More often than not in America, it’s perfectly fine to be in support of or facilitator for policies that perpetuate White supremacy so long as you aren’t directly linked to direct expressions of racism.
That, more than anything, is the root of Louisiana Congressman Steve Scalise’s (pictured center) current troubles in the fallout of it being revealed that he delivered a speech to White supremacist group European-American Unity and Rights Organization (EURO) in 2002. Scalise is the the No. 3-ranking House Republican in a Congress that has consistently obstructed our country’s first Black President.
Scalise is a powerful man in a political party that actively works to suppress minority voters; has drawn congressional maps that have limited the power of the Black vote in districts across the country; has not only served as a safe house for Whites clinging to their racism as if life itself has no meaning without it, but has actively flirted with this fringe in the name of maintaining power; and is aggressively doing his part to curtail immigration reform, which is a direct assault on the nation’s soon-to-be largest minority group: Latinos.
It’s not all that different from former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling. Several years ago, ESPN personality and writer Bomani Jones penned a piece entitled “Sterling’s Racism Should Be News.” Sterling was sued by the Department of Justice on Monday for housing discrimination. Still, it took a TMZ audio clip of Sterling making blatantly racist comments to see him painted what he’s long been: a racist.
Here we are again, and now Steve Scalise is the target.
Already, the usual reactions have poured in. House Speaker John Boehner has released a statement, defending him and speaking to his “character”:
“More than a decade ago, Representative Scalise made an error in judgment, and he was right to acknowledge it was wrong and inappropriate. Like many of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, I know Steve to be a man of high integrity and good character. He has my full confidence as our Whip, and he will continue to do great and important work for all Americans.”
And there’s been a Black Democrat to lend his credibility to preserve Scalise’s character: Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.), told the New Orleans Times-Picayune, “I don’t think Steve Scalise has a racist bone in his body.” Another minority, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal also backed Scalise, but given “Bobby” Jindal’s past opinions on race, he wouldn’t acknowledge racism if it called itself a Grand Wizard and hollered epithets directly in his face. He’s much like Whoopi Goldberg, in that way.
Of course, Scalise has been very apologetic about the speech in question, condemning the “hate group,” conveniently noting how their views conflict with his Catholicism, while also feigning ignorance about what the group truly represented at the time. Meanwhile, the Internet quickly uncovered the EURO’s website as it appeared in 2002.
Unless Scalise was temporarily blind and without staff at the time, there was no way he could’ve truly not known the kind of crowd he was courting.
Scalise will likely be forced to resign in due time. And if former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke has his way, so may others considering he’s now threatening to out other political leaders who have spoken before other pro-White flocks.
So be it, but that only begins to crack the surface of the problem.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi spokesman’s Drew Hammill called Scalise’s admission “deeply troubling for a top Republican leader in the House.”
Hammill went on to add:
“However, actions speak louder than whatever Steve Scalise said to that group in 2002. Just this year, House Republicans have refused to restore the Voting Rights Act or pass comprehensive immigration reform and leading Republican members are now actively supporting in the federal courts efforts by another known extremist group, the American Center for Law and Justice, which is seeking to overturn the President’s immigration executive actions. Speaker Boehner’s silence on this matter is yet another example of his consistent failure to stand up to the most-extreme elements of his party.”
Not to mention, Scalise’s record in Louisiana includes him voting twice against establishing Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday as a holiday. Yet, this man is the third-highest ranking Republican in the GOP-controlled Congress.
Scalise has benefitted from courting racists, but the same goes for the party that has empowered him. When will everyone grow upset about that?