Race-Baiting E-mails

by Dan Quinn

One of the state’s right-wing extremists who has been among the most vocal in demanding the replacement of Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, as speaker of the Texas House appears to have a stunningly ignorant understanding of civil rights history. In a new e-mail commentary about the speaker’s race on Friday, Peter Morrison insists that the Voting Rights Act of 1965 is a “racist” law:

“[T]he Voting Rights Act is a nearly 50 year old law that unconstitutionally discriminates against southern states. It’s a racist law that presumes black people can only be represented by black people, and that white voters in southern states are wicked racists who are always out to deny black people their right to vote.”

Actually, Congress passed the Voting Rights Act precisely because southern states were discriminating against African Americans — systematically denying them their basic right to vote and choose whom they wanted to represent them in government. Arguing otherwise is simply an effort to rewrite history and promote a lie.

Morrison, whose commentaries have also appeared on the white nationalist website VDARE.com, has said in the past that he doubts minorities even face discrimination anymore, and he frets about “anti-white discrimination.” He appears to believe that racism exists, but with minorities as the perpetrators.

He has called U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor — the first Hispanic member of the nation’s high court — a “race hustler” and has charged that President Obama hates those whom Morrison revealingly defines as “normal people” (as if everyone else is abnormal?):

“The flip side of Obama’s ‘empathy’ is apparent hatred and contempt for white people, traditional families, small business owners, evangelical Christians, conservatives, and everyone else that liberals call the ‘racist, heterosexist, nativist, Christianist, capitalist, homophobic power structure’ in America. In other words, what most of us call normal people.”

In addition, his attacks on Speaker Straus have sounded at times like a dog whistle for anti-Semites, with Morrison explaining that Straus’ opponents in the Texas speaker’s race are “Christians and real conservatives” while highlighting the fact that Straus is Jewish.

TFN has taken no position on who should be speaker of the Texas House. We believe that honorable people can disagree about who should be. Opposing Speaker Straus certainly does not make someone an anti-Semite or a racist. But Morrison’s odious screeds do raise the question.