Local leaders of the Alabama branch of the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People) have been arrested after staging protests outside the offices of Senator Jeff Sessions who is President-elect Trump’s nominee for the office of Attorney General.
The NAACP are inferring that Senator Sessions is racist, and point to his role as lead prosecutor in a high profile voter fraud case in 1985 as evidence of his poor track record on civil liberties and unsuitability for the post of Attorney General.
The defendants in the case were all African American officials, and the initiators of the voter fraud compliant were also African American.
Despite the fact that the defendants were found not guilty, the Alabama NAACP continues to argue that the true intention of the action was voter suppression, and infer racism against the prosecution team.
A rising backlash against the inappropriate use of the word “racist” is brewing in the US and Europe, and the accusations of racism against Senator Sessions in the absence of any discernible evidence is causing anger.
Writing in an article entitled, “Leftist lawmakers who ignore his record — and their own former praise of him — will only anger voters tired of the race card”, Quin Hillyer argues that the spurious nature of the accusations place Democrat senators in Alabama in a tough position given Trump’s high margin of victory in the state, which has a high proportion of blue collar workers. Hillyer says: “Every time voters see their home-state senator smear Sessions as a racist, they might well recall Hillary Clinton’s dismissal of Trump voters as deplorables.”
Albert Turner Jr, the son of one of the defendants in the voter fraud case has spoken out against the accusations of racism levelled against Senator Sessions.
Albert Turner Jr is quoted as saying: “I have known Senator Sessions for many years, beginning with the voter fraud case in Perry County in which my parents were defendants. My differences in policy and ideology with him do not translate to personal malice. He is not a racist. As I have said before, at no time then or now has Jeff Sessions said anything derogatory about my family. He was a prosecutor at the Federal level with a job to do. He was presented with evidence by a local District Attorney that he relied on, and his office presented the case. That’s what a prosecutor does. I believe him when he says that he was simply doing his job. I believe that he is someone with whom I, and others in the civil rights community, can work if given the opportunity.”
Sessions has received support from many Democrats including Obama’s former general surgeon Regina Benjamin, a black Democrat, who said in response to his nomination: “I think he’ll be fine. I consider him a friend”.
Among a growing number of voters, there is suspicion that accusations of racism levelled against elected officials by some social justice groups are being used for political reasons not connected to the fight against racism.
A consequence of the overuse of the word “racist” is also a growing concern that a discrimination is taking place - simply being a white person who has centre right views, is opposed to open borders and bloated supranational structures and prefers nation state democracy is now deemed to be indicative of racism by some social justice groups.
The spurious nature of the allegations against Sessions is only adding to the weariness and increasing levels of cynicism. Frequent accusations of racism by social justice groups where there is no actual discernible evidence of racism is trivialising the word racism, which is harmful for the real victims of racism and bad for the fight against it.
(Image: Gage Skidmore)