Well, I’m coming to this one a litte late. More than a week late, in fact, which in the timescale of the Blogosphere might as well be several geologic ages, but hey, this sort of thing flies under the radar of most people, and those not reading the Berkeley blogs probably haven’t seen anything about it (much more timely commentary from Berkeley bloggers – from right to left – can be found here, here and here).

It appears that on Christmas Eve, the African-American Theme House, one of the 20 or so houses of the United Students Co-operative Association, was graffittied up with a swastika and the symbol of the Aryan Brotherhood (a cross inside a circle).

No two ways about it folks, it’s ugly and despicable, and I sincerely hope the perpetrator is found and stomped thoroughly . However, there are also those who will want to use this rare, bizarre, singular incident as evidence of some simmering bedrock of racism existing just below the surface in Berkeley, ready to burst out in an orgy of cross-burnings and lynchings the moment the brave folks at BAMN let their guard down for even a second.

As the original article noted, the Aryan Brotherhood is a prison group, frequented mostly by the more hardcore criminals. Not exactly the kind of outfit you’d find a lot of frat boys engaging in. What is likely to have happened is some skinheaded schmuck newly out of San Quentin and eager to display his pride in the white race crusies around Berkeley looking for some worthy target of his Aryan wrath, and he happens upon the African American theme house .” Anyone driving by with their eyes open would notice it, and it’s not as if someone looking for some typical example of Berkeley liberal multi-culturalism would go searching all over Berkeley for it. They would necessarily confine their search to some place within a couple blocks of the campus. We’re not talking about needle/haystack territory here.

In fact, you get from the Indymedia article a sense of horror and outrage that this kind of thing could ever happen in Berkeley, but come on. Where else would it happen? Self-satisfied pretentious progressives get a stiffy just thinking about how high-profile Berkeley is nationally in terms of aggressive, self-conciously conspicuous liberalism, and then they’re surprised when they’re singled out by those who aren’t just contemptuous of that sort of silliness (like, say, the whole country) but who are actively hateful and have too much time on their hands?

When you set yourself up as a city full of nutty left-wing racialist extremism, don’t be surprised when you become a lightning rod for some nutty, right-wing racist extremism.

last update : 22-5-2018

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