Equality still a problem in America

RACISM: Race continues to be a divide after decades of progress.


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I thought the days of white supremacy and racial ignorance were over in the U.S.

Apparently, I was wrong.

In a tiny town about five hours southwest of Grand Forks, a man by the name of Paul Craig Cobb is attempting an ignorant task. He is trying to buy up land in this little town and invite other white nationalists — like himself — to come live there. He intends to buy all the property and force out all races except Caucasians.

Sound crazy? Yeah, I thought so, too.

The town of Leith, N.D. reportedly has approximately 25 residents — not that influential of a number in the grand scheme of things. However, that is no reason to attempt to force out other races. As the story goes, Cobb started off his scheme by asking residents of Leith if they had property for sale. He never told them why, but was simply inquiring. According to CNN.com, Leith has a single African- American resident named Bobby Harper who is married to a white woman. The two have gotten their fair share of hate mail from supporters of Cobb, but also have received some inspiring support from their fellow townsmen.

I honestly can’t believe this is actually happening.

Does this Cobb fellow understand how far America has come in equalizing different races? The minute anyone utters racial slurs or discriminates on television or radio, the media explodes. We are a culture that no longer tolerates racism. Sure, there are still plenty of racist individuals roaming around out there, but our society finds it despicable to broadcast their views so openly. I can’t fathom what Cobb is thinking. It’ll be a phenomenon if his crazy plan goes through.

Cobb isn’t the only white nationalist who is seeking residence in Leith. Individuals such as April Gaede and Nationalist Socialist Movement commander Jeff Schoep claim to have land in Leith as well. Between letters to the mayor of Leith, online postings, and direct communication with the Harpers, the media has exposed several of the nationalist’s pro-white comments, including:

“…we’re being ‘deracinated’ in our own country,”

“If anything, you should see this for what it is, a chance at revitalizing a community,”

“…laughable, pathetic what this country has come to,” and

“…filthy, race-mixing white woman.”

These are quotes from white nationalists, courtesy of CNN, who disapprove of the Harpers for being an multi-race couple. Gaede and Schoep also believe Cobb is right to “revitalize” the community and make it strictly Caucasian.

It obviously isn’t right. It’s disheartening to see that America hasn’t fully moved past discrimination.

I don’t care if this is just a tiny town in the middle-of-nowhere North Dakota. Actions such as these affect us all. It hurts us as a nation when we have individuals ignorant enough to assume that one race is superior. You would think we had learned from our bloodstained past racial discrimination isn’t the answer. It doesn’t do any good to assume one race is dominant over another. Each American citizen is entitled to reside wherever they choose. It is correct that Cobb isn’t breaking any laws in his efforts to buy out the town’s land, but his reasoning behind it is wrong.

We are all guilty of feeling frustrated or impatience at various races for not assimilating quickly enough or at all to the American ways. It’s normal to have these feelings when our way of life is disrupted. But the fact of the matter is that the Harpers are not in any way disrupting a way of life. They are a part of that town. Both Bobby Harper and his wife Sherrill have ties to the town and have no reason to be ousted.

It’s shocking to discover such ignorance still exists. I have no idea how this whole ordeal will go down, but I’m sure the Harpers won’t go down without a fight. Luckily, it seems like their fellow townsmen are standing by their side. It’s stories like these that trigger other culturally ignorant people to lash out. I fear for what other circumstances could arise, especially following in the wake of so many shootings and bombings in our nation as of late. However, I truly hope America as a whole can continue to rise above situations such as this Leith town “reform” and start getting our act together.

Mary Ochs is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. She can be reached at [email protected]

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