enough!”

Perhaps South Carolina will change its tourism slogan from “Smiling Faces. Beautiful Places,” to “Yeah, Mark Sanford isn’t the only bad thing here.”

Let’s take a quick look at some of what has happened in the way of hate and bigotry since South Carolina was born, to today.

Thomas Jefferson planned to denounce slavery in the Declaration of Independence, but removed those references to ensure South Carolina joined the Union.

Slavery was such a part of South Carolina in the late 1600s, that in less than fifty years, the people of South Carolina exported almost fifty-thousand captured American Indians and sold them as slaves, so they could buy more African slaves, who were deemed more knowledgeable and skilled.

Despite the gift of allowing slavery to exist to ensure South Carolina join the Union, South Carolina was the first state to secede from the Union. Had our Founding Fathers the gumption to stick to their guns, the entire slavery industry and the civil war might not have existed.

Long after the Civil War, South Carolina disenfranchised the majority of its black and poor voters, and was the second-to-last state to ratify and implement the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, allowing women the right to vote, a full forty-nine years after the Amendment became law.

Today, many South Carolinians want to stay true to their Confederate, secessionist, racist, slavery-supporting heritage. That’s why, “[l]ess than half of the candidates running for South Carolina governor say they would consider moving the Confederate flag that flies in front of the South Carolina Statehouse; none of the candidates say they would.

In the twenty-first century, flying the Confederate flag, a symbol of secession, racism, and slavery, is unacceptable and un-American.

You know what else is un-American? Yelling “You lie!’ at the President of the United States during a joint session of Congress. That line in the sand, throwing away centuries of respect and decorum, was drawn by South Carolina’s Representative Joe Wilson. Wilson has uttered other controversial epithets and lies in the past, including calling the fact that former Senator and presidential candidate Strom Thurmond fathered an out-of-wedlock daughter via an interracial affair a “smear.”

Congressmen like Joe Wilson would do well to remember that “representative” is part of their official title, and responsibilities.

Another Congressman from South Carolina has faced the ludicrous assignation of being censured, twice, for being too bi-partisian. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham was censured by his own party in his own state “because of his work with Democrats on immigration and climate change.”

Being too bi-partisan is not Senator Graham’s only problem. The head of the Americans for Legal Immigration PAC (ALIPAC) thinks Graham is gay, and has no problem saying so, and saying it’s a problem.

“I hope this secret it isn’t being used as leverage over Senator Graham, so today I think Senator Graham, you need to come forward and tell people about your alternative lifestyle and your homosexuality.”

OK…

I know that George Rekers reference up top may have intrigued you, so I’ll remind you that rentboy-renting, long-stroke and rubdown-receiving George Rekers is a professor, emeritus, of Neuropsychiatry and Behavioral Science at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine. Figures.

You know what else figures? South Carolina is going to cut its entire HIV/AIDS budget. Tough times call for tough measures, especially against gay people, I guess…

South Carolina’s disgraced Governor Mark Sanford is a member of “The Family,” an extreme right-wing religious group that preaches politicians should stay in power at all costs. He is a man who embarrassed himself time and again, and, just one year ago this month, made the term “hiking the Appalachian Trail” a euphemism for having an extra-marital affair with a woman in South America. Surprisingly, Sanford has ridden out the tough times and calls for his impeachment, most likely because he is term-limited and cannot run again for governor.

(Rachel Maddow had a few hings to say last year about Governor Mark Sanford’s hypocrisy.)

Sanford was forced to resign as head of the Republican Governors Association after admitting to the affair. Sanford, now divorced due to his affair, also was unanimously censured in lieu of being impeached, but was never brought up on charges for misuse of state funds or his trips to Argentina.

Speaking of state funds, the Governor himself, while finding it acceptable to bill the citizens of his state for illicit affairs, did not think it acceptable to accept federal government stimulus funds, despite the fact that his state “ranks #2 in unemployment, and #11 in child homelessness.” The Governor also did not think it acceptable back in 2008 to pay for ads his tourism board had run, touting “South Carolina is so gay.

