Coloreds Only?

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.

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7 Comments on “Coloreds Only?”

  1. publius Says:

    john rogers cannot speak english, I dont believe any of you actually heard him utter those words. how could you? all he says is reebie jeebie, blobbam riddit diddit uh huh.
    this man is an embarrassment to all alabamians and is the very type of black politician slick white racists use to hold all blacks down. Rogers hurts UAB too

  2. Loretta Nall Says:

    Many African Americans think forced integration was a bad idea. I can’t say that I disagree completely. When you think about it in terms of what African American children are taught in integrated schools you can see that maybe it was a bad idea. What public school in Alabama has ever taught accurate black history to black children? Not one. They do not know where they came from, who their tribes were, what their history was before they were sold into slavery. Hard to have any pride when you don’t know what to be proud of.

    Malcolm X was for seperate but equal and against forced integration. He believed in black businesse hiring black workers and so forth to help the community economically.
    If you have never read is autobiopgraphy I’d recommend picking it up. It covers much of this line of thinking.

  3. wheeler Says:

    sorry loretta, but whatever may be the best theoretical situation, it is completely insane to claim as a historical matter that the average black person was better off under jim crow than the average black person is today.

  4. A.F. Says:

    Publius, you should get a transcript of the show; I could never believe it if I hadn’t heard it myself.

    And yes, most of what Rogers says in the media is utterly unintelligle. I see him on TV at least once a week, and I can never make out what he says. On the Matt Murphy show, however, he was uncharacteristically clear. And there were no slick white racists involved; it was just Rogers.

    Following Malcolm X’s reasoning that Ms. Nall described (although not mentioning it himself), Rogers elaborated by explaining that there were more black businesses before integration and there were more black schools, too. He lamented that it seemed that black culture and the black community were far more solid prior to integration.

    Strangely, Rogers made a very clear, understandable argument — an argument which, as Matt Murphy correctly pointed out, was frequently made by white racists back during the civil rights era to justify “separate but equal.”

    The more interesting question to me is this: what is to become of the Black Caucuses, in both the Alabama Legislature and the U.S. Congress, when both claim to stand for ideas and interests yet both, just in the past week alone, rejected applications for membership by non-blacks who represent majority-black districts? When progressive Democrats representing a majority-black district aren’t allowed to caucus with the only group that supposedly stands for black interests, then the obvious inference is that the Black Caucus, whether in D.C. or Alabama, stands for nothing more than the color of the members’ skin.

    Interestingly, Rogers made several attempts to explain why Patricia Todd should not be allowed to become a member of the black caucus, and after each was successfully rebutted by Murphy, Rogers finally just fell back on “that’s the rules”, even adding that he didn’t write the rules and it wasn’t John Rogers that was keeping her out. Sounds just like the “that’s just the way it is” phraseology of the sixties.

    Unbelievable. And thanks for posting this info!

  5. Willie Says:

    My memories of black businessmen growing up were the funeral homes and insurance businesses, total scumbags swrewing their brothers and sisters to no end. Preachers too. Lived like kings and queens while their customers struggled in a neo slavery situation.

  6. Dystopos Says:

    Seperation has been espoused by numerous leaders, white and black, from before the Civil War and after Brown v. Board of Education. President Lincoln himself advocated mass resettlement in Africa.

    In reality, segregation was just one particularly overdeveloped facet of the overarching conflict between “superior” and “inferior” classes that has run through all of human history. Injustice is always with us, and it is always brutal.

    I’d like to give Rep. Rogers a chance to clarify his thinking on this matter before rejecting his argument as hogwash. However, he does have a history of irrational, belligerent and infantile behavior. So I wouldn’t expect much.

  7. Loretta Nall Says:

    Sorry Wheeler…I didn’t mean to imply what you deduced from my post. What I was trying to say is that forced integration in many ways has not been any better than forced segregation in terms of benifits to the black community as a whole.

    We never should have had forced segregation and I don’t think we should have never had forced integration either. It should always have been a matter of choice for everyone involved.

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