A few days ago, this story made the e-mail rounds a few days ago, and today it was picked up by The Shreveport Times.

Last weekend, Kaylon Johnson was severely beaten and robbed at a Shreveport area Citgo station, an attack that, he claims, was due to his support for Barack Obama. At the time, Johnson was wearing an Obama t-shirt, and his attackers allegedly yelled profanities about President-elect Obama while they assaulted him.mildred-kellie-gloria-and-kaylon-for-obama (Kaylon’s on the right).

Kaylon Johnson was attacked and robbed of his wallet as he left Citgo gas station on Industrial Drive late Saturday. He suffered major injuries to his face.

“He told detectives he heard derogatory comments about President-elect Barack Obama, turned around and was struck,” said Randy Patrick, a Shreveport police spokesman. “The officer talked briefly to the victim while he was in the ambulance. The case has to go through the screening process to determine what’s next.”

According to at least one e-mail I received on this, Mr. Johnson was extremely active in the Shreveport area Obama campaign, both as a field operative and a frequent presence in campaign headquarters.

Unfortunately, there is no surveillance tape of the attack, and apparently, there weren’t any witnesses. Police are investigating. This is from an e-mail that describes the attack:

kaylon-2On Saturday night at a gas station in Shreveport, he was accosted by three white males who were yelling racial slurs, incensed by the Obama bumper stickers on Kaylon‘s car and the Obama t-shirt Kaylon was wearing. He waved them off, went into the gas station, bought a drink, and when he came out, they jumped on him.

Kaylon was badly beaten and has sustained several head injuries. His condition was so poor that the emergency medical personnel who arrived would not let the Shreveport Police Department take a statement that night – he had to be rushed to the hospital. As of this evening, the SPD still have not taken a statement from Kaylon. He will have surgery on Friday to repair a broken eye socket, broken nose, and torn tear duct.

And more details from the press release:

Kaylon Johnson, 32, an employee of Southern University of Shreveport, was allegedly beaten by two white males on 12/6/2008 between 11:45 p.m. CST and 12:45 a.m. CST on 12/7/2008 at a Shreveport gas station for wearing a Barack Obama T-shirt.

After yelling racial slurs and obscenities including “f*** Obama” and “f*** that N*****”, Mr. Johnson was attacked and savagely beaten before he could even react. He was punched in the face and knocked out. Mr. Johnson suffered serious injuries to his eye socket and a broken nose, both which will require surgery to repair.

If true (and I am absolutely inclined to believe the accounts, many of which were forwarded to me by credible people who know Mr. Johnson), then this serves as a painful reminder of the racial and political divisiveness in this country kaylon-11and the work we must all do to ensure that we finally close this dark chapter in our country’s history.

No one is born a racist. It’s something people learn. It’s something people allow themselves to absorb and believe, a manifestation of their own ignorance and insecurities. Now, I had at least one professor in college, an anthropologist, who argued that in a racist society, everyone is a little bit racist. Maybe that’s true. I don’t know. But either way, it’s conditioned, and society, after all, is a construction; it is of our own making– fluid and forever changing. If we create the conditions for intolerance and violent hatred against people who simply practice a different religion or belong to a different ethnicity, then we should strive to create insitutional and, above all, educational opportunities to change those conditions, keeping in mind, always, that our society is, at its core, simply a series of neighborhoods.

Mr. Johnson, I send to you my best wishes and most earnest hope for a speedy and full recovery.

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