Mark Sanford has a unique sense of what is and is not acceptable.

You remember that horrible, endless airport “press conference?” That was bad. So were Sanford’s Lieutenant Governor’s despicable statements early this year about the poor.

Now, remember, in January, South Carolina had one of the highest rates of unemployment in the country, 12.6%. Which prompted Lieutenant Governor Andre Bauer to state,

“My grandmother was not a highly educated woman, but she told me as a small child to quit feeding stray animals.

“You know why? Because they breed.

“You’re facilitating the problem if you give an animal or a person ample food supply. They will reproduce, especially ones that don’t think too much further than that. And so what you’ve got to do is you’ve got to curtail that type of behavior. They don’t know any better.”

No wonder Sanford didn’t get impeached. That ignorant asshat is what would have been running the state if Sanford were gone.

I suppose I should in all fairness mention that that ignorant asshat has also been accused of being in the closet, supposedly by activist Mike Rogers, but later it was reported the accusations came from, yes, Governor Mark Sanford.

Sadly, the morality morass in South Carolina gets worse. Much worse.

On Thursday of last week, South Carolina Republican State Senator Jake Knotts called Nikki Haley, an American of Indian descent running for Governor, a “fucking raghead,” during an interview taped at a local bar. (It should be noted most media outlets did not report the “fucking” portion of his comments.)

The Columbia, South Carolina Free Times reports,

With a bead of sweat rolling down the side of his face outside a Columbia bar, Republican S.C. Sen. Jake Knotts called Lexington Rep. Nikki Haley, an Indian-American Republican woman running for governor, a “raghead” several times while explaining how he believed she was hiding her true religion from voters.

“She’s a f#!king raghead,” Knotts said.

He later clarified his statement. He did not mean to use the F-word.

Knotts says he believed Haley has been set up by a network of Sikhs and was programmed to run for governor of South Carolina by outside influences in foreign countries. He claims she is hiding her religion and he wants the voters to know about it.

“We got a raghead in Washington; we don’t need one in South Carolina,” Knotts said more than once. “She’s a raghead that’s ashamed of her religion trying to hide it behind being Methodist for political reasons.”

Later, the America Foreign Press reported this “apology” from Knotts:

“Since my intended humorous context was lost in translation, I apologize,” Knotts said. “I still believe Ms Haley is pretending to be someone she is not, much as Obama did, but I apologize to both for an unintended slur.”

OK…

Haley, for whom Sarah Palin has recorded robocalls, has been accused by two men of having extra-marital affairs with each of them. She denies the charges and, in an act just one step better than the man who endorses her, Mark Sanford, has offered to resign the Governorship, should she win and it be proven she has had any affair.

That’s a relief.

But wait, there’s more.

As if everything I just wrote wasn’t bad enough, this, my friends, is where it gets disgusting, and disgusting for two reasons. The first is that this atrocity happened, the second is that it’s not being covered much by the main stream media.

Also last week in South Carolina, days before Knotts’ racist “raghead” remarks were made, Gregory Collins, a white male who is nineteen years old, was arrested for murder. Specifically, for shooting in the head, then tying one end of a nylon rope around the neck of his victim, the thirty-year old black man he just killed, and the other end of the rope to Collins’ own truck, then dragging the dead man’s body for ten miles.

Police located Collins from the miles-long trail of blood that lead to his trailer, where they found twenty guns and high-powered rifles. Collins, who worked with his thirty-year old victim, Anthony Hill, claimed he did it in self-defense. The two reportedly had spent the day together and drank into the wee hours of the morning.

Fortunately, and despite South Carolina’s Republican U.S. Senator Jim DeMint’s objections to the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which passed last year, the FBI is investigating this atrocity as a hate crime. Yes, Senator DeMint, hate crimes happen to your constituents, even the non-gay ones.

