Racist United States politicians

This video from the USA is called Keith Olbermann: HIV AIDS, Jesse Helms, Elizabeth Dole.

From Devona Walker in the USA:

Top 12 Racist Politicians of Modern History

A huge swath of politicians have been linked to white supremacist groups or made outright racist statements.

August 1, 2010

1. Jesse Helms, Unabashed Racist

Jesse Helms was the last unabashed racist politician in this country. His ascension to Congress was largely due to his willingness to pick at the scab of slavery and segregation, and to inflame racial resentment against African Americans. There have likely been many racists after him, but he was the last to stake his political career on it.

Back in 1984, a reporter summed up Helms‘ Senate campaign. “Racial epithets and standing in school doors are no longer fashionable,” the reporter wrote, “but 1984 proved that the ugly politics of race are alive and well. Helms is their master.”

Helms launched a filibuster blocking a bill that would make Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday a national holiday. Helms’ campaign literature warned repeatedly about black voter registration drives. On election eve he accused his opponent of being supported by “homosexuals, the labor union bosses and the crooks.”

In 1990, in an election against African American Harvey Gantt, Helms aired an ad, “You needed that job and you were the best qualified. But they had to give it to a minority because of a racial quota.”

2. Jim ‘Raghead’ Knotts

For this example, we don’t have to reach back too far. In the 2010 South Carolina Republican primary, Knotts calls his political rival Nikki Haley and President Obama ragheads.

“We’ve already got a raghead in the White House, we don’t need another raghead in the governor’s mansion,” Knotts said. He later apologized for the slur, saying he made it in jest. Haley won that primary.

3. Robert Byrd, Pre-Transformation

Shortly after his death earlier this year, the late Robert Byrd’s personal story was told as one of great transformation. He did, later in life, become a champion of civil rights. However, during the early part of his career, he was a unabashed bigot and member of the Ku Klux Klan. Byrd was a Democrat.


4. John McCain, No Friend To Asians

During the 2004 presidential election, Sen. John McCain told a group of reporters on his campaign bus, “I hated the gooks. I will hate them as long as I live.”

“Gook” is a derogatory term used against Asians. Although McCain later said he was referring specifically to his prison guards and not all Asians, many Asian Americans took offense. McCain refused to apologize. Despite the gooks remark, McCain was still considered a serious candidate in that election. And ironically, he was not soundly defeated by Bush until the Bush campaign leveled their own race-baiting at him, claiming his adopted daughter was actually the love child of an adulterous affair he had with a black woman.

5. James L. Hart, Tennessee, Believer In Eugenics

In 2004, Hart won the Republican primary in Tennessee, vowing that if elected he would work toward keeping “less favored races” from reproducing or immigrating to the United States. In campaign literature, Hart contends that “poverty genes” threaten to turn the United States into “one big Detroit.”

“When I knock on a door and say white children deserve the same rights as everybody else, the enthusiastic response is truly amazing,” he said. Fortunately, he lost the general election.

6. Sen. Trent Lott of Mississippi: ‘I didn’t know they were racist.’

In addition to praising the life and work of separatist Strom Thurmond, Lott also spoke to the white supremacist group Council of Conservative Citizens no less than five times.

 He later claimed he had no idea the group was made up of white supremacists. But in one speech, he said the CCC “stand[s] for the right principles and the right philosophy.”

7. Congressman Bob Barr of Georgia, the Tip Of the Iceberg

Barr actually touched off a fairly decent-sized scandal in 1998 for speaking at the CCC’s National Convention. This resulted in a public distancing between the CCC and several prominent members of the Republican National Convention. If it weren’t for Barr’s utter disregard for minorities, the more secretive alliance between the CCC and the RNC might never have been exposed.

8. Pickax-Wielding Lester Maddox

This former governor of Georgia was known for wielding baseball bats and pickaxes in his fight to preserve segregation. He was a restaurant owner and actually got into politics following his refusal to serve black customers at his Pickrick restaurant. He served Georgia as governor in 1966, but was term-limited, and then served as lieutenant governor. He later ran unsuccessfully for governor in 1974 and for president in 1976, the candidate of the American Independent Party. He died in 2003 at 87.

Maddox believed blacks were intellectually inferior to whites, that integration was a communist plot, that segregation was somewhere justified in Scripture and that a federal mandate to integrate schools was “ungodly, un-Christian and un-American.”

9. Miss. Gov. Haley Barbour, the Most Mainstream of Them All

Barbour is actually being considered as a viable Republican candidate for the 2012 presidential race. Barbour, according to the CCC’s news magazine, the Citizens Informer, has attended CCC events along with 38 other federal officials. Barbour has denied the association. But a former employee said she attended one event for him and realized immediately that the CCC were hate-mongers. Later in 2003, Barbour was photographed at a CCC fundraising event with supporters and council officials including CCC field director Bill Lord. The CCC is believed to be partly responsible for Barbour’s defeat of incumbent Democrat Ronnie Musgrove–who led the fight to change the Mississippi state flag.

