From the KTUU interview:
"I smile a lot you know," Barr said. "People I see, even people I don't know. I smile you know, but when they started throwing things at me for no reason that gets scary. I don't know what's going to happen. I don't know what's going to happen to me."
..."You know I pray for them, though," Barr said. "I'm hoping they'll change their attitudes. I'm hoping when they get older you know they'll forgive me. Maybe I'll forgive them. I already forgive them already."
The Anchorage Daily News has more of a specific play-by-play of what happened. I don't mind telling you that just reading it, I was struggling between disgust, sorrow, and fear.
According to charging documents, Gum and Powers, both white, spewed venom at their victim as they pelted him with bottles and eggs, mocking a Native accent and saying "I want my Monarch (vodka)," while the target of their fury meekly tried to walk away, according to charges filed in court Friday...
The victim stood there, extended a handshake and said, "Please don't bother me."
Gum replied, "If you touch my sister, I will cut you," the charges say. Powers pushed the man again, and, at Gum's direction, kicked the man in the behind. After Gum threatened to kick him in the head, the man protested that he wasn't dumb.
"You are dumb," Powers said, according to the charges. "You're a f-----g Native."
I was eating dinner with a couple of friends last night, and neither had heard about this incident yet. One was Native, one non-Native, and the reactions were interesting when I was telling them about it. The non-Native friend was shocked, and disgusted. The Native friend made a face, gave a sigh, and ate her food in silence.
Not that this is indicative of everyone, but I don't think there's any Native person I've talked to yet that's been shocked. Most seem to think it's disgusting, but inevitable. Although the stories report the "past incidents" of this as being in 2001 and before, I know these are only the "incidents" that have been caught. What the reports don't mention is that most of those attacks, this one included, were only caught because the idiots committing the crime videotaped the attacks. I gaurantee that for every incident on tape, there are hundreds of incidents committed with the victims remaining silent.
I've had racially charged hate spewed at me in this city, without provocation, more than once (I think this is the only incident I've talked about on the blog), and downtown is probably the most unsafe place to be Native in Anchorage, at least in regards to outspoken, public racism. And no - not in a single case was I drunk, homeless or even speaking my mind, three states in which, many times, people seem to think that a Native person must have been "asking for it," and the crime, while regrettable, is understandable.
Anecdotally, I know this kind of thing happens much, much more than is reported. I am not speaking of racially charged crimes in which there is provocation - groups revenging on groups, or people abusing each other. I'm speaking of people who are literally walking down the street, shopping at a mall, sitting down to eat that are attacked, both verbally and physically because of their race. Although I'm sure this happens to many races, the dozens of examples I have are from Native friends and acquaintances in this city, and my own experiences. The things these people were yelling at Barr are disgusting - but I can't tell you a single one I haven't heard myself.
I went on a walk today, and I've got to tell you this was on my mind. This is the first long walk I've gone on alone in quite a while, and I hated the fact that when a car slowed down near me, I turned my face, so maybe they wouldn't see I was Native. I am normally pretty proud of my heritage, and family might be able to tell you I can adventure in strange cities alone with great (probably reckless) abandon, and not think about my own safety (yes, I am VERY unwise this way). So why is it when I walk down a street alone in Anchorage, I don't want people to see my heritage because I don't want a paintball shot at me?
I feel discouraged today, because this seems to be the same old thing, and so many don't even see it as a widespread problem.
Video of interview with the victim, Eddie Barr: