Pen of Racism


One of the consistently dreadful attributes of Media General is how, under its new management of marketing hacks, it tries to shed its racist past.

This is especially evident the morning after the announcement of the death of James J. Kilpatrick, the pro-segregation editorial page editor of the defunct Richmond News Leader.

For his years as editor up to 1966, Kilpatrick, an Oklahoman, thundered away at court-ordered integration, supported the Massive Resistance program created by Virginia’s white ruling elite, and later revised his views as he was on popular national television shows that have been cleverly lampooned by Saturday Night Live.

This morning’s Richmond Times-Dispatch treats the death of Kilpatrick as the passing of a brilliant man or head of state. Using a black and white motif to reflect the iconic black and white era photos of Kilpatrick wearing his iconic black and white plastic eyeglasses, the TD waxes eloquent about how he was a bright, good guy who mistakenly went down the wrong ideological (at least in today’s view) path and after washing away his sins in the creek waters of modernity and tolerance, emerged as a gentleman farmer living in Rappahannock County.

As the TD’s lead editorial writes: “James J. Kilpatrick’s pen blazed. He wrote with style and power; his prose stoked social and political fires. If he had not employed his considerable talents on a malevolent cause, he would have won a Pulitzer Prize.”

No matter how much the TD wants to reinvent history, the fact is that Kilpatrick was an out-and-out racist who did much to damage this country during a period of critically-important and inevitable change. He gave this campaign a supposedly intellectual flair by coming up with such arguments as “interposition” which is a states’ rights ploy that lets them ignore federal laws they don’t like. For a modern-day comparison, look what hard right Atty. Gen Kenneth Cuccinelli is doing with health care reform. He’s saying that Congress doesn’t have the power to change the current, unworkable and unfair system of health care because it tramples on states’ rights.

As far as Kilpatrick, let’s not forget that a late as 1963, he was penning articles for the Saturday Evening Post titled: “The Hell He is Equal” His unpublished diatribe argued that “the Negro race, as a race, is in fact an inferior race.”

Somehow the Times Dispatch left that one out of its fawning editorial and obituary. Back in the day, the TD did have a somewhat enlightened editor, Virginius Dabney, who had a great gift of gab. Unfortunately, Dabney, who disapproved of Massive Resistance, did not have the intestinal fortitude to go against the Bryan family that still owns the newspaper. When the Bryan-in-chief wanted an editorial supported segregation, Dabney said, “Yessir” and turned the writing job over to one of the TD’s advertising hacks, according to the highly-acclaimed book “The Race Beat” on the Southern media during civil rights.”

Now is you want to see a Virginian editor who had the brains and guts to fight Massive Resistance, look at Lenoir Chambers, editor of The Virginian-Pilot, who won the Pulitzer the TD says that Kilpatrick should have won back in 1960. One of Chamber’s prize-winning editorials stated:

More intelligent handling of problems of great difficulty will continue and increase only if commonsense and courage continue to direct the course of both political leadership and public opinion. The struggles for reasonable solutions are not over. The state may see setbacks of serious proportions. It is certain to encounter perplexities not easy to resolve. It may discover demagogues entranced with the thought of exploiting honest doubts and uncertainties as well as old prejudices. It needs sensible cooperation from its Negro citizenship. It needs every ounce of good will it can find from any source.”

Now that is about as far away from “The Hell He Is Equal” as one can possibly get. Chambers, who died in 1970, never got the “60 Minutes” buzz that Kilpatrick did. But the fact is, he mattered a hell of a lot more than the TD’s “Pen of Fire.”

It takes a lot of guts to state the right thing right here, right now, when the heat is on. Not 50 years after the fact when your newspaper’s circulation and ads are slipping badly, you suddenly need African-American readers and you’ve put your newsroom management in the hands of the marketing department.

Peter Galuszka

(Full disclosure. I have worked for both the Richmond Times Dispatch and The Virginian-Pilot and still work part-time for the company that owns the latter newspaper).

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36 responses to “Pen of Racism”

  1. Larry G Avatar

    What was going on back during Massive Resistance – has some parallels with today in this respect.

    Back then, there were those who were adamantly committed to segregation and were activists about it.

    The journalists like Kilpatrick were the media standard bearers who egged on and energized those with those views.

