Is Senator Harry Reid a racist?

Filed under: Harry Reid,Politics |

By John Telford, Author of A Life on the RUN – Seeking and Safeguarding Social Justice

Black (and many white) reactionaries are still calling Nevada senator Harry Reid a racist for stating a probable truth—that many whites (and some blacks) were swayed to vote for President Obama because he’s light-skinned and speaks “standard” English.  I’ve battled racists throughout my career and called them what they are in print, in board halls, and over the air.

As I said regarding Rochester’s resident racists when I was the deputy superintendent there, and as I said again two decades later on television regarding Madison Heights’ racists when I was the superintendent there, “If it looks like a duck and walks like a duck and talks like a duck, you can be pretty sure it’s a duck.”  Sen. Reid is a liberal Democrat with a record of supporting African-Americans.  A “duck” he isn’t.

This brings to mind the Dale Lick case of 1993.  Dr. Lick was the Michigan State University governing board’s favored candidate   for the MSU presidency until word got out that he had said blacks are innately superior in some aspects of athletics.  When confronted with that statement during the interviews, he refused to recant.  By all accounts, he was the best candidate.

Many mainstream publications, including Runner’s World in a 1992 article, have stated the obvious in asserting that athletes of West African descent are generally faster sprinters than are athletes of purely European descent.  Throughout the past half-century, Track & Field News’ annual listings of the world’s top times in the dash races confirm that 95% of them were clocked by Caribbean or American Blacks, who some anthropologists hypothesize are collectively stronger due to muscular-skeletal traits, hybridization, and slavery’s brutal “natural selection.”   In the 1950s in national and international competition, nearly all of my toughest opponents at 100, 200, and 400 meters were African-Americans or Jamaicans.

Dale Lick’s statistically supported statement cost him the MSU job, even though he also made this relevantly redeeming remark: “Just because Blacks are superior in athletics doesn’t mean they’re inferior in something else.”  When we insert the word “intellectually” in place of the words “in something else,” we reach the crux of this issue.  I taught black youngsters from disadvantaged backgrounds who became top academicians, including john powell, the executive director of the Kirwan Institute at Ohio State.

I encouraged them to be able to switch from dialect to the “standard” English spoken by leaders like Obama when the situation requires it.  Also, as Sen. Reid implied, favoring lighter-skinned blacks socially and politically remains a discriminatory practice of many Americans, both white and black.  Reid simply told the truth.  So did Lick.  “Political correctness” shouldn’t supersede plain truth—or plain justice.


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Author: Kirwan Institute (427 Articles)

Kirwan Institute

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