South Carolina’s governor yanks welcome mat from black bikers

It’s sort of understandable. Their noisy motorcycles are a nuisance and clog the streets, impeding normal traffic. Some of the bikers get drunk and rowdy. They leave litter. Reports of reckless driving, public urination, disorderly conduct, drug use, and violence are well-documented. There even have been murders. The locals at Myrtle Beach, a popular resort area, don’t like it. Responsing to their complaints, Gov. Nikki Haley has vowed to shut down Black Biker Week, a Myrtle Beach tradition.

Traditionally, Black Biker Week occurs on Memorial Day weekend, just after a similar gathering of white bikers that brings similar problems. But local hotels and businesses, which have been sued by the NAACP for closing their doors during Black Biker Week, don’t shut down during White Biker Week. Residents still complain, but the governor isn’t trying to shut down White Biker Week. Or the similar conflagrations that occur at, say, football games.

“Black Bike Week … is not much different from … other events, featuring massive crowds, that take place in the state in any given year. … Each Saturday, outside of either Clemson’s Memorial Stadium or South Carolina’s Williams-Brice Stadium, one can find 80,000 or more people congregated, many for the purpose of binge drinking and abject debauchery. … Public drunkenness is the norm …. A stroll through one of the surrounding tailgate lots at Clemson will reveal open drug use, public nudity, public urination, a whole heap of lewd conduct, and even violence. … At South Carolina’s stadium, which stands only a few miles from where Haley made her statement today, things tend to be even worse. … What distinguishes a tailgate at the University of South Carolina or … Clemson from Black Bike Week? Why … are there no calls to shut down football, or at the very least, to ban tailgating …when these events show themselves to be prime ground for stabbings and child rape … ? I don’t know whether it’s right to ban all public events where tens of thousands gather for their idea of fun. … What I do know is that the reaction to Black Bike Week from the public, from law enforcement, and from the state’s [politicians] has been distinctly different from the reaction to group violence in other, similar settings. Given the history of Myrtle Beach segregation and South Carolina’s infamous racial double-standard, I don’t think I’m testing the strength of too small a limb by suggesting that maybe the skin color of those involved has something to do with the divergent response.”

Yeah, well, it looks like a double-standard to me. In fact, from my perch here in the Pacific Northwest, looking at South Carolina as a former Confederate state that within living memory framed a 14-year-old black boy and murdered him in the state’s electric chair, you could even convince me that South Carolina’s whites are a bunch of racists, or at least, some of them are. Anyone living in South Carolina want to try to defend this disparate treatment on some sort of rational grounds? Feel free to post your comments. Silence will be assumed to constitute agreement.



There’s no caption on this photo, so I don’t know whether this mess was left by black bikers or white football fans. Does it make any difference? Their messes probably look about the same.


0 Comments Add Yours ↓

  1. TaylorB #

    Excellent and thoughtful article…thanks for posting!

  2. Joseph Larson #

    I am afraid I don’t have a clue about the 14 year old being framed, as the Alphabet media did not report it, or at least not in my area. If that is the case, it only confirms my opinion that the death penalty should be abolished. As to the bikers, black or white they need to be held to the same standards, it would be silly to try to argue differently. Bad behavior is not conditional to color. I find it hard to believe that some group has not taken this to court, unless of course it is not accurate in it description of the events.

  3. SC Resident #

    You are comparing Apples and Oranges here. One event is being held at a college where people choose to go, the other takes place in the middle of the city where residents have no choice but to suffer the idiocy of people with no class or manners or respect for the law. Also, LOTS of places shut down for Harley Week just like Black Bike week. There is a major difference in the two types of crowds that are attracted by each event, both have their good points and bad points. One of the events, not Harley Week, usually ends up in gunfights on our public streets by people who feel entitled to act like they own it all. Why is it called Black Biker Week anyway? That in itself is racist and discriminatory. We don’t hear Harley Week called White Biker Week because Harley week is for everyone, not just one type of motorcycle enthusiast. If folks are gonna cry foul then they need to take a good look at what they call discriminatory and racist because it’s they themselves helping to create this separation.

  4. theaveeditor #

    It seems to me that the central issue here is not whether Harley Week or Bkack Bike Week is more racist.. Their culture of SC.. The celebration of racism is so horrid that these co nflicts are inevitable… A good start on healing the wound would be to ban any govt celebration of the confederacy.