    (sound familiar?)

    The other 2 groups were these.

    Those who unsure and didn't want trouble so they kept to themselves and kept quiet.

    The other group knew it was wrong and opposed it in a long, drawn out social and legal pitched battle that cost many dearly in different ways from being ostracized in community, church or even neighborhood ..

    Eventually the racists were beaten back ( not beaten) and many of the then "converted" to good guys – like the battle was a legitimate disagreement and not really about racism.

    These folks did not like the idea of becoming "long-time, old racists" so they became "respectable"..

    Ony those who really knew them – knew whether or not they really had a "come to Jesus" conversion or just changed their persona.

    We know two of them quite well – Trent Lott and George Allen.

    Most of Kilpatrick's latter-day tomes were on the esoterica of words, phrases and language – which I always found curious given the man's firebrand past.

    I could never read his columns without being reminded of his prior activities…and soon stopped trying.

    Does anyone know if he ever did write about Massive Resistance and his changed view an rejection of it or did he just walk away from it without discussing it?

  2. James A. Bacon Avatar
    James A. Bacon

    Kilpatrick came to repent of his racism, as can be seen in this painful column he wrote in 2002 for the Atlanta Constitution (and was reprinted today in the Times-Dispatch).

    Yes, Kilpatrick gave an intellectual gloss to the massive resistance movement that the country now knows universally to be wrong. At least he had the courage later in life to change his grievous views and renounce his complicity in perpetuating segregation.

    I wonder how many liberals will ever admit their complicity in the perpetuation of inner-city poverty, out-of-wedlock births, drug abuse, broken schools, rampant crime and all the other pathologies that the modern welfare state has afflicted upon African-Americans. How many liberals will renounce the evil that has been committed in the name of good intentions?

    Not many.

  3. Larry G Avatar

    " I wonder how many liberals will ever admit their complicity in the perpetuation of inner-city poverty, out-of-wedlock births, drug abuse, broken schools, rampant crime and all the other pathologies that the modern welfare state has afflicted upon African-Americans. How many liberals will renounce the evil that has been committed in the name of good intentions?"

    Hey Jim, are you equating hate and racism with dumb-as-a-stump do-gooder acts?

    So.. if you were a Forest Gump racist it was equivalent to a Forest Gump liberal?

    REAL racists did not have good intentions… in my view… only ugly ones…

  4. Anonymous Avatar
    Anonymous

    How about Robert Byrd and Hugo Black?

    I agree with Larry's point "Only those who really knew them – knew whether or not they really had a 'come to Jesus' conversion or just changed their persona."

    TMT

  5. James A. Bacon Avatar
    James A. Bacon

    Larry, do you think that good intentions (but blindness of reality) insulate liberals from the guilt of the mayhem — the poverty, the squalor, the broken dreams, the misery, the deaths — that their welfare-state policies have afflicted upon African-Americans?

    I guess on a scale of evil, with Hitler being a 10 and American segregationists being a 9, liberals are only an 8. So, I guess good intentions do count for something!

  6. Larry G Avatar

    re: do-gooder dumbness verses hate and racism.

    It depends on what you are ultimately seeking – right?

    so do-gooders never do "get it" but others do.

    Many "do-gooders" realize now just how corrupt and bigoted the system was that was supposed to help those in inner cities but their hearts were in the right place. they certainly did not intend harm.

    On the other hand – the racists generally intended harm…

    the more hateful among them were fine with violence being the means to achieve their ends.

    As far as I know – no blacks were lynched by whites trying to "help" them.

    right?

  7. Gooze Views Avatar
    Gooze Views

    Jim,
    I think you are not getting my point.
    It doesn't matter to me what mea culpa Kilpatrick wrote in 2002. The fact is, he was an enormousloy important journalist and commentator. His views really mattered in very tense times. And he chose the wrong road, when it mattered.Who gives a damn about he writes 40 years later.
    Lenoir Chambers of the Pilot chose the right road. He and the Pilot and the Batten family endured lots of threats and vandalism at the time when it reallt mattered. They had guts when it mattered. Somehow, you seem to forget them.
    This undercuts your argument enormously. I'd hate to think you are in the same boat of Media General and its professional apologists and historical revisionists.

