Project 21 News

(A publication of Project 21, 20 F Street NW, Suite 700 Wasington, D.C. 20002 (202) 507-6398.)

Date of Issue: November 2, 1995

For more information contact: Arturo Silva or Michael Session at (202) 507-6398

African-American Leadership Group Condemns Use of Racial Slur by Senate Democratic Leader

Members of the African-American group Project 21 are expressing outrage over the use of a racial slur by Senate Minority Whip Wendell Ford (D-KY) during a radio interview on Louisville, Kentucky's "Jane Norris Show."

According to a page six Washington Post November 2 story, which reviewed a tape of the interview by WHAS radio, a caller told Sen. Ford, "I'm not near as rich as you, Senator." The caller was responding to Ford's assertion that the GOP budget package would disproportionately benefit the rich. Ford's response to the caller was: "Well, I'm not nigger rich, either." Ford explained later to WHAS: "I thought the caller used an offensive racial epithet. I was so shocked and offended that I shot back at him, and I repeated what I thought the caller said to emphasize how offensive it was to me."

"My first reaction to Sen. Ford's comments were that if the movie 'Mark Fuhrman Goes to Washington' is ever made, the Senator would make a good leading man," stated Project 21 member Raynard Jackson, a private business consultant. "Why aren't the Democrats denouncing this? If a member of the Republican Congressional leadership had said that, the Black Caucus would have held a million man march about it. The Washington Post definitely would not have buried it on page six. The broadcasting networks would have probably interrupted their prime time programming. Where is the outrage? Furthermore, Ford's excuse for using the slur is laughable. Why would he respond to an epithet with an epithet?"

"Is this yet another example of where we're supposed to separate the message from the messenger?" asks Project 21 Chairman Edmund Peterson. "The lack of outrage indicates that Ford must be one of the good racists. Because he's a mouthpiece for the liberal agenda, I guess his comments are supposed to be overlooked. This comment reminds me of one that was equally ignored from Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) when he defended racial preference programs by recalling his legislative efforts on behalf of blind people. I'll repeat it again, it seems that the media and liberal members of Congress are applying a double standard. Racial slurs made by proponents of the liberal agenda are ignored or excused, because presumably they are 'progressive.' Meanwhile, conservatives who even come close to violating certain racial sensitivities are driven out of town. There are now two types of racists in America: the good racists and the bad racists. Mr. Ford, it seems that the silence of your liberal colleagues and the media makes you a good racist."

"I am shocked and appalled ... this is completely and totally inappropriate for public discourse," said Project 21 member Horace Cooper, who is also the Legislative Counsel to Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-TX). "There are no circumstances under which this is appropriate. If a member of the Republican leadership had said something of a similar nature, the Washington Post would have made it a page one story."

Contact Arturo Silva or Michael Session of Project 21 at (202) 507-6398.

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