By Junaid M. Afeef
Attorney, Community Organizer, Writer
*Originally Posted on An American Muslim Journal
Will there be race riots in America if Barack Obama loses the election?
One self-described Christian news source reports:
“A political scientist at a Christian college in New York City warns that if Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama loses the election on November 4, race riots could break out in large U.S. cities.”
I find this notion totally absurd. This “political scientist” is Dr. David Corbin. Dr. Corbin is an adjunct assistant professor of politics at The King’s College. Dr. Corbin received undergraduate and graduate degrees from University of New Hampshire. He received a PhD in Political Science from Boston University. Corbin has an interesting history leading up to his most recent absurd statement.
Before earning his PhD Corbin served in the New Hampshire State Legislature from 1998 to 2000 and was an unsuccessful gubernatorial candidate in New Hampshire in 2002. He ran in all elections as a Republican.
According to The Dartmouth Review David Corbin served on Alan Keyes 2000 presidential campaign as the state chairman of the campaign in New Hampshire.
Corbin seems to have distinguished his political career on the issue of public education in New Hampshire. Corbin had a problem with providing all of New Hamsphire’s public school children with adequate state funding.
In 2002 during Corbin’s failed gubernatorial race The Dartmouth Review reported Corbin as saying he did not believe that the children of New Hamsphire had a right to an education. Specifically, Corbin said “to say the state encourages an educated public and to say there is a state-wide right to education are two different things.”
While Corbin was in the the New Hamsphire legislature he authored legislation that told the State Supreme Court that the legislature would not recognize the Court’s ruling that required the state to fund an adequate level of public education (click here to read more).
This brief look at Corbin gives an interesting sense of who he is: an Alan Keyes Republican that does not want to provide adequate public education funding. This gives one a sense of who Corbin is, but it does not explain his most recent pronouncement – race riots in the event of an Obama loss.
Corbin references the O.J. Simpson and Rodney King incidents and notes that these “seemingly small stories” sparked terrible riots. He reasons that if such “small stories” could cause such riots, then the loss of the first African American president candidate would be much more severe.
“I think a lot of people are looking to an Obama presidency to affirm the notion that somehow Americans aren’t racist and, if for some reason Senator Obama loses, then it’s just, ‘Oh well, it’s said and done. We must be a racist nation.’ “
First of all – were there riots after the O.J. Simpson verdict? I don’t recall any riots after the O.J. Simpson verdict.
Second, the Rodney King police brutality case is an entirely different set of circumstances from the 2008 presidential elections. In 1992 four white L.A. police officers were acquitted of brutalizing a black motorist (Rodney King) even though the heinous attacks were captured on videotape and the jury saw this videotape.
Without going off on a tangent and analyzing the Rodney King riots, it is enough to say that the acquittals of Rodney King’s assailants were an acute trauma delivered to a community which had a long history of discriminatory police actions.
If Barack Obama were to lose the presidential election, it is possible that race will have played a role in that loss. But if this were to happen, it would be easily distinguishable from the Rodney King incidents. The discrimination in this election is more akin to a chronic ailment that has been festering for centuries in America.
The impact of an Obama loss on the African American community may well be significant, but it will not induce rioting! Many Americans, particularly African Americans, are anxious to see America’s first African American president, but they are, simultaneously, girded for the possibility of loss.
On what research or even anecdotal evidence does Corbin rest his case of riots? There seems to be none. Dr. Corbin: you are race-baiting and fear-mongering.
Junaid M. Afeef is a devout Muslim, a patriotic American and a lawyer/organizer working in “the world as it is” in order to help create the “world as it should be.”