    Peter Galuszka

  8. Larry G Avatar

    I think it is curious that a man that grew up in Oklahoma and went to school in Missouri became a Virginia States-Rights Institution and Massive Resistance leader.

    very strange.

  9. James A. Bacon Avatar
    James A. Bacon

    Peter, If your question is, who showed more moral courage during Massive Resistance, Chambers or Kilpatrick, it's a slam dunk. Chambers did. And he should be lauded and feted for it.

  10. Larry G Avatar

    I would submit that James J – at that time – would have argued that he too was showing "moral" courage.

    no?

  11. Thanks for that excellent piece, Peter. I analyze Kilpatrick's substantial influence on the rise of the right – particularly its fusion of racial resentment and economic conservatism in my book "From the New Deal to the New Right: Race and the Southern Origins of Modern Conservatism" (Yale University Press 2008). In considering Kilpatrick's role in late 20th century politics, it isn't that white supremacy marred his conservative principles. Indeed, they cannot be separated, either for him or for the modern conservative movement. National Review also chose not to print his racist tracts, seeking to keep its defense of segregation tidily on what Kilpatrick himself called "the higher ground" of state sovereignty. In a racially stratified society that has all but given up on desegregation today, we still live partly in Kilpatrick's shadow. Whitewashing his commitments to white supremacy only helps keep us there.
    – Joseph Lowndes, University of Oregon

  12. Groveton Avatar

    Peter:

    Great article. I feel the same way about Harry F Byrd and Robert Byrd. I'll write a longer response shortly, Right now I have to drive down Rt 7, named Harry F Byrd Memorial Highway, to pick up one of my sons from football practice.

    You would think today's politicians could at least refrain from glorifying an out and out racist like Harry F Byrd. But no. Just like CBS couldn't resist the temptation of hiring James J long before he penned his mea culpa in 2002.

    I guess racism sells – even today.

  13. jimveejr Avatar

    So he and Robert Byrd shared similar beliefs 40 years ago? We can forgive the liberal democrat but not the conservative? Love that double standard……

  14. Gooze Views Avatar
    Gooze Views

    Jimveejr,
    What double standard? Byrd's Klan membership was despicable.
    There's one big difference. Byrd joined the Klan as a relatively young and uninfluential man back in the early 1940s. He renounced it long before he got into Congress in the 1950s.
    Kilpatrick was highly influential and his views had tremendous impact. Like Byrd, he later renounced his extreme views. But unlike Byrd he did a great deal of damage during the time he held those views.
    Conservatives like to throw up Byrd as a kind of proof positive of the supposed hypocrisy of liberals. Yet Byrd isn't the point here. Kilpatrick is.
    When you talk about Hitler's atrocities, do you also feel obliged to say, "Stalin killed a lot of people, too?"

    PG

  15. Larry G Avatar

    I'm amazed that folks don't see the difference between how folks conduct their lives, 10, 20, 30 years after they were initially recognized for racist actions.

    Mr. Byrd was no David Duke.

    there's a big difference that needs to be recognized.

    Mr. Trent Lott and George Allen pretty much demonstrated how much they had changed over the years and the judgment in their case was that they had not.

    Mr. Byrd subsequently voted for much legislation that clearly benefited those he once discriminated against.

    Mr. Lott and Mr. Allen did not have a record of such support.

    The problem I have with this view – like many who practice it these days is either they truly don't understand the difference or .. they purposely want to think of it in black and white terms an equate racism – no matter what kind and for how long as practiced as equivalent.

    Byrd clearly worked to prove that he did renounce his earlier transgression – in word and deed despite having used the "n" word later in life.

    James J – did renounce his words – 30 some years after the fact – but he was never known as a person who spent his subsequent time supporting efforts to wipe out institutional racism to make up for his earlier support of it.

    What James J did – was write a piece – pointing out that Trent Lott never did truly renounce his life long racist views – only submerged them until he inartfully exposed them – in an effort to glorify yet another unrepentant life-long racist at a public gathering celebrating the guy.

  16. Anonymous Avatar
    Anonymous

    This is plain silly. Larry's point is correct – we don't likely know who has truly repented of his ways and who is just posturing.

    Abandoning racist views is a good thing whenever it happens. While it is certainly better for someone to change earlier in life, it is still better for someone to change at sometime than it is to remain a racist.

