Friday, January 17, 2003

CA Bigots Keep on Giving

SACRAMENTO -- A California Republican Party leader has called on the highest-ranking African American in the state GOP to stop "parading" his race by complaining about "how awful it is to be a black Republican."

In an angry letter distributed to GOP activists statewide, Randy Ridgel, a member of the party's Board of Directors, responded to an accusation by fellow board member Shannon Reeves, who is black, that Republicans have treated African Americans as "window dressing."

"I, for one, am getting bored with that kind of garbage," Ridgel wrote. "Let me offer this suggestion to Mr. Reeves: 'Get over it, bucko. You don't know squat about hardship.' "

Ridgel added: "I personally don't give a damn about your color ... so stop parading it around. We need human beings of all human colors in our party to pull their weight, so get in without the whining or get out."

Ridgel, a retired white rancher from rural Lake County, also endorsed an essay suggesting that there would have been an upside to a Confederate victory in the Civil War.

Regarding blacks freed from slavery at the end of the war, Ridgel wrote: "Most of the poor devils had no experience fending for themselves, so they fared worse than before the war and during the war."


In his own open letter to fellow GOP board members, Reeves said Republican leaders expect African Americans to "provide window dressing and cover to prove this is not a racist party, yet our own leadership continues to act otherwise."

He recalled that during the 2000 Republican national convention in Philadelphia, delegates asked him six times to "fetch them a taxi or carry their luggage."

Ridgel responded by calling Reeves "a bombastic gasbag." He criticized Reeves for writing "a lengthy whining letter explaining how awful it is to be a black Republican."

Ridgel added: "Your sniveling letter makes me sick, young man; you are a superstar because you are a black Republican, and you love it. Now I wonder if you can make it as just a Republican ... like the rest of us. And don't try any of that Jesse Jackson, Maxine Waters racist garbage on me."

In an interview, Reeves said he was disappointed that none of the scores of GOP activists who got copies of Ridgel's letter had made any public statements about it.

"When that letter was sent out," he said, "there should have been a mass outcry within the party."

Don't hold your breath, Reeves.