Melvin Martin: The truth about race in Rapid City
Melvin Martin is a member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe of South Dakota.

This incident and others like it that are never reported nor reported on are but the tip of the iceberg as to the true nature and extent of racism in not only Rapid City, but throughout the state as well. Do not expect too much in the way of positive changes now or ever:

The entire state of South Dakota, and more specifically, Rapid City, is populated mainly by whites who are primarily lower middle-class in sociological terms: people who are less educated, less socially enlightened and less accepting of the growing diversity of America as we venture forth into the 21st Century.

When I lived in Rapid City, basically on and off all of my life thus far, I have made the observation that the vast majority of Indian-haters are whites who not only embody the aforementioned description, but who tend to suffer greatly, both individually and collectively, from what I have come to regard as a severe form of "self-esteem deficiency."

Rapid City is largely peopled with illiterate, stupidly politically conservative, disenfranchised whites who labor for slave wages and who essentially view themselves as much "less than" most other human beings. All of the hundreds of racist whites that I have personally confronted in Rapid City over the years have that much in common -- their own self-imaging is so low that they, like their "cracker" counterparts in the American South (and their relations with blacks in towns similar to Rapid City like Montgomery, Alabama and Philadelphia, Mississippi; from the days of slavery and even now to some extent), have no recourse to feel better about themselves but to publicly disparage or outright physically attack Indians whenever the opportunities arise.

Anyone who hates themselves and despises their station in life will, of course, hate and despise others -- and will often act upon these negative feelings, as occurs in Rapid City on a continuous and tragic basis.

Lastly, if this incident does not compel a greater degree of public dialogue as to the "larger issue of race issues in Rapid City," then the majority of people there can simply remain mired in the quicksand of the denial that people like "Apologetic Mother" attempt to accomplish via a convoluted and very sorry minimizing of what actually happened: innocent, helpless and essentially disabled people were targeted for mistreatment on the basis of their race.

Related Stories:
Attacks prompt discussion about race relations (3/30)
Editorial: Don't judge city by hate crime attacks (3/30)
Teen linked to another anti-Indian shooting incident (3/26)
Teens accused of attacks on Indians in Rapid City (3/20)