DeMint, who has partnered with RedState founder and CNN bigot Erick Erickson, last year claimed, healthcare reform could be Obama’s “Waterloo.” The South Carolina freshman Senator went too far, and his words became the title and, later, the pink slip for Republican writer David Frum.

But DeMInt himself could see a pink slip in his future, as he’s the subject of an ethics complaint for his lodging at “The Family’s” C Street, the very institution that fellow South Carolina pol Mark Sanford belongs to.

Of course, South Carolina is one of the states championing repeal of Obama’s health care bill. Why would a state whose residents have a far worse than average rate of homelessness, unemployment, infant mortality, obesity, hypertension, poverty, etc., want to help its citizens lead a better life?

Of course it wouldn’t. South Carolina has been the center of hate, homophobia, racism, in short, Republicanism, for four centuries.

Why stop now?

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{ 19 comments }

Rob S. June 7, 2010 at 8:02 pm

"Despite the gift of allowing slavery to exist to ensure South Carolina join the Union, South Carolina was the first state to secede from the Union. Had our Founding Fathers the gumption to stick to their guns, the entire slavery industry and the civil war might not have existed."

Except SC seceded due to high federal tariffs and not slavery, but I suppose that's an inconvenient truth.

David Badash June 7, 2010 at 4:14 pm

Hey, Rob, well, I suppose if you want to frame everything as a Tea Party argument, feel free. In fact, what I said was, "Despite the gift of allowing slavery to exist to ensure South Carolina join the Union, South Carolina was the first state to secede from the Union. Had our Founding Fathers the gumption to stick to their guns, the entire slavery industry and the civil war might not have existed."

Meaning, SC was given a "gift" to join the union, the "gift" was that the Union would condone slavery. In return, SC decided a century later to secede despite the fact that the nation might not have allowed slavery had SC not been given the gift of us allowing slavery.

Tell me where I said that South Carolina seceding was due to slavery? Truth be told, a large reason why they seceded had to do with the fact that it was clear Lincoln was going to be president.

But I suppose that's an inconvenient truth, too.

TGCBlog June 7, 2010 at 4:46 pm

Slavery was immaterial. In the 1830s, SC was looking at secession due to the high tariffs. It was an ongoing issue for at least 30 years. And it wasn't just because Lincoln was going to be president. That's absurd. Rather, they knew based on his campaigning that things weren't going to get any better for them.

Am I to understand that they should have remained just because of some "gift"? And wasn't one of the largest slave owners in SC, at one time, black?

And speaking of hate crimes, when blacks kidnapped a white Citadel cadet and tossed him off the Ashley River Bridge, was that a hate crime or no? How about when a MUSC Meducare flight nurse was shot and killed on his way to Hardees? Ever see the projects in Charleston? When are the folks there going to say "enough" when it comes to the crime and drug trafficking out of there? When are they going to say "enough" to the increasing crime in West Ashley?

Seems to me that the Confederate flag, made a symbol of hate by the militant wing (KKK) of the democrats, is the least of their worries.

David Badash June 7, 2010 at 8:52 pm

Seems to me a hate crime is a hate crime, regardless of who commits it.
Seems to me throwing out indignation after indignation, hate crime after hate crime, merely illustrates my point: South Carolina is America's Home Of Hate Crimes, Homophobia, Racism, And Hypocrisy.

Thanks for proving my point. Feel free to list other examples. I'm sure they are infinite.

TGCBlog June 7, 2010 at 9:17 pm

I wouldn't go so far as to say that SC is "America's Home….". So why the specific hatred of SC?

Gretchen Salm June 9, 2010 at 9:33 pm

Nicely written article. Except for the part where the author implies that only gays get HIV. I could have sworn we dispelled that myth a long time ago.

CJay June 24, 2010 at 5:46 pm

This is one of the worst articles I've read in a long long time. Aside from the stuff Rob and TGC mentioned above it is full of logical fallacy most notably ad hominem. You also made a lot of deductive fallacies.

