I remember when I was a college student at The University of Kentucky writing in the campus paper. Most of the white students at this conservative school in the south pretty much hated my guts. I didn't mind that, since the pain of growing up as a black man in the state of Kentucky left a scar so deep that it significantly thickened my psychological skin.
One of the articles I wrote linked the Republican Party to racism in America. The editor of the campus paper, a conservative who loved to paint me as a raging liberal (I am honestly not all that liberal), titled the column, "Republicans are Racist: Guilty by Association."
While I didn't agree with the editor's assertion that guilt by association should matter to any of us, he may have had a point. The truth is that even guilt by association can get us into serious trouble. The case of former Republican Presidential hopeful Ron Paul is one that reminds us that the Republicans are having a great deal of trouble shaking their perceived connection to the very worst parts of America.
The release of Paul's newsletter from the 1990s only makes matters worse, as the newsletter presents a goldmine of incredibly racist statements and accusations that would make Rush Limbaugh blush.
Some of the most interesting statements in the newsletter are presented below:
"Boy, it sure burns me to have a national holiday for that pro-communist philanderer Martin Luther King. I voted against this outrage time and time again as a Congressman. What an infamy that Ronald Reagan approved it! We can thank him for our annual Hate Whitey Day."
"Just after a basketball game ended on June 14, blacks poured into the streets of Chicago in celebration. How to celebrate? How else? They broke the windows of stores to loot, even breaking through protective steel shutters with crowbars to steal everything in sight."
"If you live in a major city, you've probably already heard about the newest threat to your life and limb, and your family: carjacking. It is the hip-hop thing to do among the urban youth who play unsuspecting whites like pianos."
In addition to making outlandish statements about people of color, Paul presents other interesting information, such as a poll in which he claims that only 5% of African Americans have sensible political opinions. He also mentioned that "if you have ever been robbed by a black teen-aged male, you know how unbelievably fleet-footed they can be."
To say that Ron Paul's newsletter is ignorant would be an understatement. Also, it is my greatest hope that this revelation is enough to ensure that the Republicans do not give him serious consideration for the presidency. What is most interesting, however, is that Paul's newsletter brings an ironic and almost refreshing sense of honesty into our conversation about race in America. Paul's statements are not as scary as the fact that there are millions of Americans who agree with him. Many whites have equally "interesting" beliefs about African Americans, which lead to a serious disrespect of our humanity. We are seen as fleet-footed car-jackers who love R&B music, rather than a heterogeneous group of Americans who have the same flaws and capabilities as anyone else. The goal is not to believe that all black people are good: The goal is to know that we are normal.
I am not sure what ridiculous story Ron Paul's advisers are going to come up with to try to explain this one away. But the truth is that you probably won't see Paul making a serious run for the presidency, and that is a good thing for America.
Open link for Ron Paul's interview on CNN: