A group of Kansas civil rights and religious leaders want Republican state Rep. Steve Alford to resign from office for his racist comments about Blacks and marijuana, KSNW-TV reported. Alford’s apology is not enough. He spread the racist myth that Black people have genetic and character flaws that lead to drug abuse. The Black leaders are calling for real consequences.
“Leadership is a privilege, it’s not a right. He has affected the scores of people who have fought to really heal racial wounds over the last 50 years,” said Pastor LaMont T. Holder, president of the Missionary Baptist State Convention of Kansas that represents 100 Kansas churches. His statement came after the closed-door meeting on Sunday with civil rights leaders and lawmakers.
Alford came under fire for telling a group of constituents that the government made marijuana illegal because of African Americans. “One of the reasons why, I hate to say it, was that the African Americans, they were basically users and they basically responded the worst off to those drugs just because of their character makeup, their genetics and that. And so basically what we’re trying to do is we’re trying to do a complete reverse with people not remembering what has happened in the past,” he stated. After apologizing for that statement, he stepped down from several leadership positions in the legislature.
However, stepping down from board chairmanships is not enough. “You have so dishonored that office and the privilege of serving. We think the only right thing to do is resign,” Holder stated. The pastor sent a letter to House Speaker Roy Rychman calling for Alford’s resignation. Alford and others who come from “pockets of rural America” don’t know or understand African Americans “because they are really out of touch with who we are.”