Aberdeen Paper Criticizes Diversity Coalition for Not Making Noise Like Xenophobes

Aberdeen’s xenophobes club is bringing another pair of GOP-linked anti-Muslim faqirs (feel free to imagine more descriptive mispronunciations and misspellings) to town Friday night to whip up more Klannish hysteria. The pole-dance analogy persists: the angry, frightened souls wasting a good Friday evening on an adulterer warning of threats to Christian civilization won’t see or hear anything they haven’t already gotten from the ugly stream of rage-titillators our SPLC-certified hate group has been bringing to town since last August. They certainly won’t emerge from their dank lecture hall with any plans for positive action. They’ll just stroke their fantasies for a couple hours, then eat meat packed by immigrants and drive home on roads paved by immigrants.

Strangely, the Aberdeen American News, which has made several hundred dollars already from sizable ads for the Friday Klan meeting, chooses to upbraid not these peddlers of lies and hate but the good guys, the Aberdeen Area Diversity Coalition, for not acting like the bad guys and waging a big PR campaign.

In an editorial today, the AAN says the Diversity Coalition has “failed” to counter the racists’ effort to “dominate[] the local discussion of refugees and immigrants and their place in our community.” The newspaper says that while the xenophobes are hosting “seemingly successful” evening programs (which a few hundred in Brown County have attended, while over 30,000 Brown Countians have not), the local Diversity Coalition seems to be hiding:

Meanwhile, the Aberdeen Area Diversity Coalition has been meeting every other Thursday at the Aberdeen Recreation and Cultural Center, at an inopportune mid-morning time. Though the meetings are open to the public, only about a dozen folks gather, mostly those who are sympathetic to their cause. The group has no web or social media presence; it has not sponsored any events on par with other groups, or hosted any speakers. Its visible outreach to the community has been minimal [Aberdeen American News, editorial, 2017.06.15].

The AAN implores the Diversity Coalition to fight fire with fire:

Today, we implore the Aberdeen Area Diversity Coalition — like the other task force, a self-appointed group, but with true nonprofit status — to go where the people are. Get a Facebook page going with links to accurate news stories, and talk about the real challenges facing Aberdeen.

The coalition should look toward local, regional and national speakers and programs who can turn the talking points away from hate, fear and mistrust and closer to understanding, working together and what it all means [AAN, 2017.06.15].

I dig where the editorial is coming from (though not their failure to more directly chastise the organizers and presenters at the hate meetings as paranoid, lying racists). But they are facilitating the false equivalence that Aberdeen’s hate group wants.

The Aberdeen Area Diversity Coalition came into being to do actual tasks, to help new Americans feel at home in Aberdeen. They are doing the right thing. The “Americans First, Task Force” didn’t form to do real tasks; they’re just flipping the bird at the Diversity Coalition’s efforts. They are doing the wrong thing.

The xenophobes bring mercenary speakers from out of state to insult local Lutherans, social workers, elected officials, Muslims, leftists, and any other bogeymen they can verbally burn in effigy. They fan their flames with incendiary and often deceptive articles on their Facebook page. They are not engaged in any real community activism. They are not reaching out to help anyone or promote civil discourse. Anyone who seeks an honest exchange of ideas or correction of simple factual error is shouted down and bullied or booted out of their forums.

The Diversity Coalition has real work to do. The time and money they would spend organizing programs anything like what the xenophobes’ club is doing are better spent on donations to Lutheran Social Services, on welcome baskets for newly arrived immigrants, on the language-learning materials they’ll be stocking in “The A Place” in our new public library, and on any number of other practical bits of social outreach.

I could be wrong. Maybe the Diversity Coalition would do well to host programs to raise the visibility of local refugees and immigrants, to help us see them (us… them… that’s a problem) as vital members of our community. But maybe all those new Americans don’t want that visibility. Maybe they find it not just unseemly but distracting to shout for our love because they’re too busy working, raising their kids, keeping in touch with loved ones still in harm’s way overseas, and writing and calling to get immigration papers through the bureaucracy so they can reunite families and friends.

And maybe we shouldn’t expect the Diversity Coalition to bring in outside speakers to tell us simple truths that we should already know: We are all immigrants. Aberdeen and America need immigrants. Helping people from other lands makes America stronger. I’d like to think truth and tolerance are easier to sustain than lies and hate.

It does not make sense to “implore” the Aberdeen Area Diversity Coalition to act like the “Americans First, Task Force,” because the Diversity Coalition and the Americans Firsters are different creatures. The Diversity Coalition is other-oriented, seeking to serve. The Americans Firsters pretend to serve but are really self-oriented, seeking to reinforce through noise and numbers their own fears, and their own selfish desire to keep the blessings and privileges of America to themselves.

Maybe the Diversity Coalition should respond to the Americans Firsters. But maybe to respond in kind is to be their kind.

17 Responses to Aberdeen Paper Criticizes Diversity Coalition for Not Making Noise Like Xenophobes

  1. Thank you Cory for articulating so well a response to today’s article. We, the diversity coalition members noticed it but had no time to discuss much about it during today’s two hour meeting. We instead proceeded to talk about advancing our initiatives and dealing with the challenges that arise along the way. Interestingly enough, ours is an open to the public forum…like social media in many ways…but constructive.

