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NAACP Investigates Racist Fliers Found in Iowa City

Racial minorities are a small percentage of the Iowa population, but hate groups apparently have targeted those living in Iowa City. (campusreform.org)
Racial minorities are a small percentage of the Iowa population, but hate groups apparently have targeted those living in Iowa City. (campusreform.org)
January 22, 2018

DES MOINES, Iowa — The Iowa-Nebraska NAACP is investigating white supremacist literature found in several cities, including the most recent instance in Iowa City.

The flyer distributed in an Iowa City neighborhood showed a blonde, white woman under the heading, "Love your race." It included the logo and web address of the National Alliance, a white nationalist group.

Betty Andrews, the president of the Iowa-Nebraska NAACP branches, said such fliers often appear to have a mixed-message. They could be interpreted as harmless, but their intent is to intimidate.

"So, on the surface, being 'proud of your race' doesn't sound like an issue,” Andrews said. “But if your group is actually promoting being proud of your race to the detriment of others, that's a problem."

She said Latinos are Iowa's largest ethnic minority, at 6 percent of the population, while African Americans make up 3.4 percent.

Andrews said race-baiting groups often recruit people who are lonely and want to feel like they are part of a community.

"Of late, our state has seen a number of incidences, many of them involving young people,” she said. “And these organizations are notorious for recruiting young people."

What’s more, by distributing the "whites-only" message in the southeast side of Iowa City, the National Alliance chose one of the state's most racially-diverse areas.

Andrews said she believes some of the racist rhetoric now reportedly used at the highest levels of the U.S. government has emboldened similar actions in places like Iowa.

"Not only is probably Iowa fertile ground,“ she said, “but also, our country is becoming more and more of a place that makes people like me, in my position, concerned."

In the past year, she noted, Iowans have seen cross burnings and racist graffiti on college campuses, and heard racially charged banter by radio announcers at sporting events.

Roz Brown, Public News Service - IA