A Lott of double standards

Larry Elder

12/19/2002 12:00:00 AM - Larry Elder
Who says white men can't jump? After Trent Lott's latest -- and so far, fifth -- apology, this time on Black Entertainment Television (BET), where he announced his support for affirmative action, Lott may soon come out for reparations. The feeding frenzy over his stupid Strom Thurmond birthday remarks show a) the appalling double standard of the Democrats, b) the glaring double standard of the news media, and c) the self-defeating, near-pathological Republican Party fear of being branded as racist. Yet the press gives liberal racism/racial insensitivity/race-baiting remarks a pass: Congresswoman Diane Watson, D-Calif., demands Lott's resignation. Watson, then a California state senator, opposed California's Proposition 209, the ballot initiative to rid the state of race- and gender-based preferences. About Ward Connerly, the black businessman who spearheaded the effort, Watson said, "He's married to a white woman. He wants to be white. He wants a colorless society. He has no ethnic pride. He doesn't want to be black." At least Lott apologized, whereas Watson later defiantly said, "That's right. I said it." Congresswoman Maxine Waters, D-Calif., denounces Lott, but she once called former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan "a plantation owner," and during a police-incident-turned-racial by Waters, said that she never sees the cops abuse "little white boys." Donna Brazile, Al Gore's campaign manager, called the Republican Party "the party of the white boys." "A white boy attitude," explained Brazile, "is, 'I must exclude, denigrate and leave behind.' They don't see it or think about it. It's a culture." She later said of black Republicans Rep. J.C. Watts of Oklahoma and now-Secretary of State Colin Powell that "they'd rather take pictures with black children than feed them." Both Powell and Watts called her comments "racist." Al Gore, in a campaign stop at a black church, called the 2000 presidential election a matter of "good vs. evil." He also said that when George W. Bush used the term "strict constructionist," this hearkens back to a time when blacks were "three-fifths of a human being." Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., said of the 1994 Republican Congress, "It's not 'spic' or 'nigger' anymore. They say, 'Let's cut taxes.'" Nation of Islam's Louis Farrakhan officially supports a separate geographical area for blacks, as set forth in the organization's Web site. Farrakhan made anti-Semitic remarks, and, among other things, called Korean shop owners "blood-suckers." He supported the presidential candidacy of Jesse Jackson who, despite calls to do so, refused to renounce the group. Jesse Jackson called Jews "Hymie" and New York "Hymie-Town." Al Sharpton called Jews "diamond merchants" and denounced "white interlopers." They both apologized, and the matter quickly died. Never mind that Sharpton jump-started his career by falsely accusing a white district attorney of rape in the fraudulent Tawana Brawley case. Sharpton never apologized. Director Spike Lee pronounced Trent Lott a "card-carrying member" of the Ku Klux Klan. Never mind that the director said he disliked interracial couples, "I give interracial couples a look. Daggers. They get uncomfortable when they see me on the street." Democratic California Lieutenant Governor Cruz Bustamante, as described in my new book, "Showdown," received comparative kid glove treatment when, incredibly, in a speech before a group of black trade unionists, he referred to blacks as "niggers." After Bustamante's profuse apologies, the story died. Colleagues call Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., the "conscience of the Senate." Yet, after a Lexis-Nexis search of 32 years of media reports, NewsMax.com reported that the former Klan member never used the "A-word" or the "S-word" ("apology" or "sorry") in renouncing his membership. Last year, Byrd apologized for using the term "white nigger," and the storm quickly subsided. Trent Lott suffers for his past support of Bob Jones University, a school that once banned interracial dating. Yet, incredibly, the National Association of Black Social Workers officially opposes "trans-racial adoptions" of blacks by whites, calling them "cultural genocide." In Chicago, white Alderman Thomas Murphy, a Democrat representing a predominantly black district, attempted to join the City Council's black caucus. "The only reason I was given (for the denial)," said Murphy, "was that I'm not an African-American elected official. I believe that the purpose of the caucus was to represent the interests of the black residents of this city. Apparently, they think otherwise." No story. This in no way excuses the bone-headed, offensive remarks made by Lott. But let's apply the same standard to non-Republicans. Lott's implosion proves the opposite of what those with race-colored glasses claim -- that racism remains a potent force in American life. As Denny's, Texaco and John Rocker learned, white racism long ago withered as a growth industry. So here we are. An alleged segregationist goes on a channel called Black Entertainment Television to apologize for suggesting support for racial separation. Only in America.