For Release: November 19, 2004
Contact: David Almasi at 202/543-4110 x106
or [email protected]
Black Activists Condemn Anti-Rice Hate Speech Civil rights Leaders Criticized for Ignoring Attacks on Conservative Minorities
President Bush's nomination of Condoleezza Rice as secretary of state has resulted in harsh liberal criticism that members of the black leadership network Project 21 consider racist.
Along with their condemnations of offensive commentators and cartoonists, Project 21 members also are critical of self-professed civil rights leaders who are remaining silent on current and previous racial attacks on black Bush Administration officials.
Over the past few months, and peaking this week with her appointment, cartoonists have been using Dr. Rice's race as a point of ridicule. Demeaning political cartoons by Pat Oliphant and Jeff Danziger accentuate Dr. Rice's black features and feature her speaking in rural southern dialect. Garry Trudeau called her "Brown Sugar" in his "Doonesbury" comic strip. Earlier this year, cartoonist Ted Rall questioned Dr. Rice's race in a comic suggesting she was President Bush's "house nigga" and needed "racial re-education." Universal Press Syndicate distributes Oliphant, Trudeau and Rall. The New York Times distributes Danziger.
On November 17, radio host John "Sly" Sylvester called Dr. Rice "Aunt Jemima" and secretary of state Colin Powell "Uncle Tom" on his WTDY (Madison, Wisconsin) radio show. Sylvester, who also is the station's program director, is refusing to apologize, but has said, "I will apologize to Aunt Jemima." The station's owner, the Mid-West Broadcast Group, is declining to discipline him.
In late October, a conservative host at WISN in nearby Milwaukee was suspended for a week for calling an illegal Mexican immigrant a "wetback."
While some local leaders have condemned Sylvester's comments, the Madison chapter of the NAACP has so far declined to make a statement. Project 21 asked the NAACP's national leadership to condemn Rall's racist cartoon in July, but no action was taken. Jesse Jackson and the National Association of Black Journalists were also contacted at the time. They took no action.
"To hear the leftists tell it, conservative blacks have become the new 'trash class' of American society," said Project 21 member Michael King. "And with the continued cricket-filled silence from the professional civil rights crowd, the Jesse Jacksons and Al Sharptons give tacit permission and acceptance of such language and tactics."
King's comments are echoed by Project 21 member Mychal Massie: "The recent racist attacks and mimicry of Condoleezza Rice are infuriating and despicable. Even more insufferable is the deafening silence of the elite liberals. I believe their silence is proof positive of their personal racist attitudes. Obviously condemning racist attacks against a man and woman who are conservative and black is not a worthy undertaking for them."
Project 21, a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization, has been a leading voice of the African-American community since 1992. For more information, contact David Almasi at (202) 543-4110 x106 or [email protected], or visit Project 21's website at http://www.project21.org/P21Index.html.
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