North Idaho’s Racist Legacy Reveals Itself

Coeur d’Alene made the national news this week. However, it is for an unfortunate reason. Once again, our legacy as a racist refuge is making headlines.

Two incidents occurred over the weekend when local yahoos sporting confederate flags, greeted visiting NCAA Women’s Basketball players from UC Irvine and Utah State with revving truck engines and racist slurs while the women visited a local restaurant. These collegiate athletes were staying in Coeur d’Alene while participating in the first round of the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament in Spokane.

The message the racist malcontents were sending is that racial minorities are not welcome here. And their unwarranted behavior was effective. The encounters left these female players feeling threatened which resulted in their relocation to hotels in Spokane.

As expected, this embarrassing incident drew responses from Mayor Jim Hammond, Tony Stewart from the Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations, as well as the head of the Hagadone Corporation. Their responses echoed a similar refrain that we are not like this; we will fight this; and we are a welcoming community.

Unfortunately, this is a recurring theme. Consequently, Coeur d’Alene has some reckoning to do. It is time to face up to the fact that we have a strong and vocal contingent of racists in our midst, and they are not going anywhere.

So, what can be done about it?

Racist slurs are protected by the First Amendment of the US Constitution. However, when language is used to specifically intimidate or harass someone based on their race, religion, ancestry, or nationality it is considered malicious harassment under Idaho code.

Idaho Gov. Brad Little, Lt. Gov. Scott Bedke, Idaho Democratic Party chairwoman Lauren Necochea and other members of State leadership have expressed their concerns as well. The question is why haven’t we heard from our local state senators and representatives? So far, they have been silent. That none of these officials have spoken up at this point is utterly unacceptable. For this reason and many others, we need to vote them out of office.

Democrats will have more to say about extremism and racist intolerance in the coming weeks.

Idaho Democratic Caucus

Also, don’t forget to Caucus on May 23rd. We changed the location to the Kootenai County Fairgrounds, Bldg. 19. This new venue is larger than the Hayden Library and more accessible. So, please put this date in your calendar and plan now to attend. The GOP Caucus turnout was a measly 6%. I hope we beat that. 

Happy Easter everyone. I hope you all enjoy the season of rebirth and some better weather.

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