Racism and Sexism: West Virginia Politics At Its Worst
by Chuckie Corra, Wed May 11, 2011 at 04:38:37 PM EDT
I generally try to avoid the stereotypes of West Virginia (inbred, racist, un-educated, etc.) because for the most part they perpetuate a myth that the state itself doesn’t live up to. We are not inbred redneck white-supremacists like a lot of the common jokes and stereotypes suggest. However, much to my disappointment, racism is still alive in West Virginia. It comes as no surprise because, frankly, you are bound to find racism anywhere in the United States (thankfully not to the extent of what the U.S. saw during the civil rights movement). I’d like to believe that we live in a post-racial America, but sadly this is far from fact. Our country has gotten better, and racism is detested for the most part by the rational portion of our population.
Even if someone is what one would describe as “racist,” they typically aren’t outwardly voicing this belief (we’ll leave out the skinheads etc. since they are in a league of their own for this). However, sometimes people just let it slip. One man vying for the GOP nomination to West Virginia’s Gubernatorial election did just that.
Larry Faircloth (R-WV) is one of several people gunning for the GOP nomination, and may have just killed his chances of winning. Faircloth spoke at a candidates forum hosted by We the People of Hampshire County, an Eastern Panhandle Tea Party-affiliated organization. Faircloth touched on the subject of Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi, and decided to try his hand at a comedy. Not the best idea Faircloth has had.
Faircloth referred to Pelosi as a “bimbo.”
“Is she not one?” Faircloth said in a Tuesday evening telephone interview. “I mean, a lot of people think she is a bimbo; that’s why they replaced Congress with Republicans, and they removed her as speaker. I don’t find that as anything different than a political poke at her.”
He also referred to Obama as a “Sambo,” a term many consider racist.
When your joke offends the tea party members, and its in reference to Pelosi and Obama, you know you’ve made a huge mistake. If this public gaffe weren’t bad enough, Faircloth only exacerbated it. The Charleston Daily Mail reported that Faircloth initially refused to apologize publicly for his awful joke, even after being asked by the hosts of the forum where it occurred. Faircloth claimed to have heard the joke from a poll worker earlier and decided to recycle it in order to garner some type of comedic support. Its bad enough if someone doesn’t realize they made a racist joke, ignorance is still alive in this country. However, Faircloth’s remark was met with gasps from the audience and caused one man to walk out in protest. No excuse for Faircloth not knowing now.
Terry Craver asked Faircloth to put an ad in the Hampshire Review to apologize to the community.
“His reply was a resounding NO,” the email said. “He is afraid that if one of his opponents were to get a hold of this information, that it would damage his campaign. He doesn’t want his reputation to be hurt. Terry told him with the National Media already trying to make the tea party out as a bunch of racists his ‘joke’ would do more damage to the reputation of the tea party.”
If his opponents got ahold of the info he was afraid it would damage his campaign? Logic tells me that, even if he hadn’t been contacted to issue an apology, the incident would still have spread quickly. Faircloth has really moved his way up the bigot ladder, and doesn’t show any sign of climbing down soon. Thankfully, the primary is soon and West Virginia Republicans would be wise to vote for someone besides Faircloth.
I commend the members of the Hampshire County-based Tea Party for actively denouncing this inane man’s comments. I don’t find myself agreeing with any part of their platform (for the most part), but when push comes to shove we must all stand up for what is right. Sometimes, if you’re not part of the solution then you’re part of the problem. Lets hope that the WV GOP has enough sense to send Mr. Faircloth packing on primary day.
(cross-posted on MyFDL)