Watts claims his face helps Black people
cure "uncivilized" behavior, enhance brain
when we decided to open an e-Mailbox column, an interesting message
arrived from an unexpected source:
I have space in your publication to respond to the charges that have
been aimed at me and my work by you and Professor Kilson?
should be aware that Kennedy is a Harvard Law School professor and the
author of "Nigger: The Strange Career of a Troublesome Word,"
the subject of a June 27 Guest Commentary
in these pages by Harvard's Dr. Martin Kilson and additional comment
in the July 11 issue. Although
The Black Commentator is under no obligation to Kennedy - moral, ethical,
or otherwise - we responded:
you requested, we will make space available in The Black Commentator
for your response "to the charges that have been aimed at me
and my work by you and Professor Kilson." Please use as much
space as you feel necessary. We will publish every word, as written.
our readers a very interesting issue. Stay Tuned!
Watts: Where's the Camera?
received a number of e-Mail letters concerning the departure of J.C.
Watts, the lone Black Republican currently sitting in the U.S. Congress.
(See July 11 issue.) Watts, a
true-blue representative of a mostly white Oklahoma district, will doubtless
settle into plush seats on many corporate boards while he ponders which
niche of crony capitalism best suits his particular talents. That's
a lot of unearned money to think about. (Or, very well earned,
depending on how one measures the value to the GOP of Watts' endless-photo-opportunity
perspective is needed. Let us contrast J.C. Watts, darling of the Rich-and-Right,
with another lonesome Black member of the U.S. House of Representatives.
a shivering, rainy night in 1900, Congressman George Henry White was
a hunted man, fleeing for his life through the swamps around Wilmington,
North Carolina. The city had been stormed by an army of white Democrats
who, with cannon, rifles, knives, whips and fire chased
down and murdered scores of Black Republicans and white Populists, members
of the duly-elected local "Fusion" government. Cold, wet and
fearing extermination, virtually the entire surviving Black population
of Wilmington huddled in the swampy darkness, furtively seeking friends,
neighbors and relatives and wondering when, if ever, it would be safe
to return to the site of Reconstruction's last gasp.
one knows how many died in the military assault that heralded America's
New Century. The capture of Wilmington was the final, martial triumph
of Jim Crow - the truest expression of the national plan and purpose.
White, last of the Black Reconstruction congressmen, did not pause in
his flight from Wilmington until he got to Washington, D.C. He pleaded
in vain for federal action to reverse the racist insurrection that had
toppled democracy by force of arms in North Carolina. For more than
a generation, until the election of Chicago Republican Oscar De Priest,
in 1928, no Black person would occupy a congressional seat. White's
1901 farewell address to the U.S. House is among the most poignant ever
delivered "in behalf of an outraged, heart-broken, bruised, and
bleeding, but God-fearing people; faithful, industrious, loyal people-rising
people, full of potential force."
to July, 2002. "I just wanted people to see my black face on camera,"
said retiring Black Republican Congressman J.C. Watts. "It's just
a reality of the atmosphere we operate in."
felt compelled to explain to the Washington Post his weird presence
in photos of almost every conceivable Republican-oriented event.
nothing else, Watts said the GOP should showcase minorities and women
at events to show that the party includes more than middle-aged, white
males. Watts said he often goes to news conferences because Republicans
simply want an African American in the shot, which he, too, believes
a 1983 movie, Woody Allen stars as Zelig, a character who miraculously
appears in photos and films of coronations, presidential events, and
historic Babe Ruth home runs. Tom Hanks does a similar trick in Forrest
J.C. Watts has more in common with Woody Allen than with the illustrious
George Henry White.
our last issue, under the heading "Gone in a Flash," we dubbed
Watts "The Picture Man." That didn't sit well with Mr. SRH,
think it is sad to degrade J.C. Watts as you are stating in this piece.
Moreover, we do need to have a black voice at every table (Conservative
or liberal). We all can't have the same thought on every issue.
reader Emily M. White shared our angle on the Honorable Representative.
Her e-Mail letter was quite, uh
gone in a flash! What a wonderful insightful commentary on J.C.Watts'
tenure with the Republicans. I agree with every word written. I remember
when Watts' said he belonged to the party of Lincoln - what a joke.
As far as I am concerned, the few feeble attempts to pander to the
interests of American Blacks were ludicrous. Sorry J.C. You don't
get it. As someone once said, concerning Black Republicans: they are
there because the line is shorter to the top. Thankfully, he did not
join the Black Caucus because it would have been difficult to break
bread with the enemy.
do not get me wrong, the Democrats are not the great non-bigoted party
they portray; it's just a matter of selecting the lesser of two evils.
Having lived through the Civil Rights era; the party of Lincoln deserted
the blacks and the Democrats just seized the opportunity, not out
of love, but political necessity. Blacks are not fooled for one moment
by the Democrats - just the lesser of two evils. Blacks like J.C.
are pathetic - he is just a photo op for the Republicans.
