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Black History Month in Bush's America
January 22, 2003
By Christian Dewar

George W. Bush appeared with the widow of the great civil rights leader Martin Luther King last year to declare him an American hero. Bush also appeared at the requisite photo-ops for Black History Month to demonstrate his solidarity with the nation's blacks. The issue is whether he is sincere in his support for minorities or whether his is putting a soft and fuzzy face on the hard-right policy of covert racism. Even a cursory examination of his record reveals a cynical effort to pander to minorites as he turns back the clock on efforts to achieve equality. Martin Luther King must be rolling over in his grave at the hypocrisy of this administration.

According to a report last year by the Citizen's Commission on Civil Rights, the trend in Bush's America is now towards resegregation. This has been once again revealed in his renomination of Pickering for the federal bench. This is a man who wrote law review articles suggesting pro-segregation legislation. He also intervened in a case before the court in an effort to have the sentence reduced for a man who burned a cross and fired shots into the house of a mixed-marriage couple.

According to the Commission, progress towards promoting women and minorities has been reversed. One member claimed that Bush's policies amount to a "sham." In Florida, Jeb Bush has worked diligently to dismantle affirmitive action. When asked by a black woman what he would do for African Americans if elected to office, Jeb responded, "Probably nothing."

Dubya's antipathy towards blacks goes back a long way. According to author J.H. Hatfield in his book, Fortunate Son, Bush was behind the Willie Horton smear campaign along with Lee Atwater and Karl Rove. This was an attempt to portray presidential candidate Michael Dukakis as the architect of a furlough program which would release black criminals into society to kidnap and murder. Never mind that the furlough program was instituted by his Republican predecessor, this was a blatant attempt to play to the bigots and racists in order to get votes.

As governor of Texas, Bush refused to sign the hate crimes legislation named after James Brady, the black man dragged behind a pickup truck by neo-nazis. Bush also refused to pardon Kevin Boyd, a black man who had had been proven innocent of rape by DNA tests. Although the district attorney and the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles wanted to free him, Bush refused to do so "until all other legal remedies have been exhausted."

In an effort to win the votes of southern racists, Bush appeared at Bob Jones University, a school that had at one time refused federal funding so it could continue to exclude blacks. When they were admitted, a policy of forbidding inter-racial dating was instituted. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas could not have dated his wife (who is white) if he had attended the school. The founder of the college was also anti-Catholic, calling the religion satanism, and the pope the anti-Christ. (What could Anton Scalia think of this?) Bush's attorney general Ashcroft received an honorary degree from the school, and the head of the DEA, Asa Hutchinson, graduated from Bob Jones University.

Bush also has ties to apologists for the antebellum South and slavery policies such as the magazine Southern Partisan, which has a very strong bias against minorities, and the Council of Conservative Citizens, which has been described as an uptown Ku Klux Klan. Bush never took a stand on whether states should fly the Confederate "Stars and Bars" over government buildings, despite it being perceived as a symbol of slavery for the nation's blacks.

As manager of the Texas Rangers, Bush came under criticism from the NAACP for not granting more work to black contractors on construction of the new stadium and for not granting them more jobs in the concessions. Bush was slow to fire those contractors that had fraudulently represented themselves as minority businesses. Bush eventually hired a black P.R. firm to rehabilitate his image among blacks when he ran for office. It has been said that Bush preaches inclusion but practices exclusion.

The most telling example of Bush's true attitude about minorities concerns the intentional disenfranchisement of non-white voters during the last presidential election. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, the man who replaced racist Trent Lott and who has a similarly dismal voting record on civil rights legislation, is thought to have assisted in this effort. The book, Jews for Buchanan documents the effort of his campaign to reinstitute Jim Crow voting practices. Black votes were supressed by the use of faulty voting machines in predominantly minority neighborhoods, purging from voter lists of innocent people wrongly labeled as felons, faulty ballots, the relocation of voting centers shortly before the election without announcement, police roadblocks near the precincts to intimidate and harass blacks and the lack of computers to verify voter credentials at minority neighborhood polling centers.

Blacks and Hispanics have not fared well, despite the intense P.R. effort. Bush attempted to locate a nuclear waste dump close to a predominately Hispanic town near the border with Mexico where toxic waste could have leaked into the Rio Grande, a source of water for thousands of people and livestock. More Hispanics and Blacks live in poverty without health care than in any other state and his education policies have been a sham. Molly Ivins and reporters at the Texas Observer have been covering the covert racism of the Bush family for years.

And while Bush is doing his best to dismantle Roe v. Wade and ban abortions, his family historically has backed eugenics programs which advocate selective breeding of traits to improve the gene pool (read, blond, blue-eyed caucasians.) A search engine such as will reveal a significant amount of data on the Bush's involvement with this debunked pseudo-science.

As the cynical father of J.C. Watts commented, "A black voting for a Republican is like a chicken voting for Colonel Sanders."

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