Apparently, Phoenix New Times readers have a lot of opinions about Arizona's monuments to the Confederacy.
Three days have passed, and you guys are still arguing it out in the comments section for our live video from the press conference where black community leaders called on Governor Doug Ducey to remove six memorials to Confederate soldiers from various cemeteries, parks, and roadways around the state.
We've gotten a lot of thoughtful and insightful responses about what the presence of these monuments says about our state, particularly after we published a story yesterday which detailed the historical context in which they went up. (Hint: they date back to the 1960s, not the 1860s.)
But, unfortunately, the vast majority of the more than 4,500 comments (and still counting) made on our public Facebook page fall into the category of "stupid and also racist."
Which makes this probably not the most opportune moment to mention that we're giving away $500 to the 100,000th person to 'like' us on Facebook ... but hey, free money, right?
Anyway, here are the five basic categories of dumb, racist comments that we're officially tired of seeing, hearing, and reading:
1. "The NAACP and Black Lives Matter are hate groups."
Jared Hicks of Mesa, whose Facebook bio identifies him as a "former meatman" at Safeway, has this stunning insight to share: "NAACP is racist." That comment got 39 likes, proof that there's no hope for humanity.
Meanwhile, Ron Powers (whose profile only states that he's single and really likes Jack Daniels) complains that "the only time we hear about the NAACP is when they're causing trouble and looking like whiners."
Presumably, the entire civil rights movement would fall into that category.
2. "The Democrats were the party of slavery."
As we all learned in 10th grade, the country's two major political parties essentially switched platforms in the middle of the 20th century, meaning that, yes, Abraham Lincoln was a Republican.
Internet trolls, who apparently just found this out yesterday, seem to think it's the comeback of the century.
For instance, Conrad Chavez, whose Facebook profile says he's employed by the county, offers this gem: "Hey Snapperhead, why don't you go and boycott the Democrat party headquarters? The Democrats were responsible for slavery and the Civil War. You stupid two-legged colostomy bag..."
3. "You're erasing history!"
This was probably the most common response, and it's safe to say that no one who's making this argument actually watched the entire video: state Representative Reginald Bolding pretty clearly says that he believes the monuments in question belong in a museum.
And other community members calling for the monuments' removal also state what should be obvious: They want people to be aware of the history of the Civil War. Which means, you know, actually teaching people about the Civil War, not just slapping up something that says "Memorial to Arizona Confederate Troops, 1861-1865" without any other context.
No one at any point says they want to blow up all the monuments and also stop teaching history in schools while they're at it. Calm down.
4. "Why don't they worry about (fill in the blank) instead?"
Here's a small sampling of what commenters think the NAACP should be more concerned about:
• People dying.
• Feeding the homeless.
• "Black-on-black crime."
• Animal control.
• Finding something more important to do with their worthless lives.
"Why don't they stop the slavery that is going on right now in third-world countries?" Robert Hallock, who, according to his Facebook profile, lives outside of Scranton, Pennsylvania, and plays bass in a Pearl Jam tribute band, writes.
Because, obviously, it's that easy. The East Valley NAACP should just book a flight to Thailand and politely ask fishing boat captains to stop using ethnic minorities as slaves. No idea why they haven't done that already.
5. "I just hate black people and don't care who knows it."
Mark Limbo at least is up front about his intentions: He writes, "I'm asking for the removal of blacks from Arizona." A quick scroll through his public Facebook posts shows that he appears to live in Georgia, which is both a relief and also utterly unsurprising.
Meanwhile, Cindy Kay Whitford of Phoenix offers the surprisingly popular suggestion that we should "get rid of all Martin Luther King items" that are "there to offend whites and others."
Finally, the grand prize for "Holy shit, I can't even believe how racist this person is" goes to John Connors of Latham, New York, who suggests we stop honoring what he refers to as "Martin Luther Kong day."
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Yes, that's "Kong" as in "King Kong." Turns out there's a whole subgenre of racist memes equating the country's most respected civil rights leader with a gorilla that was in a movie. Who knew?
Honorable mention for stupidity:
The award goes to commenter Cristaul Rauert, who managed to take a discussion about Confederate memorials and make it about how climate change is a myth ("UNDERSTAND WHAT THE ICE CORES ARE TELLING US").
You can read all the comments here.