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OK, Ron Paul, You Say You're Not a Racist, Prove It

01/11/2008 10:10 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Ron Paul and his backers can sail through the ceiling, scream foul until their lungs burst, and say that it's all a big conspiracy by mainstream media hit artists, a Paul hating and fearful political establishment, and on the make Republican and Democrats to smear and slander their hero as a racist. But the one that has done more to fan charges that Paul is a closet bigot is Paul himself in writings and sentiments that express racist views that purportedly carried Paul's stamp on them.

Paul is, of course, outraged every time those embarrassing newsletters written in the 1990s with racially front loaded inflammatory quips about and bash of blacks, and now as it turns out gays, keep publicly cropping up. They cropped up again recently on CNN. The Paul-attributed digs and insults call blacks chronic welfare grifters, thugs, lousy parents, say they are inherently racist toward whites, and supposedly admonished whites to get their guns because the animals are coming. Paul vehemently denies that he said any of those things.

But there's a colossal problem with his denial. The quips appeared in his officially approved newsletters. There is no evidence that he wrote a correction, issued a clarification, or if, as some Paul groupies claim, they were written by someone else, that he publicly disavowed and fired that someone else. Since Paul did none of those things it begs the question whether those views truly represent his feelings or not. He didn't disown them at the time. He loudly protests them now because he has to. He has revved up a motley group of disaffected, disgruntled, naïve, wet-behind-the-ear teenie boppers, and political malcontents who crave for someone, anyone, to snub their nose at the political establishment. But their mix of blind adulation and desperation translates out into more media and public scrutiny than Paul has ever gotten. And that in turn has meant that his past, or alleged past words, are now wide open for public dissection and accountability. That riles up Paul backers who go nuts over any hint that he is anything less than the second coming of St. Paul and Mother Theresa.

Even if Paul, as he claims, didn't write or utter one of the offensive words, or hold the sentiments, that are attributed to him, his odd mish mash of ultra conservatism and libertarian spoutings marks him as suspect. The cornerstone of the jumble is his view of government and what it should or should not do about civil rights. Paul holds that government should have minimal or better still no role in civil rights laws and enforcement. The government passed and enforced civil rights laws, did nothing to solve the country's racial ills, and worse, fueled even more racial polarization, he says. That old, worn, and thoroughly discredited view warms the hearts of the packs of closet bigots that pine for the old days when racial and gender discrimination was the American norm and government did little to protect black and gay rights.

Paul piles even more suspicion on his denial of racial bias when he even more absurdly tries to claim that he is pounded as a racist because more and more blacks cheer him for blasting the drug laws as biased and harmful to blacks. The disparities in drug law enforcement are gaping, and demand reform, but urging that they be totally scrapped is a far different matter.

The drug plague and the crime, violence, and family wreckage that has come with it has torn poor black communities and has caused much pain and suffering among African-Americans. The last thing that the majority of African-Americans want to see is open and unchecked illicit drug selling bizarres operating in their communities. Blacks have been among those that have shouted the loudest for crackdowns on crime and drugs.

Despite what Paul says, there is absolutely no evidence that he has gotten, or will get any traction, with black voters on the drug issue. He is a fringe candidate with white voters, and that includes GOP voters, and he is a complete non-entity with black voters.

The Paul newsletters are damning enough, and if any of the racist stuff in them is true, that instantly disqualifies him as fit to run for any national office. And those that defend those views should be branded as what they are, bigots and crackpots.

So here's my challenge to Paul to prove that he didn't say or mean any of the racial jibes in the newsletters. Issue a clear and direct public statement, and that's not an off the cuff denial in a CNN interview, or on any other broadcast network, that says I fully support all civil rights laws, will work hard against racial and gender profiling, and will push government economic support initiatives to boost minorities and the poor. That's the challenge for Paul. Don't hold your breath waiting for him to accept it.

Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. His forthcoming book is The Ethnic Presidency: How Race Decides the Race to the White House (Middle Passage Press, February, 2008).