For Release: November 15, 2007
Contact: David Almasi at (202) 543-4110 x11
or [email protected]
Black Activist Slams "Buckwheat" Blackout
Louisiana Liberal Latest Pol Given Pass
Washington, D.C. - After a Louisiana state representative called a noted local civil rights activist "Buckwheat," Project 21 chairman Mychal Massie is criticizing both the lawmaker for saying it and the media for once again appearing to take a pass on reporting about a liberal politician's racial foible.
Hazel Boykin, a 75-year-old civil rights activist who helped desegregate Louisiana restaurants and schools, helped Democratic State Representative Carla Blanchard Dartez get voters to the polls earlier this month. At the end of a private telephone conversation thanking Boykin for her efforts, Representative Dartez said, "Talk to you later, Buckwheat."
Buckwheat was one of the black characters featured in the "Our Gang" movie shorts of the 1930s and 1940s whose stereotypical image is considered an insult today. Boykin told the Associated Press: "I've never had no one talk to me that way and I consider is a racial slur... I know the meaning of it, it's just like the n-word." Representative Dartez said, "I regret my choice of words," and cited her 93 percent voting record with the legislature's Black Caucus as proof she is not a racist.
"Representative Dartez's comments were offensive and pejorative," said Massie. "There is no way in this day and age that 'Buckwheat' can be construed as anything but an insult, and there is no reason a politician should get a pass based on their record or party affiliation. She should resign her seat."
Massie notes there has been a virtual media blackout regarding Representative Dartez's comment. Even the New Orleans Times-Picayune - the major newspaper in the city located approximately 50 miles from her district - only ran the syndicated Associated Press article about it. This is a sharp contrast to recent international coverage of a similar private phone call in which cable reality star Dwayne "Dog" Chapman of the A&E show "Dog the Bounty Hunter" used the n-word in describing his son's fiancé.
"Dog the Bounty Hunter is a basic cable TV star. Carla Dartez is a lawmaker who can make a real difference in people's lives. Why is the media seemingly not outraged by her remarks? Why is Dog apologizing on 'Hannity and Colmes' and 'Larry King Live' and not her?" asked Massie.
Project 21, a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization sponsored by the National Center for Public Policy Research, has been a leading voice of the African-American community since 1992. For more information, contact David Almasi at (202) 543-4110 x11 or [email protected], or visit Project 21's website at http://www.project21.org/P21Index.html.