For Release: September 23, 2005
Contact: David Almasi at (202) 507-6398 x11
Black Group Demands Action from Congressional Black Caucus and Hillary Clinton Over Anti-Bush Slur
Comparing the President to Segregationist Inappropriate
Members of the black leadership network Project 21 demand that the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) and Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) join with them in condemning remarks made by CBC member Representative Charles Rangel (D-NY) in which he called
President George W. Bush "our Bull Conner," referring to the 1960s segregationist icon.
"Charles Rangel's comments are morally vacant and beneath the pale, but obviously not out of character for him and his supporters," said Project 21 member Mychal Massie. "How many blacks today suffer from beatings, fire hoses or have dogs set on them for trying to seek a seat at a lunch counter or go to school? How many us today are living under inflexible, legislated segregation?
Massie adds: "Rangel's comments may play well with those who embrace ignorance, but it will not resonate with Americans who eschew racial demagoguery. We demand that the CBC and Senator Clinton join with this overwhelming majority of their fellow citizens in banishing hate speech such as this to the trash heap of history."
Representative Rangel made his comparison of President Bush to the former Birmingham, Alabama police commissioner at the Congressional Black Caucus's 35th Annual Legislative Conference in Washington, DC on September 22. As reported by the New York Sun, Rangel also said, "If you're black in this country and you're poor in this country, it's not an inconvenience - it's a death sentence." Senator Clinton was also in attendance at the event, as were Senator Barak Obama (D-IL), Representatives Danny Davis (D-IL) and Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) and former entertainer Harry Belafonte.
While taking offense to the racial animosity of Representative Rangel's remarks, Project 21 members also disputed the lawmaker's implication that the Bush Administration is unresponsive to minorites.
"I'd be interested in viewing any footage Congressman Rangel has of our President turning fire hoses on black Americans," said Project 21 member Kevin Martin. "While the differences between George W. Bush and Bull Connor begin superficially with the fact that Connor was a Democrat, it's more important to note that President Bush has the most racially diverse administration in presidential history, and these appointees serve in some of the highest positions. If Congressman Rangel is referring to policy, I fail to see how trying to give everyone the ability to make their own choices on things like retirement security, medical care and education, not be burdened by taxes and be safe at home and abroad is akin to enforcing a separation of the races."
For more information, contact David Almasi at (202) 507-6398 x11 or Project21@nationalcenter.org, or visit Project 21's website at http://www.project21.org/P21Index.html. New Visions Commentaries can be found at http://nationalcenter.org/P21NewVisions.html.
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