Opinion: Alaska must deal with its racist past
"The decision to refer the recent attack on a Native man in downtown Anchorage to the FBI for consideration as a hate crime is the right decision. Two bullies are accused of accosting him, taunting him, mocking his rural Alaska speech, kicking him and shoving him around. Their actions were unprovoked; he was simply a Native man in the wrong place at the wrong time, the victim of a random act of hate.

The incident would have gone unnoticed had not the alleged perpetrators posted their crime on the Internet. Until it was pulled off YouTube, they probably gained significant status points in the sub-culture of hatred that exists in Alaska. I can see a group of neo-Nazis gathered around a computer yukking it up as they watched the Native man extend his hand for a peaceful handshake only to have it slapped away and told, "I hate you Eskimos."

Acts such as this cannot be ignored, just as Alaska's racist history cannot be ignored. In a July ADN op-ed piece Preston Jones opined racism in Alaska was not serious during the first half of the 20th century, perpetuating the myth that because life was hard everyone got along. That he is wrong would be less troubling if it weren't for the fact that he is writing a history of Anchorage and apparently going to romanticize the social construct of this quaint little frontier town. In fact, Alaska in general and Anchorage in particular have a long history of racism, some of it overt, much of it covert and some of it institutionalized."

Get the Story:
Alan Boraas: Alaska must deal with its racist past (The Anchorage Daily News 8/22)

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