Saturday, October 29, 2022

Words Do Matter

Senator Tuberville,

Moving to Alabama a year ago, I was curious how I would find the state addressing its legacy of slavery, the Civil War, Jim Crow, and the Civil Rights era. I’ve found some hopeful signs, such as amending the state constitution to delete racist language and the portions that have been repealed. However, celebrating Robert E. Lee’s and Jefferson Davis’ birthdays and Confederate Memorial Day as state holidays seems inconsistent with reconciling the state’s lamentable history. Perhaps the idea is to let sleeping dogs lie.

But your remarks at Donald Trump’s political rally in Minden kicked that dog:

“They want reparations because they think the people that do the crime are owed that. Bullshit. They are not owed that."

Equating reparations — “something done or money paid to make amends or compensate for a wrong,” meaning the wrong of slavery — to “the people that do the crime” seems patently racist to me. The two are not equal.

Following your unfortunate remarks, you issued no clarification. No apology. No acknowledgment of the slur on 27 percent of the state’s population, whom you are supposed to represent.

Then, when pressed in your recent interview with Lenise Ligon of FOX10 news, you tried to dismiss the critique with an illogical string of words:

“Race has no color. Reparation would have no color.”

That makes no sense, Senator. To quote you, it sounds like BS. I can’t judge your intent, but it seems your remarks reflect the Jim Crow era that framed you.