Imagine listening to National Public Radio back in 1963 - I know NPR didn't exist until 1970 - and hearing this long, favorable report: "Throughout Georgia, young White men are forming vigilante groups to end interracial relationships between Negro men and White women." What if the report had read, in its entirety:
There is a new enemy for some Southerners: Romance between White women and Negro men, and vigilantes have banded together to fight it. The vigilante groups are walking the streets and towns across Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama and Mississippi. The largest and most notorious is in the suburban neighborhoods that have sprung up in and around traditionally Negro towns. Reporter Sarah Palin joined one of the groups on patrol.
SARAH PALIN: The small, white Chevy Impala swings into a nearly deserted parking lot and does a quick look around. It's just after 10:00 at night, and the lot is clearly a prime destination for a teenage date night in the suburban township of Forrestville. But Bubba Joe, a 31-year-old who lives here, is out for a different kind of prowl.
BUBBA JOE: Go down to that parking center. Stop, stop, one minute. That's them over there. Check if there is a White girl in that car over there.
PALIN: Every night, BUBBA JOE, who asked not to be called by his real name, patrols this and other neighboring White suburbs and towns. His mission is to find White-Negro couples and break up their dates.
BUBBA JOE: My heart hurts every time I see a White girl with a Negro. It's extremely upsetting. I asked myself: How did we get to this situation? How did we descend to this level? It is a serious step backwards, in our eyes.
PALIN: Bubba Joe is the leader of a group of vigilantes that goes by several names, including Fire For White Purity and Love of Youth. They say they number between 30 and 40 men and patrol the streets each night. Officially, they're on the lookout for any mixed couples, but T.S.(ph) a member of the group who often serves as Bubba Joe's driver, says the problem lies solely with Negro men dating White girls.
LONNY REB: These men approach the girl in a nice way. They buy her things. They build trust with the woman so that given some time, the girls just blindly follow them. And with time, one friend follows another, and soon enough, you have a commune made up of these kinds of girls.
PALIN: Comparable groups have formed across the country. In Mariott, an industrial city in Georgia's center, the municipality has formed a special division to address what it sees as the problem of underage Negro-White couples. But in Forrestville, the couplings are an unforeseen byproduct of the growing number of White suburbs that have been built across largely Negro small farm communities.
The small stretch of benches outside Forrestville's only soda fountain seems to be ground zero for teenagers here, no matter what background or race. Beverly Smith, a 16-year-old White teenager, says that she gets approached by Negro men every day.
BEVERLY SMITH: We were walking on our own to the soda fountain and a group of Negro boys drove by and were yelling at us, hey hot girls, and we didn't pay them any attention. We aren't interested in them. This happens to us almost three times a day, at least.
PALIN: But she and her friends understand why some girls decide to defy local norms and date Negro men.
BEVERLY SMITH: There are a lot of girls that go out with Negros because Negro boys are wild. They're bad boys. Some girls like that. I think they like us because Pickaninny girls are all conservative and wear the covering on their hair and we dress normally.
PALIN: Bubba Joe says the mixed dating is a growing epidemic, one that his group hopes to stop by handing out explanatory 45-RPM records and mimeograph sheets to girls they call known-problem cases.
On one late night patrol, he spotted a White girl entering a car with several Negro men. He intervened, but was unable to persuade her to leave, and the car sped off, hitting his leg. For nearly 30 minutes he followed the car as it threaded its way through the serpentine hill roads that connect the closely packed White subdivisions and Negro farming areas east of Forrestville.
BUBBA JOE: Using physical force with the girls won't work. Our goal is to talk to the girls and to convince them that their place is with Southern tradition and the White race, not with our enemies. There are four girls that we have intervened with and saved since we started. Even if we rescued only one girl, we have done our part. We have done a good deed, and we thank God and our friends in the KKK for it.
PALIN: Tonight, he gives up his chase when THE Georgia State Troopers agree to let him file a complaint against the driver of the car that struck him. He hopes that drawing attention to the incident will embarrass the girl and force her to leave her boyfriend. He says it's one more girl he might save. For NPR News, I'm Sarah Palin in Forrestville.
That report wasn't filed in 1963. But THIS ONE was, in October 2009. Sure, this isn't the United States, it is a foreign country. But it is being reported by the so-called pillar of liberal media, National Public Radio. If you click on the link, you can read the report's transcript. More telling might be to listen to the on-air podcast while reading my re-casting of this to the American South in the early mid-60s. I can't remember any report on NPR before that praised the efforts of vigilantes. This morning, Susie Knidler wrote a great takedown of the NPR report for Mondoweiss:
We’ve all wondered when NPR would investigate the bigotry underlying the Occupation and ever-growing colonization of Palestine. Yesterday, Morning Edition finally announced a piece on how groups of Israeli men roam streets, intimidating Palestinian and Jewish people who date each other. I looked forward to an expose’ of the thugs’ intolerance. Sadly, NPR spit out the opposite: a paean to the racism of those Israelis. Renee Montagne opens with the "news" that, "There is a new enemy for some Israelis: romance between Jewish women and Arab men, and vigilantes have banded together to fight it. The vigilante groups are walking the streets and towns across Israel. The largest and most notorious is in the Jewish settlements that have sprung up in and around traditionally Arab East Jerusalem."
What does Montagne mean, "Jewish settlements" "have sprung up" amid "traditionally Arab" East Jerusalem? Montagne misleads listeners from the outset, declining to mention either the illegal Israeli Occupation of Palestinian lands or its continual theft and violence toward the people of Palestine. Just yesterday, the Israeli government demolished yet more Palestinian-owned buildings in East Jerusalem, without a peep from NPR.
NPR seems to be steering more and more in his direction. The most striking part of this segment to me was the barely disguised disdain in Sheera Frenkel's voice as she narrated. I know and know of several Israeli-Palestinian couples, either dating or married. They're all so happy together. What more could anyone want?