Topeka is “grappling with racism,” 15 years after a rally that the Topeka Capital-Journal says mirrored the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia a few months ago.
“If Charlottesville was just the beginning, as white nationalists have said, some Topekans may be wondering: Could it happen here?” It already has, 15 years ago,” the story begins.
In Charlottesville, an angry protestor drove his car through a crowd of people killing counter-protestor, Heather Heyer. Fifteen years ago in Kansas, a handful of white nationalists rallied on the statehouse steps. No one died. The Topeka Capital-Journal conveniently links to its coverage of the 2002 event where readers learn that only 50 or so white nationalists attended the Kansas rally. Counter protesters outnumbered the racists by about 10 to one. That’s from the Journal’s coverage 15 years ago. No one was hurt and no arrests were made.
Yet, the paper, 15 years later, makes the less-than-subtle suggestion that massive racism is alive and well in the Sunflower State. The Cap-J quotes Ben Scott, a former state legislator who now serves as the president of the Topeka NAACP. He lists inequalities in health care and criminal justice as evidence of Kansas’ supposed racism.
“Children are still going to be hungry. There’s a lot of work still to do,” Scott said, adding that people need to feel like they’re part of the community.”
The decent people of Topeka (and the state) should be offended. The story exists simply to fuel fear and racism in the community. And the paper called most of its readers racist because poverty exists.