    TMT

  17. Anonymous Avatar
    Anonymous

    Jim:

    You wrote the following:
    "I guess on a scale of evil, with Hitler being a 10 and American segregationists being a 9, liberals are only an 8. So, I guess good intentions do count for something!"

    I'm writing this as a Reagan Republican, just so you know where I'm coming from.

    That said, I can not believe you would rank political liberals just two spots below Hitler on your scale of evil. That's just unfathomable.

    Does that mean LBJ, Adlai Stevenson, FDR, Chuck Schumer, Tim Kaine and a host of other honorable, patriotic American public servants are just two spots below Hitler, the man who slaughtered 6 million Jews? And just one spot below American racists who lynched, murdered, terrorized, bombed and beat their fellow citizens who were just fighting for equal rights under the U.S. Constitution?

    I find your position indefensible.

    And I'm ashamed for you, even if you aren't.

  18. James A. Bacon Avatar
    James A. Bacon

    9:52 a.m.: Hitler didn't think of himself as an evil man. Heck, the guy loved dogs and little children. Stalin thought he was doing what was best for mankind, too. So did Pol Pot. If we judge people by the results of their actions, then, objectively speaking, liberals aren't as evil as Hitler, Stalin, or even Southern segregationists. At least it wasn't their hand on the trigger. Liberals have accomplished the remarkable feat of so degrading their victims that they kill one another.

    How many African-Americans have died from the pathologies created by welfare state liberalism? Trace the condition of African-Americans in 1960 with African-Americans today. Yes, half of them have risen out of poverty (a fact we can attribute to civil rights, not the welfare state). But what about the other half? How many out-of-wedlock births have there been? How many broken families? How much domestic violence has been inflicted upon women and children? How many victims of rape, assault, murder and other violent crime are there? How many have died in the squalor of crack houses from drug overdoses? How much passivity has been created by welfare dependency? How many lives have been stunted by the abject failure of public schools? How many African-Americans have been held back by the never-ending mantra of "racism, racism, racism," convinced they could never get ahead in a hostile, racist world?

    I am not impressed by the fact that liberals preen themselves with their moral superiority and their supposed compassion. If liberals were truly compassionate, they would be concerned about the results of their policies. But they steadfastly resist accountability. It's all about them. It's all about feeling good about themselves, showing that they "care" — never re-examining the assumptions behind their disastrous policies.

    Tell me how many African-Americans were lynched by whites under Jim Crow. Then tell me how many died from drugs, crime and domestic abuse under the welfare state, and we'll have a good basis for comparing the evils of the two regimes. Tell me how much African-Americans improved their economic condition in the 47 years preceding 1963 vs. how many escaped it since 1963, and we'll have another metric with which to judge liberal culpability.

    Just wait, one day historians will look back and view the liberal welfare state as one more in a long line of tragedies to befall African-Americans.

  19. James A. Bacon Avatar
    James A. Bacon

    Do I really believe what I wrote in the previous comment? I don't know. I'm just tired of liberals' smug superiority. They need to engage in a little self examination.

  20. Gooze Views Avatar
    Gooze Views

    Jim,
    Your "welfare state" argument is phony. "Liberals" did not conspire to kill blacks, foster illegimiate kids, all the 60s horror stories you bring up like a cliche. In fact, the Great Society programs (assuming that's your beef) did a great deal to improve the health, education and general well-being of neglected African-Amerians in inner cities and in rural areas.
    Eventually, the black middle class started expanding from the numbers it had before. True there were abuses such as AFDC moms keeping residences in three states to collect more welfare money, but those scams pretty much ended in the 1990s when Bill Clinton, (a Democrat) reformed welfare.
    For you to argue that liberals were fostering genocide, is not just over the top, it is downright ridiculous.

    Peter Galuszka

  21. Larry G Avatar

    comparing well-intentioned but misguided and/or unintended results with those who actually intend to cause harm to others as a purposeful strategy is pretty bizarre logic.

    Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot and plain old American racist all intended to harm an kill others who were not "their kind".

    I don't think a lot of liberals are "smug" in their perceived accomplishments, and, in fact, many of them do realize that not every intended good work turns out the way hoped.

    But they don't give up. They go back and try again to find other ways to accomplish the goal.

    that "goal" is very, very different from those who "goals" were never intended to help anyone to start with but instead overtly intended to cause harm and death.