It is ludicrous to say that South Carolina is the home of all hate crimes when South Dakota reports more hate crimes per year (adjusted for population by the way). In fact on the FBI list as of 2005 SC ranked like 23 out of 50 meaning there are 27 states that have higher hate crime rates than SC. So aside from the other fallacies mentioned we also have a factual fallacy.

I can totally get behind your liberal ideology, but this is propaganda of the worst sort, false.

David Badash June 24, 2010 at 6:02 pm

CJay,

I wrote, "From its long history of slavery, suppression of women’s suffrage, and black and poor voter-disenfranchisement, to the George Rekers rentboy scandal, to last week’s racist epithets thrown by a state senator, to the racial slaying and dragging of a black man by his white co-worker, South Carolina has become the epicenter of everything that’s wrong with America."

I did not say SC is THE home. But it is clear that SC is A home to some of the worst issues and politicians and attitudes we are seeing in America, and has been since this county was founded. When story after story pops up and involves one state, I feel perfectly justified to point a finger at the citizens and politicians of that state and say, "Get it together."

SC has become an embarrassment to the ideals of this country.

I see you don't dispute any of the actual issues I cited. A lot of the piece shows the history of the state, not just the 2005 FBI crime stats.

The attitude of a people and the people they elect says alot about a place.

This isn't propaganda. This isn't false. It is an honest look at an unfortunate series of events centered in one state out of 50.

I look forward some day to writing about SC offering same-sex marriage and one of the lowest rates of homophobic hate crimes. Until then, I will be keeping my eye on this. For everyone's sake, I hope you will too.

Sue August 20, 2010 at 11:32 pm

Yes, my two months of living in South Carolina have been quite an experience…they let drunken men harass women at all public places, living establishments and beaches, they are rude, nasty and discriminatory to northerners, blacks and women in general. Yesterday at the beach, we watched a mother take naked pictures of her kids at a public beach for approximately 10 minutes…and its acceptable. I was sexually solicated at a large restaurant at Murrells Inlet and when I tried to speak to the manager about it..they asked me to leave. I called 911 to report the incident, was treated badly by 911 officers and have subsequently been arrested and am charged with a felony crime with 90 days in jail…take my word for it..this is NOT THE STATE YOU WANT TO LIVE IN.

gamecocklit April 2, 2011 at 6:01 pm

sounds like you are the problem not south carolina. get out of my state.

Sue August 20, 2010 at 11:53 pm

Yes, I abused the 911 system by reporting a pervert drunk employee at a prominent restaurant owned by the chain of restaurants who are part of the old boy network here…and I was arrested for misusing their system. The woman I played tennis with last week lives in a gated community here in Myrtle Beach. She told me that she is constantly harrassed by drunken homeowners and has been stalked by pervs on her own property. People from the north, like myself are constantly being harrassed by the people here in South Carolina..its discrimination that needs to be addressed

gamecocklit April 2, 2011 at 6:16 pm

This article is propaganda at it's finest. Any fool with a computer and sufficient writing skills can go on the internet and write an article bashing a state. There is hate crimes committed everyday worldwide. South Carolina is not the central issue here. It is people in general that need to be redirected and pointing out failures in the past does nothing but create more anger. Stop distancing yourselves from the people who need help by writing badly about them, instead open your mind and let your love and intellect construct a new path so maybe one day we will all live in peace.

""You are not an ugly person all the time; you are not an ugly person ordinarily; you are not an ugly person day to day. From day to day, you are a nice person. From day to day, all the people who are supposed to love you on the whole do. From day to day, as you walk down a busy street in the large and modern and prosperous city in which you work and lie, dismayed and puzzled at how alone you can feel in this crowd, how awful it is to go unnoticed, how awful it is to go unloved, even as you are surrounded by more people than you could possibly get to know in a lifetime that lasted for millennia and then out of the corner of your eye you see someone looking at you and absolute pleasure is written all over the person's face, and then you realize that you are not as revolting a presence as you think you are."
-Jamaica Kincaid

We are all the same, we are all selfish, we are all loving, we are all kind, we are all unkind, we are all drunk, we are all sober, we are all human. Some have been through more than others, but in the end we all die.

