As I’ve written here and elsewhere, there’s an intriguing and not-well-documented connection between extremist white supremacists and more mainstream expressions of what Joe refers to as the ‘white racial frame.’ Most of the time, whites tend to disavow any connection to extreme groups, so I’m always intrigued when these ruptures appear, particularly at the level of presidential politics. And, this week the Chicago Tribune is reporting that Ron Paul is keeping a $500 donation from Don Black, white supremacist founder of “White Pride World Wide,” the largest white supremacist online portal.
And, perhaps more telling in offering the “connective tissue” between the extreme and the mainstream comes from The Swamp blog written by Frank James for The Balitmore Sun. He writes:
“As Paul’s campaign explained, it plans to keep the money because that will reduce the cash Black has to spend on spreading his controversial ideology by $500.
And, according to the campaign, another good will occur. Paul will have $500 more with which to spread his libertarian message of freedom from big government, including his opposition to the Iraq War.
One freedom Paul has comes from the unlikelihood he’ll receive his party’s nomination. If he were a real threat to be the Republican nominee, he would’ve given back the money immediately since no top tier candidate would want to take a chance on losing the big prize because of the kind of controversy surrounding this kind of controversy.
But a lot of money is given to candidates by supporters with views out of the mainstream, views many other Americans would find objectionable. That’s a given. The only difference is that Black doesn’t hide his views.
Still, the unwritten rule in politics is that when you find yourself getting money from someone controversial because of what they do or say, someone with views repugnant to most Americans, you give their cash back like it’s radioactive.
Paul’s approach is certainly unorthodox, like so much about the man. That doesn’t necessarily make it wrong. And because it’s so different a way of handling such a situation, it presents an opportunity for a discussion about what’s right and wrong in such situations. In short, it makes you think.”
So, according to Mr. James, Ron Paul’s “unorthodox” approach gives us all something to think about. Alright, let’s think about this. What could be wrong about accepting a donation from Don Black? Maybe it’s the fact that it suggests an implicit endorsement of his views. Perhaps the discussion to have, and not the one on anybody’s presidential platform, is the one about the centrality of racism in the U.S. and how we go about dismantling it, or at the very least, taking some small steps toward dismantling white supremacy by having a serious discussion about reparations. Unforunately, I don’t think that’s the kind of conversation that Ron Paul’s actions are going to facilitate, if the comments over at The Swamp are any indication, such as this one:
With all the black on white murder, rapes, carjacking, home invasions, etc, racist organizations like the Nation of Islam, Zebra murders, racist NAACP shysters, 250,000 black on white murders since MLK marched on DC, don’t tell me about racism. The black man and his left wing anti-white white shysters who run our media and banks are the racial genocidists. How much money is being sent to the mulatto Obama from racist Nation of Islam? How many racist dollars were given to Richardson from the racist La Raza? Screw the news – a revolution is happening on the street and white people are rising to oppose the civil and human rights abuses by africans against us – march march march!
Of course, this is not what all the comments are like, but I think it gives a sense of the sort of “conversation” sparked by Ron Paul’s candidacy; and, to paraphrase Mr. James, it makes you think about the ways the easily-disavowed extremist white supremacists are connected to mainstream political campaigns and reporting about those campaigns.
“Maybe it’s the fact that it suggests an implicit endorsement of his views.”
Not at all. I donated to Ron Paul. Ron is not endorsing my views, I’m endorsing his, and I don’t find anything rascist in his views.
FYI: So far the Green Party is narrowed down to the following Presidential Candidates: Jared Ball; Elaine Brown; Jesse Johnson; Kent Mesplay; Cynthia McKinney; Ralph Nader; and Kat Swift. Just throwing it out there for what it’s worth and for anybody interested.