  22. James A. Bacon Avatar
    James A. Bacon

    Peter, I didn't say liberals are fostering genocide. That's why I rank them only an "8" on the scale of evil instead of a "10." (With a little persuasion, I might be willing to knock them down to a mere "7.") I'm just judging them by the results of their actions.

    Some food for thought. The Tuskegee Institute has recorded 3,446 lynchings of African-Americans between 1882 and 1968. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics 8,000 African-Americans were victims of homicide in 2005 — one year — nine-tenths of which were at the hands of other African Americans!

    We ended the lynchings, thank god. But black-on-black crime still rages. Black-on-black crime existed before the welfare state but nothing close to the scale it does today. But rather than look at the real horror unfolding in our inner cities, the inadvertent result of their handiwork, liberals fulminate about manifestations of "racism" so subtle that the term has lost all meaning.

    Larry, I am not convinced that liberals really "go back again and find other ways to accomplish the goal." Most liberals (you are somewhat more honest and self-aware than most) are defenders of the status quo. Their modus operandi is to "do something" that usually entails spending money — other peoples' money — so they can feel better about themselves. Whether "doing something" works or not is largely immaterial. The point is to be perceived as caring and compassionate.

  23. Larry G Avatar

    I'm not sure that many see the black-on-black and out-of-wedlock… welfare.. etc as something that "we did" as much as something that we must deal with – not even as a do-gooder proposition but simply because we'll not sustain a prosperous future if we send 50% of blacks to prison in their teens and then pay for their entitlements when they are not in prison.

    I'm not real happy with the do-gooder mentality myself but we have to try to fix these problems – basically in our own self-interests and we pretty much are going to pay 30-40K for each person – black or white who lacks an education, doesn't know how to keep from being drawn into street criminality and then prison.

    We'll pay 30-40K to keep Dad in Prison and another 30-40K to provide an apartment and food stamps for Mom.

    It's in our own best interests to understand why 50+% of black males do not graduate from high school – and attempt to fix it.

    The two things that originally had potential to reverse the damage caused by slavery were the blue collar factory jobs and the armed services.

    The factory jobs are far fewer and now days.. you cannot get into the armed services without a functional high school education.

    The typical conservative view of this situation is that they did not cause it and they are not responsible for fixing it.

    right?

    so anyone who thinks we have to do something about it – is a liberal ( or a RINO)?

  24. Gooze Views Avatar
    Gooze Views

    Jim,
    You say things and then say you didn't

    Even Barack Obama is more clear than you are.

    Who cares about your list, anyway?

    PG

  25. James A. Bacon Avatar
    James A. Bacon

    I'm just trying to pick a fight.

  26. Groveton Avatar

    History is not this site's forte. Peter writes, "There's one big difference. Byrd joined the Klan as a relatively young and uninfluential man back in the early 1940s. He renounced it long before he got into Congress in the 1950s.".

    Technically correct. Byrd entered Congress in 1952 as a US Representative. He sort of, kind of renounced the Klan during the campaign. However, he was still very much a racist.

    To wit…

    "Like other bigoted Dixiecrat lawmakers, Sen. Byrd tried his hardest to filibuster the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and did so for 14 hours on the Senate floor. And he opposed the 1965 Voting Rights Act, though he favored the 1968 Civil Rights Act. Furthermore, the senator from West Virginia opposed the nomination of Thurgood Marshall, the nation's first African-American Supreme Court justice. Byrd even went to then FBI director J. Edgar Hoover — who participated in ruining the careers and lives of many black civil rights leaders – to see if Marshall had any ties to Communists that could torpedo his nomination.".

    Source: http://www.thegrio.com/politics/the-evolution-of-robert-byrds-racial-politics.php

    Byrd was born in 1917. Somewhere around age 50 he began to see the error of his racist ways.

    Not exactly the youthful indiscretion portrayed by the left.

    I notice that there is also a dearth of comments about another long term Democrat named Byrd – Harry F. Byrd. Was his racism also just function of his youth?

  27. Larry G Avatar

    I'll stipulate that Byrd has a 'rich' history of racism and would not argue strenuously about exactly, when or where or even if he really do completely and throughly rid himself of all vestiges of it.