RobertUTAustin April 26, 2011 at 9:13 am

South Carolina just always seems to be on the wrong side of history. We should have let those idiots secede when we had the chance.

gogamecocks August 30, 2011 at 2:00 am

Whoever wrote this article is an idiot. Ive lived here my whole life and race has only ever been an issue on tv in the house i grew up in. We're proud of our history and heritige and just because we fly the Confederate flag on our state grounds dosent make us racist. Its a part of this nations history wether the rest of America wants to admit it or not and we are not ashamed of it, we're just the only state that still has the balls to show it. Were not perfect down here but neither is the rest of the world and singleing us out among all the other shit that goes on in this nation is incredibly wrong. Putting out this crap only increases hatered and resentment and makes you far more ignorant than the people you attempted to write about in this pathetic excuse for an article. You dont know us nor understand us, so ill tell you what any other self-respecting South Carolinan will tell you …take this article and shove it up your ass because we aint changing for nobody!!!

thewholetruth1 August 30, 2011 at 3:46 pm

From what I have read, South Carolina seceded from the union because of state's rights. And they seem to be still having issues with them. The state's rights issue that propelled them to divide themselves from the union was slavery. People like to ignore the fact that slavery was both the dividing and defining point of this radical maneuver.

On another note, try walking in others' shoes, seeing through their eyes, feeling with their hearts and tell me that flying the confederate flag should be representin' at the state capital. Free speech it in front of your house, store it in the museum, just don't let it represent a state in the USA. Have deference for other people's feelings. If you want to celebrate, pretend hate or denigrate other human beings or this great nation, please do it in the privacy of your home. Hey, your home is your castle. Even though we know that quite a few of our representatives are only representing themselves, the government is supposed to be for the people.

thewholetruth1 August 30, 2011 at 3:48 pm

cont – I grew up in South Carolina. Never hated. Looked upon individuals both good and bad as individuals. Didn't judge people by their color, gender, natural origin, etc. Judged them by their character. Surrounded by abounding ignorance, I didn't exactly love the society that I grew up in. From visiting there over the years, I think that the state has improved its human relations but after reading some of the comments and of course the article it is obviously not yet utopia.

Of course no one is perfect, including myself, yet we should strive to be so nevertheless.

For all of the bashers, who like to bash and not engage in civil discourse, let me assure you that I am an SC native, white, a moderate, heterosexual.

thewholetruth1 August 30, 2011 at 3:51 pm

cont – Some southerners don't like outsiders period. I know a couple and they are educated just not enlightened to the fact that God created other people unlike them, in his image, too. It's about time that all people realized that we are all in this together and we are all equal as far as deserving equal rights, opportunities and respect. When you look down on others, you are really disrespecting yourself, because you aren't better than anyone else. Of course they aren't better than you either. Of course, when it comes to character, that's when the cream rises to the top. Judge people on their character and their character only. Just wise up and treat all others in the way that you like to be treated. It's not that complicated, folks.

thewholetruth1 August 30, 2011 at 3:53 pm

waiting for my first comment to appear so my message is complete.

jiinxycat May 12, 2012 at 11:41 pm

Before I read any more of this article I must say one thing or a few. YOU HAVE NEVER BEEN TO JERSEY! I moved from New Jersey to South Carolina because of the rude, disgusting, hateful, and all around horrible human beings that live within the confines of New Jersey. I am not quite sure where you are in South Carolina, but I am sure none of the areas are as bad as New Jersey as a whole. Just had to throw that out there. Oh and why are most of the things you mentioned you dislike about South Carolina sound like things that happened in the 1600s. From what I see women and those who are black have the same rights here, unlike New Jersey, where the mexicans have more rights than everyone born there. This confuses me due to the fact that if I went to Japan, I would have to become a citizen before I am handed over money from the state.

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