You are browsing the archive for Racism. in Chicago: Justice for the Cook County Ten

5:17 pm in Uncategorized by Rashad Robinson

This week, I joined Chicago-area members to deliver more than 66,000 petition signatures to the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office. The petition demands that State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez immediately acknowledge the innocence of 10 falsely accused Black men (known as the Cook County 10) and agree to vacate the convictions of nine who were convicted for crimes they didn’t commit.

Terrill Swift, one of the men who was coerced into falsely confessing to a crime, and his family joined us for the delivery. Please check out video from the day’s events:

Swift was paroled last year after spending 15 years in an Illinois prison for rape and murder. DNA testing performed during the original investigation indicated his innocence. Earlier this month, he told Chicago Tribune reporter Steve Mills, “If I was guilty, I would have done my time and tried to proceed with my life. But I can’t continue to walk around like a convicted felon when I didn’t do nothing. So I’m fighting it.” Read the rest of this entry →

ColorOfChange Takes On Fox in Today’s NY Daily News

2:03 pm in Uncategorized by Rashad Robinson

Today we’re running a full-page ad in the New York Daily News demanding that Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes stop promoting and profiting from race-baiting. Check out the ad here:

This open letter is just the latest step in our ongoing efforts to hold News Corporation, Fox News and Fox Business accountable. The appeal comes after more than 110,000 people around the country called on Ailes to fire Fox Business personality Eric Bolling. We reached out to Ailes last week to alert him of the outcry in response to his network’s latest display of race-baiting. Ailes’ response? Silence.

In case you missed the news, Bolling is the “Follow the Money” host who claimed earlier this month that President Obama has a habit of having “hoodlum[s] in the hizzouse,” referring to an official meeting the president had with an African head of state at the White House. In the segment, the African politician appeared photo-shopped with a gold tooth. This came on the heels of Bolling accusing Obama of “chugging forties” in Ireland instead of tending to the victims of tornadoes in Missouri. Bolling issued a weak apology, claiming that he and his guests got “fast and loose” with the language. But that doesn’t explain the photo-shopping, other graphics that accompanied the segment, or Bollings’ comments on Twitter that repeated the offensive messages.

Unfortunately, this unabashed use of racial stereotypes is par for the course at Fox. We’ve seen it with Glenn Beck, John Stossel, and a number of other personalities at the networks. And if the 2008 campaign season was any indication, with its “terrorist fist jab” and “Obama’s baby mama” moments, America needs to prepare itself for another round race-baiting aimed at driving us apart.

That’s why we’ve taken our call for accountability to Ailes’ and Murdoch’s doorstep with today’s ad in the Daily News calling them out for continuing to ignore and profit from the race-baiting on Fox.

If you haven’t already, join our campaign. We’ll need your help in the weeks and months ahead.

Demand the GOP stop inciting and supporting hate

3:02 pm in Uncategorized by Rashad Robinson

The hateful acts that occurred at the tea party rally in Washington this weekend were not isolated incidents — they are part of a growing pattern of violent rhetoric, racially charged imagery, and paranoid conspiracy theories emerging from the Republican party’s grassroots supporters.

Republicans officials have contributed to this atmosphere with fear-mongering and coded racism, and they have actively courted this element of their party. It’s time that Republican leadership is forced to address what it’s helped to create.

Please join us in confronting Republican leaders and demanding that they take responsibility for tamping down the bigotry and hate among their supporters, and that they disavow the fear-mongering that leads to it. And please ask your friends and family to do the same — unless we take a strong stand against this kind of hate, it will continue. We need as many people as possible — of every race — demanding that it stop.

Our members are calling on Michael Steele, John Boehner, and Mitch McConnell to do two things:

  1. Unequivocally condemn bigotry and hate among your supporters, and make clear that those who embrace it have no place in your party and that you reject their support.
  2. Make clear that you will not tolerate fear-mongering and coded appeals to racism from officials in the Republican party, at any level.

Here’s the message we sent to our members today:

Dear member,

It’s time to hold the Republican Party accountable.

You’ve probably heard about Tea Party members shouting "Nigger!" at Black Congressmen during a protest in Washington, D.C. last weekend. One of the protesters spat on Congressman Emmanuel Cleaver, while another called openly gay Representative Barney Frank a "faggot" as the laughing crowd imitated his lisp.1

But Saturday was just the most recent example of the intolerance and hate coming from right-wing extremists this past year. At times it’s been instigated by Republican leaders. When not, it’s usually condoned and seen as part of a strategy to score politically. Either way, it’s completely unacceptable and has to stop.

