I can’t remember a time in my life when race relations in America are as ugly as they are today, after four years of Obama’s much-vaunted “post-racial” presidency.
A black member of the Alabama legislature, Joseph Mitchell, responded with a racist tirade to an email (from a white constituent) asking the legislator not to embrace new gun control laws. To top it off, Mitchell copied his tirades to every member of the state legislature.
David Martosko reports for Daily Mail, March 27, 2013, that one of Mitchell’s constituents, Eddie Maxwell, wrote a polite email to Mitchell, asking him and other members of the Alabama legislature to keep state gun laws in step with the Second Amendment to the US Constitution, which guarantees citizens access to firearms.
Maxwell urged Mitchell: “Do not violate your oath of office by introducing additional gun control bills or by allowing those already enacted to remain in the body of our laws.”
Mitchell wrote back: “Hey man. Your folk never used all this sheit [sic] to protect my folk from your slave-holding, murdering, adulterous, baby-raping, incestuous, snaggle-toothed, backward-a**ed, inbreed [sic], imported criminal-minded kin folk.”
The exchange was first reported by Mobile’s Press-Register and provoked outrage on Yellow Hammer Politics, an Alabama-based conservative political blog.
In his email to Maxwell, Mitchell also suggested that he favored arming black Alabamians before enforcing new gun-control measures, in case they needed to defend themselves from racist white southerners:
“You can keep sending me stuff like you have however, because it helps me explain to my constituents why they should protect that 2nd amendment thing AFTER we [blacks] finish stocking up on spare parts, munitions and the like. Bring it. As one of my friends in the Alabama Senate suggested – ‘BRING IT!!!!'”
Eddie Maxwell is a retired coal miner who resides in Jefferson County.
In his email to Rep. Mitchell, Maxwell expressed his objection to amending the state constitution with new gun laws “when the change is forbidden by the people.” Maxwell reminded Mitchell that “You have sworn to support our constitution. Do not violate your oath of office by introducing additional gun control bills or by allowing those already enacted to remain in the body of our laws.”
After reading Mitchell’s racist tirade, Maxwell sent another follow-up email:
“That’s not the type of reply I expect to receive from a state legislator. I’m not a racist and I find your reply to be especially offensive considering the position you hold.
My parents and grandparents taught me to love God and my fellow man as myself. My father was threatened by members of his church back in 1954 for inviting a black family to attend the church he pastored.
My father-in-law was threatened when he hired a young negro man to work in his shop back in 1968 in a community where several neighbors were members of the Ku Klux Klan. He didn’t allow those threats to keep him from treating people of all races equally.
Racism is not exclusive to my own people. I learned that before 1955. It is just as ugly now as it was then, regardless of the race of the person who is consumed by it.”
To which, the black state legislator responded by insisting that it’s impossible for a black man to be a racist. Mitchell wrote:
“Historically, violence on Black folk was committed by White folk. It’s a fact but is it ;racist?’ It is ‘racial.’ A person without the power to exercise a threat cannot be a racist because he or she will be eliminated. A person who can, by merely stepping back on the sidewalk ore [sic] being quiet can support racism and benefit from the ‘first hired,’ affirmative action, preferential treatment fostered by systemic racism and bigotry.”
Mitchell ended his email with the taunting sign-off: “Lock and load”
Neither the Daily Mail nor the Press-Register got responses when they reached out to Mitchell’s office for comment.
But Maxwell told the Press-Register that he had no regrets about challenging his elected representative: “It just makes me more determined that we the people need to stay involved. It’s up to us as citizens to watch our government.”
Maxwell also told the Press-Register that two other members of the state legislature have reached out to him to register their shock about their colleague’s language. Democratic state Rep. Patricia Todd of Birmingham wrote him: “This member hears you loud and clear. I just received this chain of emails and wanted to let you know that I am with you on the gun issue and am saddened by the tone of my colleague’s email. All of us have suffered from the racism of the past and I thank you for your civic and thoughtful response.”
Maxwell added that he was hopeful that Mitchell would be sanctioned by his fellow lawmakers.
Joe Mitchell has represented parts of the city of Mobile since 1994 and ran for re-election unopposed in 2010 and 2006.