If there was any doubt that race is playing a role in the town hall confrontations taking place in recent weeks, a new video demonstrates exactly how racially polarized the debate has become.
A provocative scene shown on the news Tuesday night featured a black woman being escorted from a town hall meeting in Missouri held by Senator Claire McCaskill. The clip on the news showed the black woman hauled off by the police, which seemed to indicate the black woman was angry at something being said.
Most of the town hall participants and angry protesters in recent weeks have been white, so the image was a bit unusual. But a new video released on YouTube puts yesterday's news clip in context. The black woman, identified later as Maxine Johnson, had just been attacked by a white man, who walked up from his seat in the bleachers and yanked away a sign the black woman was holding that depicted civil rights icon Rosa Parks.
As the black woman was showing the sign to a news photographer who asked to see it, the white man, identified by the local press as 67-year-old James Winfrey, walked over and grabbed the black woman's sign and stole it from her. The mostly white audience cheered when the man returned to his seat and ripped up the sign. (Editor's Note: From the video, the white person appears to be a woman but the commentary from the YouTube poster and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch story indicate the white person was a man.)
When the black woman got up and walked over to get her sign back, the police intervened and separated the two. But the part that was shown on most television stories only depicted the black woman being carried away by police.