Feb 152006
Authors: Vimal Patel regionalcollegian.com

Hate fliers attacking blacks and Black History Month popped up in CSU parking lots this week.

"We discovered the first batch on Saturday," said Sgt. Chris Wolf of CSU Police Department. "Someone's probably distributing them at night."

The fliers may be offensive to some, but they are protected speech. However, Wolf said, those placing them on vehicles are still breaking the law by littering.

"They haven't threatened a specific person," he said. "But we'd like to let them know (placing fliers on cars) is not an acceptable practice on campus."

This is a problem that rears its head every once in a while, he added. Anyone who spots someone placing fliers on cars is urged to call CSUPD.

Hal Anderson, a sophomore real estate & finance major who is black, said placing bigoted fliers on vehicles at night is cowardly.

"If you feel adamantly about something you should say it face-to-face," he said. "Do it in a professional manner. Hold a forum and tell people how much you don't like black people."

The fliers called O.J. Simpson a murderer, Kobe Bryant a rapist and Michael Jackson a child molester – but spelled the word "molester" wrong – and stated those individuals are "but a few examples of 'black achievement' that Americans will be celebrating during Black History Month."

Hate groups are on the rise and they're targeting colleges more aggressively, said Hal Mansfield, director of the Religious Movement Resource Center, a Fort Collins-based organization that researches hate groups.

In fact, Mansfield spoke on campus Monday about the issue, the same day another report of the fliers' distribution on campus was received by CSUPD.

"Here I am talking about hate groups and here they are running around in the parking lots," he said. "I couldn't have scripted it better to show that colleges should look at the issue more closely."

Lydia Kelow, interim assistant director at the Office of Black Student Services, said the university has a strong commitment to promoting diversity, but that plenty of work remains.

"I'd like to see more intentional recruitment of minorities at this school," she said.

The Rev. Al Sharpton, a civil rights leader and former presidential candidate, was at the University of Colorado-Boulder on Tuesday where he addressed the spate of racial incidents there that have made headlines.

The blunt preacher said blatant bigotry is a concern, but that the real problem is far more entrenched and institutionalized.

"Those are the idiots who don't know how to do it subtly," he said. "We can handle those idiots."

Anderson agreed with Sharpton, saying more subtle issues like housing and job discrimination are of greater concern.

"I really don't care much about the fliers because they're not man enough to bring it to my face," he said.

Still, blatant bigotry like that contained in the fliers is a problem because the propagated stereotypes cause pain, Kelow said.

"I'm concerned about people who assume all blacks can dance or sing, or all black women must be single mothers," she said.

Mansfield said the community should show a strong response to the incident, emphasizing its commitment to diversity. But the group loves the publicity, he said, so address the issue of diversity without addressing the group.

"You don't want to get in a running battle with this group. They thrive on that," he said. "But not giving a community response can embolden them."

On Wednesday afternoon, the group bragged about the media attention it received in Colorado, including in the state's two major papers.

"Of course, it's the same ignorant multiracialist bilge over and over again," the Web site states. "But every time they spell our name right, more White people can find out who and where we are, and come to communicate with us on their own, without the filter of the Jewish media control."

Vimal Patel can be reached at campus@collegian.com.

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