In a few days, the United States will observe Black History Month, a time when the nation reflects on its past and notes the progress we have made in race relations.
There are many who say that journey is near its end. This past week we received jarring evidence this is far from the case.
The Drudge Report, a conservative news aggregation website, on Thursday posted a link to a Dispatch news story about a fast food restaurant employee allegedly putting menstrual fluid and saliva on a customer’s order. What had been an alarming local story suddenly attracted readers all over the country and beyond.
The Dispatch story attracted 728 comments before we shut down the comment section, the most comments in memory. Of those responses, 146 were violently racist, focusing on the fact the suspect in the case is black.
Based on IP addresses, the comments came from almost every corner of the country and beyond. That one in five of those comments was bitterly racist is a disturbing reminder that however much progress we would like to think we have made as a society, the ugly roots of racism persist, perhaps even flourish.
Many of the comments are crude, repugnant and inexcusable. They are racist, and often invoke the N-word.
While the alleged actions of the teen charged with the original act are repugnant, if not depraved, the outpouring of hate and intolerance evoked by publication of the story in the Drudge Report is sickening.
If we are to honestly confront the enduring racism that holds us back as a people, we must take an unflinching look at where we are.
For those willing to do that, The Dispatch has compiled the 146 overtly racist comments here. Again, we warn the reader; these comments expose a dark, ugly side of humanity.
All comments have been removed from the story on our website, but if you wish to see the complete archive of those 728 comments, we have archived them here.
The Dispatch Editorial Board is made up of publisher Peter Imes, columnist Slim Smith, managing editor Zack Plair and senior newsroom staff.