Source of Evil
July 11 commentary, "Voucher
Tricksters: The Hard Right Enters Through the Schoolhouse Door,"
provoked more e-Mail than we can accommodate in these pages. Dr. Bradley
an excellent analysis of the voucher scam! I learned a great deal
from this commentary that I didn't know before. I have long believed
that vouchers were a bad idea - but I guess I didn't pick up on the
link to corporate capitalism until recently. As a White professor
at an HBCU (Cheyney), I have been somewhat mystified to hear my students
often voicing support for vouchers. Your commentary gave me some clues
as to where these ideas come from! Hopefully, I can use some of this
insight to persuade my students that vouchers are not a good idea,
and will not improve education for African-Americans or anyone else.
advised Dr. Buchner to point out to his students that the voucher "movement"
is an invention of the Bradley Foundation, bankroller of Charles Murray's
book, "The Bell Curve," which purports to prove the inherent
intellectual inferiority of Blacks. Bradley is also sugar daddy to Dinesh
D'Souza, popularizer of the idea that African Americans are just plain
believes the young Cheyney scholars should be directed to the primary
sources of voucher propaganda, so that they might make an informed decision
on the matter. They should be made aware of the company they are keeping.
what is needed is a classroom exercise in Hard Right logic. Since the
Bradley Foundation believes African Americans are uncivilized and dumb,
and recommends vouchers to solve the problems of inner city education,
then it must follow that vouchers are a cure for barbarism and mental
deficiency. Right? Far, far Right. Right like Hitler.
Commentator undermines moderate Republicans!
brings us to an e-Mail letter from a defender of Cory Booker, the 33
year-old who rode the Hard Right train that almost ran over Mayor Sharpe
James in this spring's historic battle for Newark, NJ's City Hall. Booker
was groomed and backed by the Bradley Foundation and its affiliated,
racist think tanks. We've written extensively about Booker's Trojan
Horse candidacy, so we'll try to lay off him - for this issue.
But Friend-of-Cory Jerry G seems to think that The Black Commentator
is somehow responsible for the ascendancy of racists in the GOP, at
least in the state of New Jersey:
respond by comparing the right or republicans as a racist party are
unfounded. I agree to an extent, some of the hard-line conservatives,
in Congress especially, are too conservative and borderline racist.
But it is irresponsible to classify everyone with an "R"
next to their name as a racist.
the northeast especially, moderate republicans are under attack by
the Bret Schundler conservative wing of the GOP. However, across the
throughout the state, we the moderates are in control. It is only
a matter of getting our people into leadership roles.
have your side continuing to bash anyone with an "R" next
to their name as a racist or puppet of the Klan (as you did with Booker),
kills the moderate GOP'ers chances of taking over the party. Furthermore,
it destroys our chances of ever having honest political dialog.
of all, The Black Commentator never, ever connected Cory Booker's campaign
to the Klan - a ridiculous, almost laughable notion in the urban Black
and Hispanic Belt of northern New Jersey. Booker supporters always point
to those remarks, which came from the SharpeJames
camp, to divert attention from the billionaires in suits who pull the
(very real) strings of their Black proxies. In fact, we criticized the
James campaign for precisely that reason.
is obvious, the "border line" between actual and almost
racists keeps moving farther and farther toward the horizon. In fact,
the conversation about Republican "moderates" versus "conservatives"
has traveled beyond range of sensible hearing. Bradley Foundation ex-President
Michael Joyce, a true American Nazi, has George Bush's ear, as we pointed
out in "Voucher Tricksters" (See July
11 issue.) We have neither time nor inclination to mourn extinct
GOP "moderates," when all the while the Milwaukee-based Bradley
Foundation and other moneybags are fielding African American stealth
candidates to destroy existing Black leadership.
Milwaukee, itself, Black politics is a wasteland - something John Goldstein,
President of the Milwaukee County Labor Council, AFL-CIO, had in mind
when he wrote:
tremendously appreciate your story on vouchers. The crucial issue
that faces us in Milwaukee is how to rebuild political leadership
among people of color.
Hard Right's prime objective is to separate African Americans from unions
and, unfortunately, labor has a checkered history of often making the
Right's task a lot easier than it should be.
Black and the Green
Jonathan Farley, a young mathematician running for congress from a Nashville,
TN district, has assigned himself the daunting task of transforming
the Green Party into a Black Party. He has the moral support of Donna
J. Warren, who read Farley's Guest Commentary in our June
Jonathan Farley's discussion of Blacks in the Green Party was absolutely
riveting and true. Here's a young man who knows what's happening.
I feel very safe knowing my future is entrusted to young people like
lots of information on NC Rep. George Henry White
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