Truth About My Views on Race
By Rep. Bob Barr
New York Daily News, Thursday,
January 28, 1999
article published in Newsday last year, Jake Lamar wrote that
Stanley Crouch's "greatest notoriety is for his skill as
a putdown artist."
I'm no expert on Crouch's other skills. But as the target of at
least seven columns penned by him, I can testify he more than
deserves a high ranking on any list of great American putdown
wisdom says arguing with those who purchase ink by the barrel
is foolhardy at best, and politically suicidal at worst. However,
being called a "racist" is a charge so offensive that
I'm simply not willing to sit down and take it.
the Council of Conservative Citizens, I am not a member and did
not discuss race or immigration during my brief appearance at
the only meeting of the group I ever appeared at, to which I was
invited by South Carolina's highest-ranking Republican Party official.
I have made it abundantly and repeatedly clear that I find the
council's support of segregationist views repugnant and would
never have spoken to it if I had known about those views beforehand.
has taken the fact that I once spoke to a group that holds bizarre
racial views and drawn the absurd conclusion that I agree with
those views and am "connected" to the group simply because
I spoke to its members one time on matters completely unrelated
to race or any remotely similar issue. As a man who prides himself
on intellectual honesty, Stanley Crouch should know better than
to use one isolated fact to draw a conclusion completely unsupported
by anything else on the record.
zeal to criticize a public official he obviously despises, Crouch
omits the fact that I have made hundreds of speeches during my
tenure in Congress, in venues as diverse as Yale University and
a convention hall in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Does he think that sharing
the stage with members of the ACLU makes me a liberal activist?
Of course not; no more than he would posit that Alan Dershowitz
believes and adopts the philosophy of a killer or a rapist simply
because he may appear with them in court.
also fails to mention the work I did as a United States attorney
to prosecute white supremacist groups and to punish racially motivated
police brutality. These cases resulted in death threats against
my staff and jurors. Again, Crouch omits these facts.
I was a child, my father served as an Army officer and then as
a civil engineer, and I spent many years living in other countries,
such as Iran. I know full well how it feels to be a member of
a very small minority, and I care deeply about preventing anyone
from being singled out for discrimination based on their race,
gender, national origin, religion or other factors. Yet, again,
Crouch would rather not tell you this.
isn't Crouch giving his readers all the facts? I suspect it is
because he had his mind made up before he ever began writing his
first column about me.
Crouch, Dershowitz, James Carville and others have expressed such
profound interest in my views on racial matters, I'll lay them
out very clearly, once again.
believe the color of a person's skin, the church they worship
in or the country where they were born should have absolutely
nothing to do with the opportunities they have in society or the
status they hold under the law.
forward to the day when our law and society are completely color-blind
and will continue working toward that goal as long as I am in
is the simple, plain, unvarnished truth, which may account for
Crouch's lack of interest in repeating it.