Troublesome author wants space
J.C. Watts claims his face helps Black people
Vouchers cure "uncivilized" behavior, enhance brain
Moderate Republicans blame for woes

Just when we decided to open an e-Mailbox column, an interesting message arrived from an unexpected source:

May 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?

Randall Kennedy

Readers 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:

As 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.

We promise our readers a very interesting issue. Stay Tuned!

J.C. Watts: Where's the Camera?

We 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 career.)

Some 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.

On 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.

No 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.

George 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."

Fast-forward 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."

Watts felt compelled to explain to the Washington Post his weird presence in photos of almost every conceivable Republican-oriented event.

If 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 is important.

In 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 Gump.

Clearly J.C. Watts has more in common with Woody Allen than with the illustrious George Henry White.

In our last issue, under the heading "Gone in a Flash," we dubbed Watts "The Picture Man." That didn't sit well with Mr. SRH, who wrote:

I 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.

However, reader Emily M. White shared our angle on the Honorable Representative. Her e-Mail letter was quite, uh…focused.

Watts 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.

Now 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.

The Source of Evil

The 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 Buchner wrote:

What 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.

We 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 "uncivilized." 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.

Possibly 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.

Black Commentator undermines moderate Republicans!

Which 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:

[T]o 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.

In the northeast especially, moderate republicans are under attack by the Bret Schundler conservative wing of the GOP. However, across the nation, and
throughout the state, we the moderates are in control. It is only a matter of getting our people into leadership roles.

To 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.

First 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.

As 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.

In 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:

I tremendously appreciate your story on vouchers. The crucial issue that faces us in Milwaukee is how to rebuild political leadership among people of color.

The 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.

The Black and the Green

Dr. 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 7 issue:

Dr. 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 Dr. Farley.

Keep writing.

For lots of information on NC Rep. George Henry White

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Other commentaries in this issue:

Hilliard Calls for New Institutions to Protect Black Interests: Defeated Congressman expresses deep distrust of Ivy League - A Black Commentator interview

Peace and Justice Forces Rally to McKinney: By Frances M. Beal, Guest Commentator

A letter to our readers: Reparations: The Value of White Privilege... Highly Suspicious Christian Soldiers... Neighborhood Watch in Havana... Binges and Wars Over Wall Street


Commentaries in Issue Number 7 - July 11, 2002

Voucher Tricksters:The Hard Right Enters Through the Schoolhouse Door

Randall Kennedy: The Strange Career of a Troublesome Fool... How the NAACP Handled the N-word...J.C. Watts, Gone in a Flash

Race and National Security:
"Tar Baby Outrage" Update

Commentaries in Issue Number 6 - June 27, 2002

The N-word as Therapy for Racists: Randall Kennedy's Idiotic Assault on Black People's Honor

A Monument to George Washington's Slaves: Picking favorites among Black heroes and What a real man said on the 4th of July

Goin' South:
To save itself, organized labor must capture Dixie

CIA Trumps FBI: Forget about a War on Drugs

National Security News Alert: President is Warned Race Bias “Threatens National Security”- Special Edition - Issue Number 5 - June 13, 2002

Commentaries in issue 4 - June 7, 2002:

Tar Baby Outrage!: Racism and Corruption at the Redstone Arsenal

Condoleezza's Complaint & Paratroopers in the Basement: Connie's image and the Venezuelan coup

Did the Green Party Betray Black America: by Dr. Jonathan David Farley, Guest Commentator

A Law That Gives Racists Something to Fear:by Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal Matthew Fogg, Guest Commentator

Commentaries in previous issues :

Condoleezza & Geraldo, a Fine Pair: The Role Models' Burden

Hard Right Cash Defeated in Black City - This Time
Ultra-Conservative Favorite Cory Booker Loses in Newark, New Jersey

Newark: The First Domino? - The Hard Right Tests its National Black Strategy

Fruit of the Poisoned Tree: The Hard Right's Plan to Capture Newark NJ

A Letter from Harvard: "How to spot a "Black Trojan Horse." Dr. Martin Kilson, Guest Commentator

Reparations Part One: The True Value of Some Land and an Animal

The Living Wage Movement: A New Beginning - Bread, Power and Civil Rights in 19 Languages

Rep. Cynthia McKinney's Statement on the Events of September 11: The need for an investigation of the events surrounding September11 is as obvious as is the need for an investigation of the Enron debacle.

Make The Amendment: How to Get the U.S. Government Out of the International Drug Trade

Psychologically Unfit: The U.S. Can't Handle the Death Penalty

Linquistic Profiling: By Patrice D. Johnson, guest commentator