Belleville School Bus Incident: Kids, Race, and History

Belleville School Bus Incident: Kids, Race, and History

What Rush Limbaugh and Gateway Pundit Will Not Tell You

By Umar Lee

As I have stated before I have been offline and have not been able to write like I have wanted to because I have been busy with family issues and financial matters. During this time a lot of things have happened and one of the events that has garnered national news coverage is the school bus incident in Belleville, IL.

For those of you unfamiliar with the incident two black students physically attacked a white student aboard a Belleville school bus and the incident was captured on camera. This led right-wing radio hosts such as Rush Limbaugh and right-wing bloggers such as Gateway Pundit (from the St. Louis area) to denounce the attack as racist and ramble on using their usual code-worded diatribes about race.

Let me first say that as school fights go this incident was very minor. Belleville is an Illinois suburb in St. Louis and I can tell you for a fact that when I was going to high school in St. Louis in the early 1990’s that I saw dozens of fights much worse and far more violent than this.

Many of these fights happened to break down along racial lines. Why? Because many friendships are based on neighborhood or family and that tends to lead to racial divisions. Then you have the issue that the St. Louis-area has had poor race relations for many decades and the kids just follow the example of the adults. Next, there is the simple fact that most people just choose to be with other people who look like them.

There is also a culture clash. When my older cousins and father was in school there were racial fights in which sometimes whites won and sometimes blacks won by they were hotly contested. By the time I got to school many white males had been feminized and were a lot softer than the older generation (and it is even worse today). Therefore, when racial fights went down, as they often did, a lot of times the whites would get beat up because they did not know how to fight or could not muster the courage to fight back because they were raised to tell the teacher they were bullied on rather than to fight back. 

Several times I saw groups of black students jump on white students; but I do not see this as racism rather as an example of tough black kids playing by the rules of the streets fighting white kids whose friends would not help them because they come from sheltered suburban environments that do not produce toughness.

This is not to say all young white males are weak. My tough blue-collar white father taught me to fight back from a young age and I know many other white fathers do the same. There are still young white boys on football teams, in boxing gyms, and learning the fighting arts. However, it is just far more common for young white males to be on soccer teams where even the losers get trophies and you can suck and still get cheered.

Belleville borders East St. Louis and many, if not most, white residents of Belleville have their roots in East St. Louis. In the 20th century East St. Louis was marred by racial violence with an anti-black pogrom in the teens and a black race riot in the sixties that led to whites fleeing the city in droves.

 People my age do not remember this, but there used to be affluent white neighborhoods in East Boogie and working-class Irish and Slavic sections. Today ESTL is virtually 100% black and just as many blacks in North St. Louis have migrated to North St. Louis County, and blacks in Southeast DC migrated to Prince Georges County, and blacks on the South Side of Chicago have migrated to the southern suburbs, many ESTL blacks looking for a better life or better schools have migrated to Belleville.

This has created some tension because many whites moved there to get away from blacks in the first place. There have been many reports of the Belleville Police Department harassing African-American motorists in the area.

These issues do not have anything to do with the school bus fight but they put some color on it. Almost anything that happens in the St. Louis area people will ascribe to race. After all this is an area that is divided on almost every level along the lines of race.

Rush Limbaugh knows this well and so does Gateway Pundit. Rush is from Southeastern Missouri, just about an hour and a half drive south from St. Louis, and he has family in St. Louis so I am sure that he knows the area well. Gateway Pundit is from somewhere in the St. Louis area (hence the name) and I will speak to him for a moment.

I know a lot of conservatives in St. Louis and I grew up with quite a few and because of this I have never fell for the sugar-coated version of conservatism touted in the media that even many naive Muslims have fallen for.

To be white and to be conservative in St. Louis more than anything else means that you are hostile towards African-Americans. Back in the day you opposed bussing and later you may have fought to keep your neighborhood white and when you could no longer do that you ran out to St. Charles County (a county that happens to be the most Republican and probably the most racist county in the state) or someplace similar.  You and your buddies don’t like paying taxes because you are not trying to support “lazy ni##ers in North St. Louis sitting on their asses on welfare”.  Today you do not support health-insurance reform for the same reason.

They get outraged when they see this tape because maybe it brings back bad memories for them of their days in school or maybe it just reminds them of how big of pussies they are. Limbaugh and Gateway Pundit talk a lot of stuff; but would they be willing to talk their crap in North St. Louis or the East Side? No, just like they would never have supported the war on Iraq if they had to go and fight themselves.

In this globalized era these people have new enemies to hate; Muslims, Mexicans, ACORN, etc.; but their hate was first for the blacks in their area.  When they saw that white boy get beaten they thought of their own fear. Limbaugh thought of the nightmares he probably had of Donovan McNabb cold bitch-slapping his ass. Gateway Pundit thought of the nightmares of being locked up with a black Muslim cellmate reading the transcripts of his blog before beating his ass. With no US Military, no cops, no private security, no Evangelical Blackwater mercenaries, most of these right-wingers are softer than medicated cotton.

Sure Limbaugh will point to you his love of Uncle Clarence Thomas and Gateway Pundit will cry for that Gladney fool who may have got a beat down at a Town Hall in Jefferson County; but at the end of the day, who are you foolin?