Coeur d’Alene Hate Crime


Rachel Dolezal is the education director for the Human Rights Education Institute based in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.  She has an MFA from Howard University, and this above is one of the ‘pieces’ I happened to find on her ‘blog’ where she has some a good number of pieces using different textures and techniques.   Rachel’s artwork graces the HREI website as well.

Rachel lives in Spokane, Washington and this past Sunday she found a noose “just outside the front door” of her home.  Last week – as NWCN reports – there was a burglary at her home wherein some things were stolen including a couple of guns and “$13,000 worth of personal belongings.”

Earlier this year, Dolezal said, several white supremacists confronted her while she was working at the institute.

“They asked me if I am biracial, then asked where I live and where my son goes to school,” she said.

Dolezal found it disconcerting but gave them a tour of the building’s exhibits and invited them to future events.

At the time she was living in Coeur d’Alene. A week after the confrontation at the institute, someone broke through the gate of her home, making it into her yard before police arrived and the person fled, she said.

That incident prompted her to move to Spokane, along with the fact that her 7-year-old son wanted to be in a more multicultural school.

The incident is being investigated as a hate crime, as it should.  Imagine the ‘fear’ in being confronted by “several white supremacists” who are inquiring about your 7 year-old.

I am not a victim living in fear,” she said. “The larger issue is changing the climate of the area to be unfriendly to hate. It’s a position of strength to speak out and be heard. It’s a thing that can empower others.”

She has filed police reports and has contacted the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The FBI informed her they have at least one suspect related to at least one of the incidents, Dolezal said.

Long-time Coeur d’Alene human rights activist Tony Stewart said racially motivated incidents are on the rise here and nationwide. He traced that to the increasing diversification of the population and to the election of the nation’s first black president.

“I have no doubt that once the hangman’s noose appeared on the porch, this is a hate crime,” Stewart said.

The “increasing diversification of the population” coupled with the election of Barack Obama has lighted the fires fueling fear of “the others.”  Fear of others more often than not is fueled further by ignorance.  I would venture that most people know that “getting to know” someone or those defined as “the others” tends to lessen fear.  And then, there are those who simply have no interest in learning about others, lessening their ignorance or are just simply bent on hating for the sake of hating.

A lot of what has been going on reminds me of that moment when Mayella Euell was on the witness stand in ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’  she says, “An’ if you fine, fancy gentlemen ain’t gonna do nothin’ about it, then you’re just a bunch of lousy, yella, stinkin’ cowards, the – the whole bunch of ya, and your fancy airs don’t come to nothin‘.”

But as Atticus points out in his closing arguments for the defense of Tom Robinson, Mayella is “the victim of cruel poverty and ignorance” while she and her father sit in court seemingly unaware of Atticus’ sharp judgment.  It may not be “cruel poverty” but it surely is ignorance, bald-faced, flat-out ignorance.


5 Responses

  1. ‘”While those who act out violently—hate groups or lone wolves—may be few, the sentiments that lead them to believe their actions are acceptable stem from every-day bigotry and an unwillingness to confront it.” So writes Andrea Vogt’

    Beautiful art.

  2. Thanks for posting on this sister. I’m getting reports from around the states of lots of minor similar hate incidents, like nasty notes left on cars with Obama stickers, flaming packages left on prominent Democrat doorsteps, etc. mostly in deep red counties.

    We need to be documenting all of it. Its a product of the Glenn Beck’s.

  3. Really!? We oughta keep a log – seriously.

    I’ve been noticing shit for a few months and then REALLY noticed when the woman in Georgia got beat down by some man in front of her daughter at Cracker Barrel.

    It’s being investigated as a hate crime. Yeah, I guess!! Beating on black woman half your white ass’ side all the while calling her a “fucking n*gger bitch.” Please tell me that’s not racial.

    Between Glenn Beck’s ugly ass and mouth and the GOP throwing all their “other” bullshit with the health care debate.

  4. Unlike a few of those commenters at Huckleberries…. 15 minutes are up”…..she mighta made it up insinuations….

    As morphus points out: “the sentiments that lead them to believe their actions are acceptable stem from every-day bigotry and an unwillingness to confront it.” So writes Andrea Vogt

    Andrea Vogt wrote a book about Bill Wassmuth’s journey up north there.

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