Aberdeen Paper Catches Anti-Refugee Commentariat in Racist Double Standard

Last week, an Aberdeen resident wrote to the Aberdeen American News audience saying we shouldn’t call her ignorant and racist for opposing the resettlement of refugees in Aberdeen.

This morning, the Aberdeen American News issues a brilliant rebuke, pointing out that a lot of the comments it receives blasting refugees is truly ignorant and racist:

As of this writing, there are 93 comments on an American News Facebook thread about this topic. Many if not most are negative to the resettlement concept. Some comments are grossly wrong, and some are truly offensive.

What is being lost is a sense of decency and respect for people who are suffering around the globe, and for the South Dakotans who genuinely want to help.

Could those opposed ever step back far enough to admit that, yes, helping others is a worthy goal, and this idea comes from a genuinely good place?

With that acknowledgement, some common ground and real sensible solutions might be found.

We know the community groupthink is capable of these nuances. This is the same Facebook commentariat that, just weeks ago, reminded us that those accused in a local high-profile drug case — white South Dakotans — are “innocent until proven guilty.”

Refugees, on the other hand, are assumed to be something else altogether.

The word “refugee” conjures up stereotypical images: vaguely Middle Eastern, possibly Muslim.

The truth is that the vast, vast majority of these people are just people like us, only in desperate need of help and relief [editorial, “Three Things to Know About Refugee Conversation,” Aberdeen American News, 2016.05.01].

The editors refer here to the April 14 arrest of upstanding white funeral home directors James and George Schriver on drug and DUI charges. Police searched the funeral home and found marijuana, meth, seventeen firearms, and no refugees or forged immigration papers.

24 Responses to Aberdeen Paper Catches Anti-Refugee Commentariat in Racist Double Standard

  1. mike from iowa

    and this surprised no one,no how.

  2. I am pleased that my local paper is willing to call out reader ignoramity.

  3. Roger Cornelius

    For some reason white privilege comes to mind.

  4. What some now call refugees used to be called pilgrims.

  5. Ed Campbell

    Brilliant comment Mark! May I quote you?

  6. Clara Hart

    How quickly we forget our own journey to the new world. Mark Winegar wisely referred them as “Pilgrims”. More education is needed to the insecure and misinformed.

  7. mike from iowa

    You would probably need to un-brainwash these people before you could educate them. Especially when they get their marching orders from Fake Noise Channel, imho.

  8. Robin Friday

    Mr. Perry and his editorial staff do an excellent job on their editorials. I appreciate that they are not afraid to take a position which seems to be unpopular with the public, “tell it like it is”, and set them straight. Thanks, J. J. Perry and staff, and thanks, Cory.

  9. Beautiful example of “how it is done”, Cory. thx

    way to go AAN editors!

  10. Power of the Pen.


    this is also an example of the power a local news paper wields.

    in today’s RCJ, front page, two separate articles are unable to grasp the baffling puzzle of why a drunk will be arrested over and over for years upon years.

    statistics show there are hundreds of drunk drivers on the roads every day in SD, risking killing our loved ones. The AG, police, judges and MADD scratch their heads and keep trying to punish alcoholics for being ill. They think 24/7, prison, ankle bracelets, ignition locks, and PBTs, and harsher 1st time penalties will protect the innocent public and punish the “criminals” for being unable to cure an incurable disease.

    this is a lot like NRA saying it has no responsibility for how the guns it wishes every member of the public to buy, will be used.

    They waste time, money and lives steeped in stigma as old as drinking is.

    I’ll say it again: They waste PRICELESS time, money and lives steeped in stigma as old as drinking is.

    those drinkers who are not alcoholics don’t know what every AA or other rehabilitation participant in healthy recovery knows to the depth of ones’ marrow:

    Angry punishment for disease symptoms is living in the dark ages. County commissioners, public defenders, states attorneys, judges, cops, MADD, state law enforcement and the governor MUST understand the science and design ALL further policies with the science at the forefront. otherwise the law will have little effect on the outcome. All of these people are highly educated, and experienced but ignorant of the very disease they try to control.

    this is a fact.

    try telling cancer it won’t kill you.

  11. happy camper

    It would be better to read those comments for ourselves so we can make our decision about what they said and what was meant. Did they not give the link? Groupthink happens everywhere even at DFP.

  12. To stop DUIs do what’s done in Europe – confiscate and forfeit the instrument of the crime. No vehicle. No DUI. It gets real expensive and inconvenient real quick. And no one will “loan” a known drunk a vehicle knowing the risk they could lose it – and still owe on payments. It ain’t rocket science. It’s personal responsibility. Regardless of the “sick” or illness” moniker – if one has another disease they don’t go around infecting and affecting the rest of the public.

