The Unz Review: An Alternative Media Selection
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Bigotry in Black and White
Race matters and double standards.
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The Washington Post used the occasion of Jesse Helms’ passing to reprint David Broder’s 2001 screed, “Jesse Helms, White Racist.” It’s here. Shorter Broder: You are an unrepentant bigot if you oppose racial preferences, object to the MLK federal holiday, or refer explicitly to the black voting bloc (but this and this are okay).

Meanwhile, Spike Lee and company gloat openly about reclaiming “Chocolate City” and P. Diddy and crew galvanize the BET audience with the racialist “Obama or Die” cry, with nary a peep from Broder and the liberal media elite.

By the way: When was the last time the Washington Post used the phrase “black racist” in a headline? Say, in any coverage of black racist Jeremiah Wright? Nope. Can’t find it, either.

In related news, Barack Obama will reportedly troll for white votes at a NASCAR event, according to the LA Times.

Commenter joeswampy quips at HA: “He just wants to wave the WHITE flag.”


Pssst, Barack: Watch out for those NASCAR cooties that your fellow Dems are so worried about. Contagious!


Reader Scott e-mails:

In that repost of a Washington Post article, the writer mentions “Both these Senate veterans switched from the Democratic to the Republican Party when the Democrats began pressing for civil rights legislation in the 1960s.”

Well, from what I know of history, the Republicans have been much better at civil rights issues than the Democrats. If it weren’t for the Republicans, the 1964 Civil Rights Act would not have passed.

Throughout history, beginning with the founding of the Republican Party, the Republicans have been for civil rights, while the Democrats opposed it all along the way.

And, you are correct, there is not one item in the article that shows Helms was a racist.

Scott Freeman

Farmington, Michigan


One of the things he was against in the 1960s was, alas, civil rights. His defense of segregation was of course deeply misguided. But is it fair for this error to have been placed in the first sentence of the New York Times’s obituary of him? Certainly liberals have forgiven the pasts of other segregationists, from Sam Ervin to William Fulbright.

Helms’s real offense was a stubborn and victory-making political incorrectness. In 1990, he was running for reelection against Harvey Gantt, a black former mayor of Charlotte. As with many of Helms’s elections, this one was tight. His campaign ran a television advertisement about Gantt’s support for racial preferences in employment and college admissions. It pointed out that these preferences unfairly cost white applicants jobs. Merely pointing out that they cost whites jobs, let alone unfairly, was too much for liberals, who called the ad, and not the policies it addressed, racially divisive.


Given his past, Helms may not have been the best advocate for a message of colorblind equal opportunity, but he was never one to shy away from a fight. Did Helms “oppose civil rights,” as the Times put it? Actually, the Senator No of 1990 merely opposed a certain vision of them.

For many liberals, Helms was an outright villain — a useful bogeyman in their scaremongering direct-mail pitches. Those who got to know him personally, however, became familiar with a man who was unfailingly cordial in his personal dealings. He went out of his way to visit with North Carolinians, especially students who dropped by his office in Washington. He and his wife raised two daughters and also adopted a boy who suffered from cerebral palsy. Another politician might have made a spectacle of this act of generosity. Helms, however, was admirably reticent.

Instead of thinking about what Senator No was against, it might be better to remember what Jesse Helms stood for: freedom for oppressed people around the globe, a strong national defense, balanced budgets, a right to life for the unborn, prayer in schools, and many other causes of mainstream conservatism.

Critically, he was for Ronald Reagan. In 1976, Helms supported Reagan against Gerald Ford, the incumbent Republican president. Reagan’s challenge was floundering before the North Carolina primary. Then Helms and his allies helped deliver their state, breathing life into Reagan’s effort. Although Ford ultimately secured the GOP nomination, Reagan became the party’s heir apparent. It is not far-fetched to believe that without the assistance of Helms in 1976, Reagan would not have won the presidential election in 1980.

That is a worthy legacy for any conservative: to have won one for the Gipper.


Bob Owens isn’t holding his breath for fair and balanced coverage of Kleagle Robert Byrd.

(Republished from by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Media Bias, Race relations