It’s time to confront Republican leadership and force them to take responsibility for the atmosphere they’ve helped create. Join us in drawing a line in the sand, and ask your friends and family to do the same:

We’re calling on RNC Chair Michael Steele, House Minority Leader John Boehner, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to publicly do two simple things:

  1. Unequivocally condemn bigotry and hate among their supporters, and make clear that those who embrace it have no place in their party.
  2. Make clear that they will not tolerate fear-mongering and coded appeals to racism from officials in the Republican party, at any level.

Republican leaders publicly denounced Saturday’s ugly scene, but they failed to acknowledge that this is only the latest incident in a pattern of violent rhetoric, racially charged imagery, and paranoid conspiracy theories at Tea Party rallies.2 Many Tea Partiers aren’t simply about dissent — they use fear and hatred to assault the very legitimacy of our elected leaders. It’s the worst America has to offer.

Despite this, Republican leaders court the Tea Party movement while methodically supporting, exacerbating and exploiting their fear and anger for cynical political ends.3 This is nothing less than a betrayal of American values, and it’s up to us to force the Republicans to stop aiding and abetting this enterprise:

The Tea Party movement has been marked by racially inflammatory and violent outbursts since its inception a year ago. GOP leaders are trying to pass off this weekend’s assaults on Congressmen Lewis, Cleaver, Clyburn and Frank as isolated incidents. But when so-called "isolated incidents" crop up again and again, a pattern starts to emerge. The examples are numerous.

At rallies held to protest tax day last year, Tea Partiers carried signs that announced "Obama’s Plan: White Slavery," "The American Taxpayers are the Jews for Obama’s Oven," and "Guns Tomorrow!"4 The Republican National Committee had endorsed the rallies, and RNC Chairman Michael Steele encouraged Tea Partiers to send a "virtual tea bag" to President Obama and Democratic Congressional leadership.5 After reports of the fear-mongering signs surfaced, Steele did nothing to distance his party from the lunatic fringe. He has even gone so far as to say that if he didn’t have his current position, he’d be "out there with the tea partiers."6 Some Republican governors even planned a "Tea Party 2.0" for the following month in an effort to build on the rallies’ momentum.7

The Tea Party’s venomous rhetoric picked up steam over the summer, when angry mobs flooded town hall meetings legislators had organized as sites for rational, civil debate on health care reform. After one meeting in Atlanta, a swastika was painted on the office of Congressman David Scott (D-GA), who had also received a flier addressed to "nigga David Scott." 8 Some protesters showed up at town hall meetings carrying guns, including at least one man who was armed at an event where the President was speaking 9. Again, Republicans responded to these tactics with silence, doing nothing to denounce them.

Similarly, there was no public outcry from Republican leadership when Mark Williams, a leader of the Tea Party movement, was exposed for having described the President as "an Indonesian Muslim turned welfare thug and a racist in chief" on his blog.10 Instead, members of the GOP continued to show up to and endorse Tea Party rallies. And as recently as Sunday — the day that the historic health care bill passed the House — Republican members of the House riled up the same Tea Party crowd that had earlier harassed their fellow members with hate and bigotry.

Our country deserves better than this. No matter what party one supports, we should all take strong action to support civil, honest, and respectful public debate. Can you take a moment to call on Michael Steele, John Boehner, and Mitch McConnell to denounce the racist rhetoric and fear-mongering that have been ongoing, significant characteristics of the Tea Party movement, and tell those who embrace these divisive and un-American beiefs that they have no place in their party, as members or leaders? And when you do, please ask your family and friends to do the same:

Thanks and Peace,

— James, Gabriel, William, Dani, Milton and the rest of the team
   March 23rd, 2010

1. "Tea Party Protests: ‘Ni**er,’ ‘Fa**ot’ Shouted At Members Of Congress," Huffington Post, 3-20-2010

2. "10 Most Offensive Tea Party Signs And Extensive Photo Coverage From Tax Day Protests," Huffington Post, 4-16-09

3. "Memo Reveals GOP Plan to Exploit Fear of Obama," AOL News, 3-4-2010

4. See Reference 2

5. "Tax Day Tea Parties Officially Endorsed By Republican Party," Huffington Post, 5-15-2009

6. "Steele: I’d join the tea parties," Politico, 1-15-10

7. "GOP govs plan Tea Party sequel," Politico, 5-12-2009

8. "Rep. David Scott’s (D-Ga) office spray-painted with Swastika," Daily Kos, 8-11-2009

9. "Armed and Dangerous?" Talking Points Memo, 8-11-2009

10. "Tea party leader calls Obama a welfare thug," The Loop, 9-15-09