The WTF Files [Mailbag]

Think Progress alerts us to this racial asshattery:


The OhioDaily blog reports on a “rogue” dispatcher from the North Canton Police who recently sent out a racist e-mail from her work account. Dispatcher Anita Malachowski forwarded this message:

    “New “Air Force One” Tail Number and yes, please forgive me, I’m really sorry, I really, really tried not to laugh, but …………………..!”

Attached to the e-mail was an Photoshopped image of Air Force one with NI66ER written on the plane’s tail.

From CNN.com:

An African-American man has pleaded guilty after being accused of impersonating a white supremacist in a fictitious Facebook account to make death threats against an African-American university student. [...]

Hart admitted creating the fictitious account in November, pretending to be a white supremacist outraged by the election of Barack Obama as the nation’s first African-American president, the statement said.

He then transmitted a death threat via Facebook to an African-American student at Nicholls State University in Louisiana, saying he wanted to kill African-Americans because of Obama’s election, according to the statement.

A court document provided by the U.S. attorney’s office said Hart told an FBI interviewer that he intended the threat to be a prank “to get a reaction.”

From the LA Times:

I’d heard of Klan quilts, though they’re surprisingly uncommon — particularly considering that the wives and daughters of “Kluxers” during the early 20th century often got together to socialize and support the cause.

The Michigan State University Museum, I knew, had accepted the gift of a Klan quilt several years ago. According to the donor, his grandfather had won it at a raffle held at a KKK meeting. The white fabric in the blue and white quilt, he said, was recycled Klan sheets, and attendees at the meeting where it was raffled had paid 10 cents each to have their names stitched on the fabric.

I was eager to see what promised to be a fascinating — if disturbing — historical artifact, so one afternoon this spring I met the teacher, Linda Brant, at her school, and we laid out a red, white and blue quilt on a large table. The quilt’s 18 primary blocks each carried a fiery-red cross surrounded by white and blue squares in what quilters call a nine-patch pattern. Each small blue and white square of fabric had meticulous white stitches that formed an “X,” bringing to mind the Confederate flag. The quilt could easily have been seen as simply having a Christian theme. But the story Linda told — along with the bright red crosses often used in Klan imagery — suggested otherwise.

Quilters have longed used their skills in the service of political, social and religious affiliations. Quilts have celebrated sororities and garden clubs; they’ve memorialized AIDS victims and honored subjects of the Tuskegee Experiment. And there was this quilt, celebrating the chilling Klan practice of burning crosses at outdoor meetings or near the homes of those the group wanted to intimidate.

Over the last few decades, I have conducted research on and taught about the role the KKK played in American history. I have seen and handled Klan ephemera before, and it can be unsettling. But seeing this quilt unfolded by the hands of woman who rallied support for Hurricane Katrina victims and who was a staunch supporter of Barack Obama’s candidacy did not unduly disturb me. My thoughts focused on how useful the quilt would be in teaching about the contrasts and connections between early 20th century and early 21st century racial mores. Later, when I took it to a black photographer to document it, we both found it troubling. But that first time, hearing Brant’s candid recollection of her family’s past, my emotions took a back seat to my academic interest.

(Thanks to reader Anna for all the tips!)