When asked what role the CCC played in his candidacy, Barbour responded, “Once you start down the slippery slope of saying, ‘That person can’t be for me,’ then where do you stop? Old segregationists? Former Ku Klux Klan?”
 Barbour easily defeated Musgrove.

10. State Rep. John Moore, No Denial Here

Moore has given at least two speeches to various CCC chapters. When asked about it, Moore said, “Is the NAACP on you-all’s hit list? Well, they need to be.”

Moore said he would “not brand” the CCC “as a KKK-style organization,” and added that he felt “very comfortable” meeting with the group’s members. “They had folks there in suits and ties, and folks who just left the garage,” Moore said. “It was very diverse occupationally.”

11. State Rep. Tommy Woods

Woods is one of the few legislators who actually admitted to his association with the CCC. He disputed the “hate-group” label. “That’s not true, lady,” he told the Intelligence Report. “It’s very conservative, Christian people that believe in Jesus as their savior. I’ve never known any one of them to do anything that would cause anyone any suffering. They’ve helped people.”

12. South Carolina State Rep. Charles Sharpe

Sharpe was a proud member and ardent defender of the CCC.

“They think like I do,” Sharpe told the Miami Herald. “Especially on the issue of racial intermarriage. Cows and horses don’t mix. I don’t want any of my people doing it.”

Sharpe later went on to become South Carolina’s commissioner of agriculture. He was arrested and charged with taking at least $20,000 in bribes to protect an illegal cockfighting ring.

Why no Strom Thurmond in this list?

The Violent World of White Supremacist Gangs: here.

Daryle Lamont Jenkins is the founder of One People’s Project, a group based in New Jersey that came together to organize a counter-demonstration against a Ku Klux Klan rally in 2000, and that has carried on since, documenting the activities of far-right organizations and the individuals involved in them. He spoke to Alexander Super about developments on the right today, including connections to the so-called Tea Party “movement”: here.

Stephan Salisbury on anti-Muslim hysteria in America and the growing role of the far right in fanning them: here.

Aryan Nations Leader Running For School Board in California: here.

New Poll Finds Mississippi Republicans Oppose Interracial Marriage: here.

Ernest C. Withers, a highly-regarded photographer who documented the Civil Rights movement so intimately that he was in Martin Luther King’s hotel room the night he was assassinated, has been revealed through an investigation by Memphis’s Commercial Appeal to have been a paid FBI informant. A former cop, Withers, who died in 2007, became known as the “Original Civil Rights Photographer”: here.

Racism and red-baiting in the Cold War USA: here.

7 thoughts on “Racist United States politicians


    If you don’t fight for democracy and justice, then what you get may not be worth having.

    That became clear as I saw an advance screening of a PBS documentary (to air within the next few weeks) on the “Freedom Riders.” It was 1961, and led by the Congress of Racial Equality, a group of blacks and whites rode on interstate buses (Greyhound and Trailways) to end segregation on the buses and in bus station waiting rooms in the deep South. For their efforts, many of the Freedom Riders were nearly killed, their buses vandalized and burned and dozens of them arrested and sent to jail.

    The Kennedy brothers are portrayed as being less than supportive of the Freedom Riders. Robert Kennedy, in particular, thought that they were causing political problems in what was still then a segregationist Democratic-run South.

    So, the Freedom Riders knew that their lives were at risk, because neither the Kennedys nor the local segregationist police would protect them. Many got beaten to a pulp. Yet, busloads kept coming.

    Ultimately, the Kennedys were embarrassed into action. They supported civil rights, but on their political timeline. But the increasing media attention and brutal treatment received by the Freedom Riders reluctantly forced RFK to get the Interstate Commerce Commission to ban segregated buses and waiting rooms on any carrier that drove any of its buses across state lines (for example, Greyhound and Trailways).

    There is a tingling, inspiring feeling to watching these courageous blacks and whites engage in nonviolence, even as they are mercilessly attacked, wounded and jailed.

    Power doesn’t yield without a fight. Sometimes, even people you think will support you (the Kennedy brothers) have their own priorities and abandon you.

    So, victory came – as it did to the Freedom Riders – to those who fought on, even signing their wills before they boarded buses into the deep South in 1961.

    It was a moment that pushed an unwilling White House into the center of an activist civil rights movement, and there was no going back.

    All because of the sense of moral justice and courage of a committed group of blacks and whites, who put their lives on the line.

    May 4, 2011, will mark the 50th anniversary of the departure of the first Freedom Riders’ bus. It was burned in Alabama and its occupants nearly killed.

    Mark Karlin
    Editor, BuzzFlash at Truthout


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