    My experience, personally, has been that folks who grew up racist often never did completely escape it.

    I grew up in a racist family – not just the immediate family but the extended family and I have some intimate knowledge of how people portrayed themselves back when racism was pretty open and later on when it was considered something not to be proud of.

    But this whole thing about Byrd is a round-your-elbow way of the folks who still have or still justify racism as …not any worse than the likes of Byrd.

    Forget Byrd. How about the rest ?

    How many WHITE people including fairly courageous elected – stood up for what was right – and who did not – and who acknowledges now the folks who did not then and do not now – consider those who oppose racism as anything more than someone to find racist dirt on so as to undermine their words and deeds and to .. in effect.. equate any and all racism no matter how much or what kind as no different than the worst racists in history ?

    That's the part of this narrative that is inherently dishonest in my view.

    The Voting rights act di not pass because black people wanted it.

    It passed – BECAUSE … ENOUGH WHITE PEOPLE stood up for what was right.

    an now.. those same folks – if they had an ounce of racist incidents in their past – are called racist – as if they are no different than those who found every day for their entire lives against simple justice for the black people.

    Did the Democrats have racists in their ranks in the past?

    No question about it.

    Not every Democrat fought for Civil Rights.

    In Fact, most of the South's "Democrats" became Republicans on this issue…

    to wit:

    " The States' Rights Democratic Party (commonly known as the Dixiecrats) was a shortlived segregationist, socially conservative political party in the United States. It originated as a breakaway faction of the Democratic Party in 1948, determined to protect what they portrayed as the Southern way of life beset by an oppressive federal government[1], and supporters assumed control of the state Democratic parties in part or in full in several Southern states. The States' Rights Democratic Party opposed racial integration and wanted to retain Jim Crow laws and white supremacy. Members of the States' Rights Democratic Party were often called Dixiecrats. (The term Dixiecrat is a portmanteau of Dixie, referring to the Southern United States, and Democrat, referring to the Democratic Party.)"

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dixiecrat

    the bottom line here is that there were all kinds of racists and still are and you're not any better of a racist just because you can tag someone else with the same tag even if their version of it is 1/100th of yours.

  28. Larry G Avatar

    Groveton left something out of his quoted material:

    " Byrd enjoyed a perfect 100 percent rating from the NAACP."

    Now.. you'd think if the Black people would consider the man sincere in his rejection of racism that those silly pointy head conservatives who have their rumps all fluffed over racism might.. at the least acknowledge this point.. like the article did in the interests of bringing all the facts to the table.

    Shame on Groveton for once again cherry-picking.. so much for fair and balanced, eh?

  29. James A. Bacon Avatar
    James A. Bacon

    For the record: I don't really believe liberals are evil. I'm married to one. Some of my best friends are liberal. Heck, most of them are liberal. I just get a little weary of all the moral posturing, so I engaged in a little pushback.

    Conservatives are not indifferent to the poverty and suffering of others. They're just not interested in another anti-poverty program that sucks more money out of their pockets with no accountability and no results just so liberals can feel good about themselves because they "did something."

    Conservatives are all in favor of anti-poverty programs that work. In our experience, creating dependency does not work. Blaming others does not work. Building on the values of individual initiative, personal responsibility and the deferral of gratification does work.

  30. Larry G Avatar

    " In our experience, creating dependency does not work. Blaming others does not work. Building on the values of individual initiative, personal responsibility and the deferral of gratification does work. "

    Don't your liberal friends agree with this statement?

    I do.

    I'm sick of both sides wanting to throw money at their favorite causes…

    for instance, we want less government and less bloat unless of course it involves abortions and immigration..or predator drones or mosques.

  31. Groveton Avatar

    Yes, Larry the NAACP gave Byrd a 100% rating while he was trying to filibuster the Civil Rights Act.

    Sometimes I wonder if you are serious.

    As far as I can tell, the NAACP rating goes back to 1989. I am very confident that he did not get a 100% rating in any year between 1952 – 1968 or so.

    As I clearly wrote, he seemed to realize the error of his way at about age 50 (or, in 1968).

    James J Kirkpatrick also seemed to realize the error of his ways. So did George Wallace. So did lots of people. Except, of course, Harry F Byrd who seems to have never repented. Of course, Harry F Byrd died in 1966 before Robert Byrd, George Wallace or James J went through their metamorphoses.