As a black man, it is refreshing to see a politician, white or black, be honest about what he stands for. Ron Paul is like a breath of fresh air. His integrity and moral valor allows him to do what no other politician would dare attempt. He should definetly keep the contribution. He would be a hypocrit not to. This shows that Ron Paul has nothing to hide. He continues to maintain his integrity despite what is be attributed to him, due to this contribution. Ron Paul, stay the course. America’s constitution will regain its intended purpose when you become president. I speak for many black people when I say, you have my vote. Returned integrity to the White House. Ron Paul for President.
You don’t find it problematic than that such a inhumane individual, like Black is endorsing the views of a presidential candidate. While you may not find anything racist in his views clearly someone does. Furthermore, with a figure as public as Black it is not simply Black endorsing the view of Ron Paul but the favor is being returned. In the case of an unknown individual donating money the case may be different. But with public figures the situation is different.
In a recent campaign commercial, pitcher for the Boston Red Sox, Curt Schilling appeared in a campaign ad for John McCain espousing his support for the candidate. By McCain allowing Schilling to do an ad in support of his campaign McCain is not just using a well known face to get his message out he is also using the pitcher’s credibility and reputation. A similiar thing is taking place between Black and Ron Paul. By excepting the money from Black, Paul is using using Black’s credibility and reputation for his own campaign. Something that I don’t think any one believes is a good thing.
Ron Paul is so Awesome!
His stand on this issue by not sucking up to the establishments “unwritten” laws about the politically correct way to deal with the donation from a white supremacist is enlightening! The author of this Ron Paul smear would have you believe that the fact that Ron Paul is refusing this contribution is indicative of the fact that he “knows” that he will not win. On the contrary, perhaps the confidence in doing something out of the ordinary has a potential chance in increasing his chances in the race for president.
The latest wave of Ron Paul bashing articles has to do with his outstanding grassroots fundraisers for the Boston Tea Party… the media will shit itself over Ron Paul, the anti-banker, the representitive of the people! That is why this old information is just now leaking out at a conveniant time for the media to grab onto in an effort to smear the man who embodies integrity and frankness.
This article fails to mention why Don Black decided to give his contribution to Ron Paul, which he said was about Ron Paul’s policies, namely the fact that Ron paul is opposed to a police state and his want to strengthen the borders. Black noted that he knew that Ron Paul was not a white supremacist or a racist. The truth is that Ron Paul has spoken against racism and has never done anything to solicit the support of white supremacists unless it was by simply being for free speech (which includes the free speech of controversial topics like the ones Don speaks about).
Articles like this would like to tell you that because Ron Paul has allowed an openly racist figure to donate to his campaign he has implicitly suggested that he believes in racist ideology. This is purely illogical. People donate to candidates because the person who is running endorses the ideas that the donater wants addressed, not the other way around.
Everyone who donates to Ron Paul should be doing it because of the issues that he stands for, if not, you are wasting your money. Fortunately, it’s going to the best candidate possible!
I think the arguments both ways are interesting and make good points. On this one, I tend to side with Will again. But with that aside and still being a pretty hard-core pro-union supporter in terms of labor relations in the U.S. for the most part (until universal healthcare, unemployment security, etc. undergo radical changes)…this situation reminds me of one of the things that bothers me about the larger unions, but reversed from the scenario above in a way. I am thinking of a particular union that I respect—but donates large sums of $$$ to both the Democrat and Republican parties (other larger unions do the same). Why do they do this? The answer to this question I think is related to why Black would donate to Paul. Should Paul accept the donation? I suppose as the arguments above demonstrate it really depends on his moral stance and justification for doing so. But, based on the union scenario and why they donate to both—they expect something in return, which is the political support from those they donate to, regardless of who wins. The elite in the Northwest, (Gates and Allen for example) I understand do the same—donate to both parties. My guess is that Black, while donating a relatively small amount, is expecting the same and I would bet he’s donating to many sides as well. The bad thing about Paul accepting the donation is that regardless of how he justifies the acceptance, Black, his followers, and others (such as myself) would perceive the acceptance of the gesture to endorse his ideals at least minimally. I presume the favor Black would hope for in return for the donation would be for Paul to just turn a blind eye to his racist ideals and agenda in the event he wins. Now does anybody really think that a donation of $500 is enough to make a dent towards destructing or inhibiting his ability to spread hate? I don’t think so. Here I would argue that the gesture is purely symbolic and Paul should return it if he is truly anti-racist and wishes for people to not perceive otherwise (such as myself and other Dem’s or Green’s)…. I take the position that accepting outweighs the symbolic negative effects over the positive. In terms of the unions and elites who do the same…I think they are equally endorsing negative ideals of the candidates/parties they donate to also…but the voice of the workers and right to strike, etc. is so important…what to do…. Interesting debate. But the difference between Paul accepting and others making contributions, is that Paul (and other political candidates) has the ability and responsibility to make a decision to accept or reject the donations they receive…I think he should return it and the excuse for keeping it is rather lame—the symbolic bad outweighs the symbolic good here….
