Skip to comments.Conservatives, Some Blacks, Outraged Over Milwaukee Paper's Editorial
Posted on 11/04/2005 7:16:54 AM PST by Jean S
NEW YORK An editorial in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel this week that opposed President Bush's nomination of Judge Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court has drawn fire from conservatives for its criticism of Justice Clarence Thomas.
The opinion piece, posted first on the paper's Web site Oct. 31, sought to slam Bush for adding another white man to the court, which diminishes its diversity. But in doing so, the column sparked opposition from some for the characterization of Thomas as "a black man who deserves an asterisk because he arguably does not represent the views of mainstream black America."
Editorial Page Editor O. Ricardo Pimentel said the paper had received nearly 150 letters, e-mails, and phone calls from critics, noting that most were from outside the state.
"They've been fairly unprintable and unmentionable, sometimes calling us racist," Pimentel told E&P. "I think folks are jumping to conclusions that we think Thomas isn't black enough. That is not what we said. We just said his views are not within black mainstream thought."
None of the letters or e-mails had been printed or posted online, Pimentel said. But, he added, "they're coming."
The portion that seemed to draw the most opposition pointed to the fact that, in replacing retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Conner with a white man, Bush would be hurting the court's diversity. "In losing a woman, the court with Alito would feature seven white men, one white woman and a black man, who deserves an asterisk because he arguably does not represent the views of mainstream black America," it read.
The editorial also stated that, "in picking Appeals Court Judge Samuel Alito for the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday, President Bush gave his right flank what it wanted: a true-blue conservative. The question now is: Is Bush giving the country what it needs?"
It later noted that, "Another minus is that the nomination lessens the court's diversity. O'Connor herself had expressed the desire that her successor be a woman. O'Connor seems to have grown wiser about diversity as a result of her Supreme Court experience. She came to see the virtues of having a court that looks like America -- doubtless a big reason she softened her opposition to affirmative action in recent years."
The editorial was written by an African-American, editorial writer Gregory Stanford, who was unavailable for comment. It quickly brought sharp rebukes from conservative and right-leaning black-targeted Web sites and commentators.
Powerlineblog.com, the conservative Web site based in the neighboring state of Minnesota, weighed in, saying, "The editorial board of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel won't hold the lead for long, but for the moment they may have offered the most despicable mainstream commentary on President Bush's nomination of Judge Alito to the Supreme Court.
"But here is what I really don't understand: the liberals at the Journal Sentinel apparently think that Supreme Court justices are like House members who represent constituencies, and are supposed to vote according to the wishes of those they represent," the blog comment continued. "That's a stupid idea, obviously."
At Project 21, which describes itself as the National Leadership Network of Black Conservatives, a press release stated that the group condemned the newspaper, saying, "Justice Thomas is not on the Court to represent 'mainstream black America' any more than Justice Antonin Scalia is supposed to stick up for Americans of Italian descent or Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is supposed to be the Court's voice of American Jewry. Is there a mainstream black view on so-called 'right to die' cases? What is the proper Jewish position on the Endangered Species Act's impact on property rights? Who knows? Justice Thomas represents the conservative judicial philosophy of the president who appointed him. So far, he is doing that quite well. If liberals want to affect the philosophical tone of the Supreme Court, they should consider winning the White House."
OpinionEditorials.com also complained, writing "This bigoted attitude that any successful and non-liberal leaning black man or woman doesn't represent 'black America' is down right ignorant like most of the opinions held by the liberal left."
Finally, Rush Limbaugh had his say on his Nov. 2 radio show, telling the Journal Sentinel, "You people are doing one of the greatest services that we could hope to have done. You are cracking up right along with the rest of the left. You will go out and you will write stories about Bill Clinton as the first black president and you will think that you are being brilliant, and you will think that you're being clever. You take an African-American, Clarence Thomas, and you say he's not black; he doesn't qualify because he doesn't represent the views of the blacks in this country. How would you know, in Milwaukee?"
Pimentel said he had no regrets about running the editorial, and had no plans for a column or other explanatory note about it. "I let it in as a statement of fact," he said of the editorial. "That Clarence Thomas did not represent mainstream black thought. I think that is demonstrably true if you look at his rulings. A reasonable person could surmise that, saying he would weaken the voting rights act, outlaw affirmative action, dilute black voting power, make it difficult to prove various kinds of discrimination, and approve cruel and unusual punishment."
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel deserves an asterisk because it doesn't represent a newspaper.
It appears there just aren't many bright liberals.
Yes, it is definitely not racist to insist that most blacks think the same way, absolutely not racist... - sarc
LIBERALS are pathetic and the worst racists...
Typical newspaper. Doesn't know squat about anything, but writes about everything.
"A reasonable person could surmise that, saying he would weaken the voting rights act, outlaw affirmative action, dilute black voting power, make it difficult to prove various kinds of discrimination, and approve cruel and unusual punishment."
No. Not a REASONABLE person. But the "lunatic" left definately would.
Welcome to the plantation.
As an aside, what is the etiology of "doesn't know squat"?
I would guess it is a polite way of saying "doesn't know sh_t"??
Always in the origianl meaning of things like this. Ok, it is an obsession. :)
The Dead Tree Media still doesn't get it.
As a recent transplant to the central Wisconisn area, this made me chuckle.
Conservatives in Arizona were quite happy to say adios to the odious O. Ricardo Pimental. I am not at all surprised to see his narrow-minded, racist views surface in another newspaper.
So THAT's what happened to Pimentel! He was an extreme lefty columnist for the Arizona Republic, always playing the victim, praising illegal immigration, and ineffectively ridiculing anyone who disagreed with him as an anti-latino racist.
A complete idiot... I can't believe this paper hired him as an editor.
"Black mainstream values"
Could someone tell me in very small words just exactly those values are???
In a world where there seems to be a great dividing line between successful blacks and the majority of blacks who are the mainstream of the criminal world, this needs to be parsed further for me, please.
Gangsta Rap? The talking points of the DNC? Maybe both?
"Black mainstream values"
Coming from an editor such as this, it's code for socialism, usually. Black friends and acquaintances of mine, however, are consistently opposed to illegal immigration, are deeply offended that gay activists are attempting to equate their efforts with the civil rights movement, and are beginning to question the overt hostility directed at their Christian religious beliefs.
As a result, I think that if this editor thinks he's all that well acquainted with the actual mainstream values of black Americans, he really needs to get out more, and actually speak with a few black people before making such a statement.
I was unaware that genetics were responsible for political views.
Welcome to Uncle Dem's plantation! If you try to runaway, they'll take you to the woodshed!
Don't stop them, though, because Rush is right yet again. Milwaukee telling us about black people? That would be like having Saudi Arabia tell us about the Chinese.
Thomas was not elected to the Legislature. He was appointed to the Supreme Court where he is supposed to represent the views of the Constitution.
I'm looking forward to seeing what Eugene Kane will have to say on this...
He may also be a race baiter most of the time, but he at least will call out the black community if he feels its eating their own.
The big question becomes does he feel Thomas is a traitor to his race or not.
Popcorn fun could begin.
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