Subject Line: Bill Bennett Must Apologize Or Go.
Dear ColorOfChange.org member,
It will not be our usual practice at ColorOfChange.org to send out two action alerts in one day, but this was too outrageous to let slide.
On Wednesday, Republican operative Bill Bennett said the following on his national radio show:
But I do know that it's true that if you wanted to reduce crime, you could, if that were your sole purpose, you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down.
Bennett, on public airwaves, implied that Blacks are a criminal race. It's disgusting. And instead of apologizing, he is going around defending his statements on national television and attacking anyone who dares to take him to task.
This is coming from the former U.S. Secretary of Education and close ally of the Bush family. If he won't admit his error and apologize, he should be taken off the air.
Please sign our petition. We are calling on his distributor, Salem Radio Network, to stand against racism and pull his show:
Don't get us wrong. We believe that Bill Bennett has a First Amendment right to think and say whatever he wants. The government should not interfere. But no radio distributor or radio station is legally obligated to broadcast his viewsespecially when they demean an entire race. In fact, we believe they have a moral obligation to stop broadcasting them.
Black folks have suffered and died because of racist assumptions like the ones underlying Bennett's comments. And it's race-based generalizations like Bennett's that have laid the groundwork for the Holocaust in Nazi Germany, the genocide in Rwanda, and the genocide currently unfolding in the Sudan.
America still hasn't honestly engaged the issue of race in this country, and comments like Bennett's make things worse. They perpetuate the irrational view that as Blacks we are part of a criminal class, despite the fact that the theory has been debunked again and again. When you control for income and other factors, Blacks are no more likely to engage in criminal acts than anyone else.
But we are far more likely than whites to be arrested and convicted for committing the exact same crimes. Far more likely to be shortchanged when it comes to equality of education or opportunity. Far more likely to be pushed to the margins and forgotten, as we've just seen in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast.
Those are the real problems we should be addressing. But this isn't a conversation that Bill Bennett wants to have.
We are calling on people of all colors to sign our petition calling for Bennett to admit his error or be removed from the air:
In the United States, free speech is a right. But a national radio show is a privilege. And until he apologizes, Bill Bennett has no place on our public airwaves.
-- James Rucker & Van Jones
September 30th, 2005
Click here to read a transcript or hear a recording of Bennett's remarks.