Point is, that Ron Paul’s acceptance of the money from Mr. Black, in no way indicates he endorses his racist views. However, I believe, it speaks of Ron Pauls integrity. He is running for office and every contribution towards that reality can only help. It just so happens that this contribution came from a well known racist. How many other candidates have received contributions from questionable donors, but have yet been disclosed. My point is, Ron Paul isn’t hiding this fact, it’s out in the open. Do with it what you will. It’s has gotten Ron Paul so much free publicity, that would other wise have to be paid for. This may be the real reason why he is keeping the donation. Nonetheless, I still don’t believe this contribution shows he indorses Mr. Blacks ideology. On the contrary, I think it shows that no matter what, Ron Paul will be honest with the people. I’d rather have an honest person with racist views to deal with than a closet racist whose intentions aren’t know. At least I know how the “honest one” is coming at me. Ron Paul for President. Bring the integrity back to the White House!
Interesting points—I suppose if I were Paul supporter I would also excuse such actions in a similar manner…but, thankfully I’m not. However, I would rather him be in office over the other Republican candidates. The message of rejecting the funds would have spoke much louder than accepting and post hoc rationalizing. Which presidential candidates would have rejected those funds? Obama and all the Green Party candidates.
And to me, every time I watch an interview with him, Paul looks and sounds as though either he has just had a few stiff drinks, or has a hangover. Then I find myself wondering, which Saturday Night Live comedian would do the best impression of him…probably Dana Carvey, although Adam Sandler could probably do a good job too (if they were still on). Obama or any Green Candidate for President!
Now he is in favor of “affordable healthcare” and in one of the interviews he was echoing Bush Sr. on the topic using Canada as an example of why it supposedly wouldn’t work. He’s a physician—I wonder how many newborns of color he has delivered, how many Medicaid patients he has served (patients without private insurance), and patients with medical insurance at all—has he turned away patients who lacked the means to pay? Has he ever served areas of poverty? Affordable healthcare…there is no such thing for the poor, or even working class. And why should somebody who has private insurance over some type of “affordable” likely lower quality policy be eligible for higher quality healthcare, etc.? And besides, insurance companies do what they can to get out of paying many bills. It’s a big joke and extremely unfair. There should be no discrimination when it comes to obtaining healthcare—including preventive. The idea of affordable healthcare only serves to keep this society stratified economically and racially—it upholds the structural and institutional white supremacist practices already in place.
That’s just one problem with him. Although, he does have good points too. But, opinions, morals, values, and everything else varies. I am in favor of honesty also. That’s why I support Obama for the Democrats and the Green Party in general. =) I respect your position and argument though! It’s certainly strong for supporting him while justifying the action. If he loses many votes for that though, I bet those votes go to Obama, providing Obama with more support! So, you have to give Paul at least that much.
Here is the opening line from one of the websites supporting Paul:
Ron Paul is a liberal’s conservative. No tie-dye, no granola bars, no long hair, no John Lennon, no storming of the churches ala Jesse Jackson….
Website: http://ron-paul-for-president.blogspot.com/2007/10/ron-paul-democrat-in-republican.html .