  2. “Aberdeen’s xenophobes club . . . GOP-linked anti-Muslim faqirs” . . . to town Friday night to whip up more Klannish hysteria. . . . angry, frightened souls . . .ugly stream of rage-titillators. . . . our SPLC-certified hate group . . . . their dank lecture hall . . . .the Friday Klan meeting . . . peddlers of lies and hate”

    One could read this and think you are trying to goad a wacko to take a gun to the meeting and shoot a few of these people up.

    You’d think you could go a day without the heated rhetoric and hyperbole.

  3. Roger Cornelius

    I just read some of the comments on Powers DWC about the D.C. area congressional shooting yesterday.
    While Pat did an excellent commentary on everybody pulling back a little and keeping their rhetoric in check, you and the other Powers followers chastised Cory for not posting an apology blog to republicans. When Cory did comment about how despicable this shooting and other shootings are you continued to with the hyperbole and heated rhetoric in blaming Democrats and Liberals for the shooting.
    Pick a lane Troy, you can’t have it both ways.

  4. Alex Sherice

    Don’t everyone take the bait at once from Troy here.

  5. Roger Cornelius

    The Pennington Co. republicans and other paranoid xenophobes bring their dog and pony show to the Rapid City Civic Center this evening.
    As the Klansen whip up fear and hate in their sheep, local protesters from Invisible Rapid City will be holding a protest to counter their lies.

  6. Donald Pay

    It’s sad how far down into the sewage of hate and, worse, bad journalism, the Aberdeen American News’ editors is willing to take its once proud paper. A reputable journal of record would refuse hateful ads that try to stir up ethnic hatred against city residents. Good journalism would bring the side of the story that ANN feels is not being told to the public, not insist that those good folks pay them for ad space. What’s wrong with THEM actually doing journalism?

  7. Troy, I reject wholeheartedly your effort to lump me and anyone else who critiques right-wing racists and bigots in with one murderous psycho, whose use of violence, it should go without saying, I also reject whoelheartedly. Next issue.

    Additionally, I use no hyperbole. I mean every word I say, and every word I say is true (although I will grant that, if the DEC has the AC on, “dank” will be more metaphorical than meteorological).

  8. Now, let’s stay on track. We’re not talking about a psychopath who shoots people. We’re talking about South Dakotans who weaken America by peddling fear and hate (no exaggeration, Troy) and undermining our promise of liberty and justice for all. We’re also talking the appropriate response that the brave patriots of the Diversity Coalition should undertake. Ioana suggests that the coalition recognizes its field of action is not PR and slideshows at the DEC but practical service to others. Is Ioana right? Is that enough?

  9. Mr. C, it will be tough for the Invisible Rapid City people to get noticed, don’t you think? I suggest bandages like Claude Rains wore in that movie.
    I jest with you, of course. I think those fellows follow some sort of code of behavior that is reasonable and respectful for the most extent.

  10. What would Dan Lederman do regarding this meeting in Aberdeen and elsewhere in our state to diminish them? Well, looking at his recent history, he would throw a party to throw some shade. Why not have a concert like used to happen in the old days of protest? I am sure there are some local bands who would love to have a good time for a good cause. Pay them for their efforts and drown out the hate. Face the music (pun intended), Pass the hat for the local food bank or for something else that is community driven. If the paper is wondering about dealing with the hate of diversity, they could promote the music with free advertising. Put some skin in the game AAN. Nothing irks haters more that seeing people having a good time. The xenophobes have a hate in, everyone else has a good time with music and good cheer. For each advertisement the xenophobes pay for, AAN gives the same space to promote the music as a community service.

  11. It’s sad that the American News approach is wanting to sell more ads. This once proud defender of the 4th Estate should return to its roots by championing right, instead of the silly ‘he said, she said’ ‘tell both sides of the story’ nonsense. The American News should tell its readers what it stands for. The American News should tell its readers what kind of community it wants to live in. This is not the time to flippantly or acquiesce to the tyranny of the minority or majority. It is time to do the right thing. Doing the dying cockroach to stoke ad dollars or faux narratives or inflame mindless passions does the community no favor.

    And remember folks, that far, far and away the vast majority of home grown violence is from white alt-right zealotry. The right wing zealous folks create more domestic violence than occurs from home-grown ISIS sympathizers.

    Folks whom championed ‘2d Amendment solutions’ or turned a blind eye to those that so did are complicit in all the violence – not merely that against the representative and Capitol Police.

  12. Porter Lansing

    Let’s give Troy Jones a chance. I’m sure he’s going to present a solid response to these hate groups that are attacking the state on his Catholic radio station. How ’bout it, Troy Boy?
    Lamb Radio
    Agnus Dei Communications Board of Directors
    President – Miles Beacom
    Vice President – Troy Jones

  13. Mr. Jones owns a radio station? Wow.

  14. Porter Lansing

    Since no one wants to start, let me be the first to begin a few lessons on how Islam and it’s true followers feel about the world and where their religion of peace and love ❤️ fits into it. Let’s start with the concept of JANNAH ….. https://www.google.com/search?q=jannah

  15. Jerry, I think a nice noisy concert might be good counterprogramming. Could we get Yusuf Islam to play? He could set up in the Target parking lot, right across from the DEC.