For all the hope and excitement Obama's candidacy is generating, some of his field workers, phone-bank volunteers and campaign surrogates are encountering a raw racism and hostility that have gone largely unnoticed -- and unreported -- this election season. Doors have been slammed in their faces. They've been called racially derogatory names (including the white volunteers). And they've endured malicious rants and ugly stereotyping from people who can't fathom that the senator from Illinois could become the first African American president.
Merida writes about several incidents, like one in Kokomo, Ind., where on primary day, "a group of black high school students were holding up Obama signs along U.S. 31, a major thoroughfare. As drivers cruised by, a number of them rolled down their windows and yelled out a common racial slur for African Americans." He also mentions voters who've said they wouldn't vote for Obama because of his race, and an incident in Vincennes, Ind., in which an Obama campaign office was vandalized: "A large plate-glass window was smashed, an American flag stolen. Other windows were spray-painted with references to Obama's controversial former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, and other political messages: 'Hamas votes BHO' and 'We don't cling to guns or religion. Goddamn Wright.'"