This is hearsay within hearsay, but I’ve now heard from two sources. First, from a commenter on my blog:
did anyone happen to hear John Rogers on the Matt Murphy radio show this afternoon during the drive time? Rogers was trying to explain why the House Black Caucus won’t allow new Rep. Patricia Todd to join the group, even though she represents a majority black district. When confronted by Murphy that his group was not about black interests or ideas but only about race, Rogers said, “Integration may have been the biggest mistake ever made.” He then went on to say that he never was so down on seperate but equal, just that he wished it could have been equal.
Second, from Flashpoint, in a post entitled “Integration is a Curse:”
Those are not my words. They are the words of Alabama state representative John Rogers, Jr. from the 52nd district – and he wasn’t talking about calculus. He also said that he is “not opposed to separate but equal.” Frankly, I would not believe it if I hadn’t heard him utter those very words with my own two ears this afternoon on the Matt Murphy Radio Program.
I picked up on the conversation with Murphy asking Rogers to explain why it was acceptable to have an exclusively black legislative caucus that refused to admit people based solely on the color of their skin (a topic I blogged just yesterday). Rogers’ only defense was that “those are the rules” – you must be black.
Murphy asked Rogers to explain the purpose of the Alabama Black Legislative Caucus (ABLC), to which Rogers replied that it existed to promote the causes of the black community. If that really is the case, then why wouldn’t Patricia Todd, a white woman who represents Alabama’s heavily black 54th district, be allowed to join the ABLC? Certainly she could better serve her constituents by caucusing with others who share similar legislative agendas. Rogers said no way because she is not black. . . .
That is when Rogers said that “integration” was “a curse.” He went on to say that he was “not opposed to separate but equal” laws and that blacks were (would be?) better off under that system. Murphy paused the conversation out of sheer surprise and asked Rogers to reiterate his assertions, which he did.
If this is accurate, Rogers need look no further than the mirror the next time he wonders why black people have not achieved greater success in this country.
I can understand the argument for a blacks only caucus. Our historical treatment of blacks certainly would help create, and justify, a strong group identity, and there is power in numbers, after all. Not saying I agree with the continued existence of such groups, or that excluding Patricia Todd is a good idea, but I can understand the basic idea.
But to say blacks were better under segregation? Holy historical revisionism batman. That’s just incomprehensibly idiotic. Why don’t we ask Charles Eddie Moore and Henry Hezekiah Dee whether or not blacks have it better now, or under segregation? Oh, wait, they’re dead, having been beaten, chained to an engine block, and tossed alive into the Mississippi river, because that’s what happened to blacks who tried to organize themselves back in what Rogers now calls the good ‘ol days. If John Rogers really thinks blacks had it better during segregation, than John Rogers is a damn fool.