From Fox News: Rep. Corrine Brown (D, FL), issued an apology for comments made about the Bush administration’s Haiti policy. In those comments, she stated Republican leaders were “racist” in their policies toward the nation. She added that those leaders were “a bunch of white men.”
Taking exception to this was House Rep. Henry Bonilla (R, TX), who stated that he was a Mexican-American and deeply resented being called racist and white.
Her initial response, according to witnesses: “You all look alike to me.”
As Bonilla correctly pointed out, had that comment been made by a Republican about a group of Black lawmakers, a firestorm would have resulted! Bonilla complained that there is a racist double-standard in the Democratic party that is keeping this exchange rather quiet. “The current silence is deafening,” Bonilla said, in what has to qualify as one of the best soundbites of the week.
Brown later wrote an apology to Bonilla in which she stated that her comments came as a result of the fact that the State Department delegation involved did not include any “females or people of color.” As Haiti is mostly black, Brown felt their position was “callous and out of touch with the needs, (cultural and otherwise) of the Haitian people.”
As if she hadn’t given us enough material to work with, Brown added, that she was sorry “if what I said was construed as a personal affront.”
Where to begin??
How about this: you cannot condemn racism if you then use it as a point of argument. If it’s wrong, it’s wrong. Her comment about “a bunch of white men,” was as racist. She shot her own argument in the foot before it ever took a first step.
And: is it truly impossible for lawmakers to represent all people? Can a black leader not represent white people? Is a white leader incapable of serving the needs of black constituents? Forget Haiti for a second: If color is that big of an issue, does this mean that we need to segregate the country and divide up states so that black citizens are only represented by blacks and whites by whites? Is this not the logic of this position, when carried out to full measure?
I suspect that all races have a share of common sense…that given a balanced look at a situation, people of all colors can come to a conclusion that best serves the whole. I wouldn’t vote against a black candidate simply because he’s black. I would consider such behavior — by either race — extremely shortsighted.
Finally, the most ridiculous part of the story. That little line in her apology about being sorry “if what I said was construed as a personal affront.”
Dear readers, please indulge me for a moment: go back in time to a point in your life where you were discriminated against, because of your color, your gender, or even your looks. Is there any other way to take it?
Racism, after all, is a personal attack: the racist assumes that you aren’t worth getting to know on a personal level becuase you happen to belong to one group, and that you’re no better than the worst member of that group.
I’m sure Rep. Brown, when she has been prejudiced against at some point in her life, took it as a personal affront.
Her comments are inexcusable. Even if her concern about there being no black representation in the delegation is valid, her approach was completely inappropriate. A leader whose job is to represent all people should know better.