A recent post by Eric Olsen at Blogcritics led me to revisit Project 21, a front group run by far Right foundations and the GOP. It claims to speak for African-Americans, despite the paucity of support for Right Wing politics among that demographic. About one percent of elected African-American officials are Republicans. Eighty-eight percent of people who voted for George W. Bush in the last election are white. Though Olsen took credit for the perspective in his entry, the meme originated at Conservative News Service, a far Right opinion site that bills itself as a source for news. Managing editor Scott Hogenson (pictured) wrote the entry.
John Sylvester is brilliant.
Sylvester, who hosts a talk show on a small radio station in Madison, Wisconsin, has managed to punch his own ticket and is now basking in his 15 minutes of fame. And all he had to do was use racial epithets to attack black Republicans.
Specifically, Sylvester finds it appropriate to describe for his listeners National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice as Aunt Jemima and Secretary of State Colin Powell as Uncle Tom. How progressive of him.
“I’m not a racist,” protested Sylvester, a white fellow who claims the reason he referred to Rice as Aunt Jemima was because, “her price of admission to the White House is being subservient.”
. . .Tom Walker, a general manager for the company that owns the station on which Sylvester is heard, is sticking by his guy. “He has the right to do it and say it,” Walker was quoted as saying in a Nov. 20 report in The Capital Times of Madison. “As long as he isn’t hateful and as long as he isn’t racist, I’m fine with it.”
Walker is “fine” with this employee using racial slurs to degrade Rice and Powell — nothing hateful or racist here, folks — and appears to think Sylvester really is the stand-up guy he claims to be. But it’s interesting how Sylvester is given the benefit of that doubt while any number of his less progressive colleagues were not.
Hogenson goes on to compare Sylvester to Doug ‘Greaseman’ Tracht and Rush Limbaugh. Tracht has been in trouble for making racist remarks several times in his career as a broadcaster. In 1998, he caused an uproar by mocking the murder of a black man dragged to death behind a pickup by Texas racists. Josh Benton at Clipfile has the details.
The most recent high profile shock jock to be fired was Doug “Greaseman” Tracht. Washington’s WARW fired him in February after he played a record by hip-hop artist Lauryn Hill and remarked, “No wonder people drag them behind trucks,” a reference to the murder of a black man in Texas. Three white men were convicted, two receiving the death penalty and one receiving life in prison
Mr. Tracht had drawn fire in 1986 while working at another Washington station. He was talking about the national holiday for Martin Luther King, Jr., and said: “Kill four more and we can take a whole week off.” That remark sparked protests and bomb threats to the station.
Limbaugh, possibly a believer in ‘scientific’ racism, implied that Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb, who is black, does not belong in a thinking position. You know the reasoning: Black people are stupid and stupid people should not be quarterbacks.
It is doubtful that anyone familiar with real civil rights issues would be swayed by Hogenson’s hissy fit. In both of the episodes he attempts to associate with Sylvester, a white commentator was attributing a form of inferiority to people of African descent in general. Tracht was treating murdering blacks as amusing. Sylvester criticized two public officials who happen to be African-American for their participation in what he considers wrongheaded foreign policy. One could argue that focusing on how he believes they failed the American people in their roles in the administration would be a better idea than noting their status as tokens.
But, I am not going declare references to the race of people in the public eye off limits. Both Powell and Rice have benefitted from conservative affirmative action throughout their careers. Neither of them would be in the position he or she is but for some degree of tokenism. To pretend that race is not an issue in how the White House uses Powell and Rice is to be disingenuous. Sylvester’s point, though crudely made, is true: The Bush administration’s prominent black appointees are welcome there for only as long as they play a subservient role. The same seems to be true of black Republicans, period. An African-American Republican in California gave up on the party after the head of the GOP there circulated an email claiming there was no problem with slavery, the problem was with Reconstruction.
Matt Welch blogged the controversy. Shannon Reeves described how his fellow Republicans treat black members of the party.
The notion that this country would be better off if my ancestors had remained enslaved, and considered less than whole people, is personally offensive, abhorrent, and vile. It is particularly offensive because my own party’s vice chairman distributed this bigoted propaganda in an official CRP newsletter.
. . .I am sick and tired of being embarrassed by elected Republican officials who have no sensitivity for issues that alienate whole segments of our population. Republican leaders who consort with the Council of Conservative Citizens, highlight stump speeches at Bob Jones University, reminisce about segregationist campaigns, and sympathize with the bigoted views — and the very real possibility that others in our party affiliate with the Free Congress Foundation and groups with similar offensive ideology — perpetuate broad public opinion that Republicans harbor racist and bigoted ideals.
. . .Black Republicans are expected to provide window dressing and cover to prove that this is not a racist party, yet our own leadership continues to act otherwise. People judge people by their experience of them, and by their actions, and when those actions do not match their words, actions become the more honest means by which to measure a person.
He was fed up with being told to fetch and carry by white Republicans at party functions, anyway.
Unfortunately, that is the reality of the contemporary GOP. Republicans are in no position to cast aspersions of racism at anyone.
That brings us back to Project 21, the primary water carrier for this disinformation. As I’ve previously blogged in regard to the similar (perhaps same) African American Republican Leadership Council, the front group is funded and controlled by some of the most conservative forces in American politics. The Olin and Bradley Foundations have both supported the eugenics movement. Bradley is the financier of Charles Murray, the infamous author of The Bell Curve.
Olsen, a Bush supporter, apparently does not care that he is promoting the views of conservative whites claiming to represent black public opinion. Indeed, he may prefer it that way. But, it does matter. If politically aware African-Americans were appalled with John Sylvester for voicing his opinion, they would say so. The fact that conservative whites are the ones complaining — through their black mouthpieces — speaks volumes. It says that white conservatives perceive blacks as tools to be used by whites. It also says they believe legitimate African-American public opinion should be ignored while their pretense of representing blacks should be taken seriously.
More from Scott Hogenson.
•He promotes a study by eugenicists claiming crime can be reduced if black women are encouraged to have abortions.
•He promotes Jesse Lee Peterson, a semiliterate black man conservative whites like to put forth as a leader for blacks. Peterson is best known for harassing Jesse Jackson. The far Right funds his activities.
•CNS was never able to bring itself to directly address the Trent Lott controversy. Instead, a writer for the site penned a piece, five days after the remarks had become newsworthy, in which he claimed Lott’s comments didn’t count because the senator was seven years old when Strom Thurmond ran for president.
It appears doubtful that Hogenson is genuinely concerned about racism.
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