Racists are starting the new year off with hate propaganda being delivered in some neighborhoods across the country. Racism – white supremacy – acts are growing at alarming numbers. In Clintonville, a neighborhood in Columbus, Ohio, residents received a surprising happy new year gift!
Racists deliver hate propaganda to Columbus neighborhoods
On New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, several residents of the Sharon Heights area on Columbus’ North Side found plastic bags at the end of their driveways with mints inside. And racist, white-supremacist literature. “I was walking my dog and ended up finding them,” said Beth Pettibone, who […]
On New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, several residents of the Sharon Heights area on Columbus’ North Side found plastic bags at the end of their driveways with mints inside.
And racist, white-supremacist literature.
“I was walking my dog and ended up finding them,” said Beth Pettibone, who found one on New Year’s Eve and another on New Year’s Day on East Stanton Avenue in the Clintonville neighborhood. She said she also was disturbed that whoever distributed the flyers seemed to target some houses and not others: She found three in driveways on Stanton and two in driveways on Morning Street.
“I never saw anything like this in the neighborhood,” Pettibone said.
But similar flyers were found in another Clintonville neighborhood last summer, north of the Kroger store at North High Street and West North Broadway, said Libby Wetherholt, who leads the Clintonville Area Commission.
“People were livid,” Wetherholt said. Clintonville is an area that is civically engaged with a liberal bent.
“It seems like they would have to know that they wouldn’t get a very good welcome,” Wetherholt said.
“For the most part, that’s not how people think around here.”
There were two different flyers distributed in Sharon Heights last week. One said it was from the National Socialist Movement with a swastika on a shield, a Detroit address and a Minnesota phone number. Among other things, that flyer said: “We are against race-mixing and non-white immigration.”
The other flyer, with the words “It’s OK To Be WHITE,” said it was from the East Coast Knights of the True Invisible Empire — the Ku Klux Klan — with a central Pennsylvania phone number.
No one returned calls The Dispatch made to the numbers on the flyers.
The Southern Poverty Law Center tracks incidents such as these. The Clintonville flyers are consistent with what the organization has seen nationwide.
“Groups feel emboldened by the political environment,” said spokesman Ryan Lenz, who said there is a new generation of extremists.
He said liberal areas often are targeted. Groups distributing flyers want to provoke residents and others who might come across them.
“They’re trying to get the left to react in a way that lets (the supremacists) control the narrative,” Lenz said. His organization has seen the KKK distribute mints with flyers, hoping to attract children, he said.
Supremacist groups also target college campuses, Lenz said. That includes Ohio State University, where a group called Identity Evropa distributed flyers on Nov. 4, 2016, and at Antioch College in Yellow Springs near Dayton on Sept. 1, 2017, where Vanguard America spread flyers.
Since March 2016, the Southern Poverty Law Center has tracked 329 incidents on 241 campuses across the country.
Columbus police can’t do anything about it. In an email to B.J. White, the Clintonville area commissioner for the Sharon Heights area, Columbus Police Officer Ted Stacy wrote that there is no legal way to stop this type of material from being distributed.
“They have a right to their free speech and you have a right to throw it away without reading it,” wrote Stacy, who is the community liaison officer for the area.
White, who lives on East Kanawha Avenue, said she found literature at the end of three driveways of neighbors who are snowbirds and not home.
She called it a “covert way to express propaganda.”
“I love the mints. That was such a nice touch,” she said sarcastically.
White said she asked people on the Clintonville Discussion Forum Facebook page whether anyone else had received the flyers.
Paul Carringer, a former Clintonville area commission member and Sharon Heights resident, said flyers such as this have been distributed before, the last time three years ago.
“It doesn’t represent the neighborhood,” he said. “We see it come and go and come and go.”
Keith Beveridge, president of the Sharon Heights Neighborhood Association, said he was unaware that this was happening, calling it “very disturbing.”
Nancy Stewart, a Sharon Heights resident, said she does not want something such as this to grow in Columbus.
“I hate to see it getting too far,” Stewart said. “It’s hard to believe in this day and age that this is still happening.”