The Rev. William J. Barber II, president of the North Carolina NAACP, is taking aim at comments made by U.S. Rep Patrick McHenry, in which the Republican said his party would use race to redraw the state's congressional districts to give GOP candidates maximum advantage.
"The extreme right-wing, ultra-conservative tea party that has apparently captured the North Carolina Republican Party has gotten so cocky, it now brags in public about its plans to use tactics rooted in racism and political segregation in order to gain and control political power," Barber said, according to a media release issued Friday.
"Let us look at the racist implications of McHenry's statement. When he says 'minority influence district' he means the tea party wants to draw new lines around black areas, and lump us all into a third segregated voting district. Their aim is to remove progressive black voters out of surrounding areas, where we can create a strong voting majority with the growing number of white and brown progressives to get our anti-racism, anti-poverty agenda passed. McHenry and the extreme ultra-conservative tea party Republicans want to defeat our progressive agenda, and take us back to their good old days."
Barber then sought to tie the Congressional redistricting issue to the ongoing debate over busing for socio-economic diversity in the Wake County School System.
"John Tedesco wants to keep us in our 'neighborhoods.' Ron Margiotta wants to keep 'the animals' in our 'cages.' McHenry wants to resegregate our voting districts so the tea party can win 9 out of 13 of North Carolina's congressional seats and pass their regressive agenda.
"In 1898, the racist red shirts murdered scores of Black people who had created a fusion alliance with progressive white people in Wilmington and were building a world-class port city. For the next 67 years, the red shirts, with their white friends in high places, disenfranchised one-third of Southern voters — all of us with black skins. In 1965, after many courageous anti-racism fighters — black and white and Jewish — were murdered, beaten and jailed, the Congress passed the Voting Rights Act. This set the stage for the long struggle to insure the safety and protection of our voting rights. Five years ago, Congress found that white supremacists still use voter suppression and dilution tricks, and re-authorized the VRA for another 25 years.
"Now, the virtually all-white tea party ultra-conservative wing of the Republican Party is trying an end run of the VRA. The NAACP will continue to fight to guarantee the right of every voter of color to cast her ballot against the tricks of the tea party and, at the same time, build a new progressive fusion alliance that can usher in a society of human beings of all colors, a beautiful diverse society— One North Carolina.
"We're sick and tired of the tea party's politics of yesterday. Black people can count too, Mr. McHenry. We understand your racist game. This is 2011. It's our agenda of tomorrow vs. your agenda of yesterday. The new fusion of Black, Brown and White voters who want to move North Carolina forward is forming. The Tea Party wants to segregate our Congressional Districts--three Black and 10 White. We say No to Re-Segregating our Schools and our Voting Districts. Yes to One North Carolina."