  13. Nice job, AAN & Cory in calling out the double-standard racists and bigots.

  14. happy camper

    But what about the bigots here: a person who is utterly intolerant of any differing creed, belief, or opinion.

  15. David Newquist

    More than ten years ago, just the kind of comments referred to here eliminated Aberdeen from being the site for a plains-centered think tank.
    News media studies show that such comments affect the credibility and trust of the media in which they appear. People judge the character of communities by them.

  16. mike from iowa

    Glad to see Happy finally show up. If memory serves,HC was one of the first to defend the beer chucker at hockey game and possibly even Westerhuis after murder/suicide. He doesn’t appear to believe that Muslim women and children deserve the innocent until proven guilty protection white people have. That is my opinion.

  17. Syrian Refugees In Canada Face Ongoing Health Challenges and Housing: Study

    Family sizes have been bigger than anticipated, Ms. Emory said. “With a limited housing stock, that housing stock becomes even more limited when you have to place families of five, six, seven, eight and as many as 11 people into a single dwelling.”


  18. john-two things. I’ve been doing this a long time. many decades.

    1. with out transportation, you likely will not work for long.

    2. when the next crises in life occurs, as it always does for every one of us, the alcoholic’s attempt to control symptoms of the illness goes right out the window. the alcoholic drives drunk. as regular as clock work. deterrence does nothing to stop an illness from progressing.

    your denial is the stigma I mentioned. our entire system is based on telling someone with an illness that symptoms are illegal. we spend hundreds of billions, trillions on this in the world. all the stats are google-able. don’t say stupid sheit if you haven’t done the work. start at NIH.

  19. Douglas Wiken

    SD needs booze purchase licenses. If somebody gets a DWI, they lose their purchase license. Put VERY stiff penalties on those who sell to or buy booze for those with a suspended license. Whenever there is an alcohol-related highway crash fatality, require every establishment that sells any alcoholic product shut for a day one week later. Our vehicle insurance should be subsidized by taxes on booze. Roughly half of what we pay for car insurance is a consequence of booze sales. We are all subsidizing the liquor industry even if we never drink a drop. Liquor taxes should also fund ALL rehab programs.

    Too many years ago, I worked in highway safety as a public information officer for general highway safety and the SD:ASAP (alcohol safety action project) which was federally funded. All the SD liquor licenses and sales taxes on alcohol did not cover even half of the social costs due to alcohol-related highway crashes. I have no idea how that compares to today however. But, I suspect not much has changed.

    I know the protocol calls for labeling alcoholism as a disease, but it is an addiction tied to genetic factors. Anybody taking a first drink has about 1 chance in 8 of becoming a person with an alcohol problem. Much easier to never take the first drink than taking the last drink.

  20. It’s nice to see this kind of response to expand the discussion beyond the stereotypes that often predominate. Here in Canada we have taken in over 26,000 Syrian refugees since November and despite the challenges Perry notes of finding housing across the country, including high-rent cities like Vancouver, 69% have obtained permanent housing. Military housing prepared in case it was needed for refugees has been released. My children are attending school with several of the children who have come here.

    Despite opinions to the contrary, immigration is viewed favorably. The blog post Perry links to says: “…there is wide consensus among experts that Canada can and should be taking in more immigrants. Canadians do not reproduce quickly enough to even sustain our modest (in terms of area per capita) population without immigration…”

    Minister of Immigration John McCallum hopes that the successful integration of these refugees will help improve the process for those from other countries. Apparently this includes potential refugees from the US following the election this November:

    “Q: Are you planning a special operation for American refugees, depending on the outcome of the U.S. election in November?

    A: Our doors will be as wide-open for the Americans as they were for the Syrians. But I’ll tell you one thing. My sister lives in the U.S. and is a staunch Democrat. She told me she and thousands of others would be flocking to Canada if George Bush ever won a second term. George Bush did win a second term and I’m not aware of one, including my sister (who came). The last time we had a huge flock of Americans coming it was the Vietnam War draft dodgers. But because of who becomes president? We’ll see.”


  21. Mike, I know Hap and welcome his continued gadlfy-ery. I’m pretty sure he’s wrong, but he makes us check to see if we are and does so more logically than Stu.

    Hap, I’d like to link to the original Facebook comments, but I have to scroll through a ton of AAN FB posts, and FB is so un-search friendly….

  22. …but you can go to Sunday’s post and read someone calling refugees “cockroaches”…