    The question remains – why the unending venom for James J Kirkpatrick along with the "hall pass" for the Byrds?

  32. Larry G Avatar

    " The question remains – why the unending venom for James J Kirkpatrick along with the "hall pass" for the Byrds?"

    not from me.

    Kirkpatrick still ranks low in my book though and here's why.

    He was a vocal leader of institutional racism.

    Mr. Byrd – opposed equality but stopped short of what Mr. Kirkpatrick was doing.

    Second – Mr. Kirkpatrick, as far as I know, did NOTHING to make us for his actions whereas Mr. Byrd did.

    Finally, Mr. Kirkpatrick took a curious, somewhat cowardly path to admitting his sins by pointing out how Trent Lott had not repented.

    That's not exactly the same kind of Mea Culpa that Mr. Byrd of WVA did.

    Mr. Kirkpatrick, in his capacity as a journalist and leader of racist could have done much to discredit racism… to further stamp it out.. to underline even more just how wrong it is .. and I find few words or deeds on his part other than the "I am curious yellow" mea culpa".

    I believe Mr. Byrd saw the error of his ways and did expend word and deed to gain some level of redemption.

    Harry Byrd ? I'm not sure what your point is with him.

    He was just another racist but as far as I know.. he never rejected it..and never sought to rectify it.

    so what? He was what he was and no one that I know claims anything good or bad about him in the context of modern race politics.

  33. Groveton Avatar

    My point with Harry F Byrd is that modern day Virginia's politicians are still glorifying the man by naming highways and bridges after him.

    A famous American once said something about tearing down that wall. So, I say to Gov. McDonnell, "tear down those signs.".

    You'll also notice that all the former racists found tolerance sometime during the 1968 – 1975 timeframe. I guess being a racist just fell out of fashion.

    So, you rail against James J. Kilpatrick and I'll rail against all of them.

    By the way, here was Peter's comment:

    " He renounced it long before he got into Congress in the 1950s.".

    And here is Robert's strident repudiation of the Klan during the 1952 campaign:

    However, when running for the United States House of Representatives in 1952, he announced "After about a year, I became disinterested, quit paying my dues, and dropped my membership in the organization. During the nine years that have followed, I have never been interested in the Klan.".

    Disinterest <> repudiation.

    You say Kirkpatrick's racism did more harm because he was a journalist? Robert Byrd was a US Senator! He was trying to filibuster the Civil Rights bill in 1964 … 12 years after he entered Congress.

    The truth seems that a repentant racist who becomes a liberal is worthy of forgiveness while a repentent racist who becomes a conservative is not.

  34. Larry G Avatar

    Harry F. Byrd was also the guy who told VDOT to build roads for the rural counties… and maintain them.

    I don't know that much about Byrds brand of racism.

    but I think you're still missing part of the point.

    Many folks did not seek to bring it up until the right has insisted on making it an issue by accusing Dems of reverse-"racism".. Obama of hanging out with black "racists" ,etc.

    and, in general pushing the whole racist conundrum as a wedge issue to peel off the independents.

    I have to say… anyone who thought that the issue of "racism" was behind us really blew that prediction.

    If the election of Obama didn't do another thing – it dredged up all the ugly past about racism and fully integrated it into modern politics.

    And for me.. I'm coming to the point of view that we have quite a few folks who are, in fact, racist – and they'll even admit it but then claim they are no worse than folks like Robert Byrd.. so "everyone" is a racist…

    it's quite a stretch.. but.. a lot of folks are buying it…

    it's a powerful poison – folks who are not "like us".

    It infects the world from Ireland to India to Iraq and beyond to this country.

    and we were all kidding ourselves in this country thinking we had got beyond it.

    nope. the scab is off.

  35. Groveton Avatar

    I'll conclude on this topic with a prediction …

    In 50 years people will look back on today and wonder how we could have denied equal rights to gays and lesbians.

    While anti-gay bias is nowhere near as pernicious as old time racism, it is still contrary to the personal liberty which is meant to define America.

  36. Gooze Views Avatar
    Gooze Views

    Jim Bacon,

    Most of your friends are liberals?

    Don't drag us into your private hell.

    Peter Galuszka

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