“It is critical that its membership remain exclusively White. He does not, and cannot, meet the membership criteria unless he can change his skin color.”
How would you feel about that statement being made by a White man, as the reason to bar a Black man from an all-White organization he belonged to?
Would you be outraged? Would you see it as overtly racist? I strongly expect (and strongly hope) you would be.
Well, that statement didn’t come from a White man, as the reason to bar a Black man from an all-White organization he belonged to. It came from a Black man as the reason to bar a White man from an all-Black organization he belongs to.
And, worse still, this is not some private organization, which has the freedom to be as racially odious as it cares to, it is a caucus within the United States congress – which is a federal organization, paid for with federal dollars and therefore, at least on paper, not legally able to discriminate by race.
That comment was made by Rep. William Clay (D-MO) ten years ago, to bar Rep. Stephen Cohen (D-TN) from joining the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), despite the fact that Cohen then – as now – represented a primarily Black district. His exact words – the real quote:
“It is critical that its membership remain exclusively African American. He (Cohen) does not, and cannot, meet the membership criteria unless he can change his skin color.”
I have written a number of times about the overtly racist nature of the CBC, and how it is tolerated in a way that, in my opinion, is clearly insulting to Black people (“Hey, you’re Black, so we don’t expect you to work within the rules White people have to work with. Aren’t we nice? Aren’t we benevolent?”).
It is exactly the same declaration of Black inferiority that is used to claim a Voter ID requirement should be mandatory. (“Hey, you’re Black, so we don’t expect you to be as capable of getting a Voter ID as White people are. Aren’t we nice? Aren’t we benevolent?”).
In both cases, it stinks. In both cases, it is overtly racist. In both cases, it is demeaning to Black people.
Acceptable racism is every bit as racist as any other form of racism. It stinks, and should not be tolerated.
Enough is enough.