Let’s Give Idaho Racists The Spotlight They Deserve, Not The One They Want

In Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, the University of Utah women’s basketball team encountered a chilling reminder of racism’s persisting shadow in America. As they ventured through the city, preparing for an NCAA tournament game, they were confronted by a white truck from which racial slurs were hurled at them. This wasn’t just an isolated incident of hatred; it was a stark exposure of the undercurrents of bigotry that linger in some communities, turning what should have been a moment of athletic focus into a confrontation with locally fomented discrimination. 

This event transcended mere verbal assault; it became a vivid illustration of the challenges that continue to plague our state, revealing how spaces of unity and competition can be tainted by divisiveness and hate. As the team grappled with the shock and dismay of the encounter, their experience became emblematic of the broader battle against racism—a battle that remains unfinished in Idaho and beyond, demanding not just reflection but action from all quarters of society.

The political landscape in Idaho, especially with the rise of figures like Dave ReillyNick FuentesVincent James Foxx, and their association with the Groyper movement, provides a distressing context for such incidents. These individuals, known for their extremist ideologies and connections to the Idaho Freedom Foundation (IFF) and Dorothy Moon’s rebranded Idaho GOP, seem to thrive on the negative attention generated by public stunts and racist provocations. The unsettling aim behind these actions is to attract like-minded individuals to North Idaho, transforming the region into a haven for racists, Nazis, and Christian white nationalists. This strategy is not just about garnering media attention; it’s a deliberate effort to expand their base in the area, creating a sanctuary that welcomes and fosters hateful ideologies.

Dave Reilly made an attempt to draw attention to himself by trying to disrupt the press conference addressing the racist incident in Coeur d’Alene

While we don’t yet know who lobbed the verbal racist assaults at the basketball players, we do know that attempts to orchestrate incidents like this are useful to groups like the IFF and their white nationalist supporters to normalize racism and bigotry, effectively using it as a tool to instill fear in anyone who opposes them. By painting North Idaho as a welcoming place for such ideologies, they aim to bolster the efforts of the IFF and Moon’s new Idaho GOP, ensuring that a racist Idaho translates into more voters for IFF’s loyal candidates who align with these tactics. This deliberate strategy seeks to undermine the social fabric of the community, challenging the very principles of diversity, inclusion, and mutual respect that should define our society.

Well known white nationalist and anti-semite Dave Reilly’s Idaho Tribune attempting to “both sides” the racism in Coeur d’Alene

Those within IFF and Moon’s circle of influence are already trying to minimize the racism by creating doubt by insinuating it might be a hoax. Brian Almon, the former IFF communications director said of the CdA racist attack; “Even if it did happen, do mean word really demand press conferences and statements from governors? Is this a kindergarten playground?” A statement like this seems on brand for someone like Almon, a far right propagandist who founded a media site geared towards amplifying IFF’s narratives and had been caught praising a white supremacist group known as vDare on Twitter. He omitted important details that included that the truck followed the female basketball players around in their truck and continued dangerously harass them.

The establishment wing of the Idaho Republican party, including the Governor and various legislators, has increasingly bent to the will of groups like the Idaho Freedom Foundation (IFF) and Dorothy Moon’s restructured Idaho GOP. This acquiescence has facilitated the passage of divisive legislation, showcasing the impact of IFF’s alliance with figures like Dave Reilly and their adoption of extremist ideologies. Fear of targeted attacks and the threat of primary election challenges have silenced opposition, allowing extremist views to dictate the legislative agenda.

This dynamic breeds a legislative environment driven by intimidation, with mainstream Republicans fearing the loss of their seats to a tide of dishonest attacks and organized vitriol. Such an atmosphere stifles genuine political discourse and empowers the IFF and its affiliates to push their agenda unopposed, further embedding their ideology within Idaho’s political fabric.

Idaho’s House of Representatives blocked legislation to create a license plate that said that the Gem State was “Too Great For Hate” while overwhelmingly approving the patriot movement’s symbol to identify others who agree with their exclusionary ideology with a plate featuring the yellow and black “Don’t Tread on Me” Gadsden Flag. The pressure from IFF and the Idaho Freedom Caucus to allow hate to trump healing in Idaho is often too much for most Republican legislators and they often cower to mean tweets and other confrontational tactics.

The consequences of this political climate extend beyond the legislature, affecting the broader Idaho society by legitimizing and emboldening extremist ideologies. This capitulation to fear and extremism not only undermines the principles of democracy and inclusion but also poses significant challenges to the state’s social harmony and collective well-being.

The racial incident faced by the Utah women’s college basketball team in Coeur d’Alene is deeply unsettling, yet it’s important to remember that it does not reflect the values of all Idahoans. Across the state, there are many who stand against this tide of hate and extremism, working tirelessly to ensure Idaho remains a welcoming, safe space for everyone. These individuals and groups are fighting back against the forces of division, proving that solidarity and respect for diversity are alive and well.

To those who’ve encountered intimidation or harassment, know that you have allies in Idaho. We are united in our determination to combat bullying and hate, striving to create an inclusive environment for all. The journey towards a more accepting Idaho is ongoing, but together, we are committed to making it a reality.

Idaho’s identity is shaped by our collective efforts to uphold the principles of kindness, respect, and inclusivity. We remain dedicated to this cause, undeterred by the challenges ahead, because we believe in a future where every individual feels valued and safe in our state.

Disclaimer: The following is intended to convey an opinion on newsworthy events of public concern regarding public figures and/or public officials in the exercise of their official duties. No implications or inferences—beyond those explicitly stated in the preceding—are intended to be conveyed or endorsed by the Author. Wherever available, hyperlinks have been provided to allow readers to directly access any underlying assertions of fact upon which this opinion is based.

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