WASHINGTON - Members of the Project 21 black leadership network are condemning a major left-wing web site's blistering racial attack on black conservative Herman Cain, and once again asks why the liberal civil rights establishment refuses to condemn racial attacks on black conservatives.
"I find it shocking and an indictment of Herman Cain's antagonist when he is obviously compelled to retreat to amoral diatribe when valid arguments against Cain's record cannot be found. This tactic is the 800-pound yellow gorilla in the middle of the room that progressives like to pretend doesn't exist," said Project 21 chairman Mychal Massie. "Where are the usual suspects who are so quick to find racial insult in the acts of the tea partiers?"
Cain, a prominent conservative activist and former corporate CEO, was a speaker at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, D.C. on February 11. In the wake of that speech, the prominent left-wing web site AlterNet featured a blog post referencing the address that called Cain "a monkey in the window." Cain's speech was called "a version of race minstrelsy where he performs 'authentic negritude' as wish fulfillment for White Conservative fantasies" and "bad comedy." Black conservatives in general were referred to as "black garbage pail kids" who "entertain and perform for their White Conservative masters."
"It would be one thing to critique Herman Cain's politics, but it seems the message was less important than the man. This cowardly, anonymous attack was based solely on Cain's race," noted Project 21's Massie. "It's a problem that all black conservatives face, and it's appalling when such race-based animosity is ignored by the civil rights establishment. Saying nothing will confirm they have a double-standard rooted deeply in a political agenda."
The author of the outrageous AlterNet post is "Chauncey DeVega" -- a pseudonym. According to his bio, DeVega's writing has appeared in prominent media venues such as the New York Times, Atlantic Monthly and the Root (a web site run by the Washington Post and Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates). DeVega's post was added to the AlterNet site on February 12. He also has another blog hosted by Salon.com as well as his own web site.
"I call on AlterNet to immediately withdraw and issue a public condemnation of this vitriolic content appearing in their online publication," said Project 21 member Niger Innis, who introduced Cain at CPAC. "AlterNet's mission statement boasts that it is a medium that transcends traditional journalism and is, instead, intended to 'emphasize workable solutions to persistent social problems.' AlterNet also asserts that their content 'underscores a commitment to fairness, equality and global stewardship.' Such virtues are in direct contradiction to the deplorable and irresponsible commentary they have allowed to be published."
Innis, who is also the national spokesman for the Congress of Racial Equality, added: "This is particularly ironic that, after calls for civility in political discourse by many in the media, they would -- through their inaction -- encourage such socially reckless and racially insensitive material on a prominent left-wing publication."
On July 17, 2010 on the Fox News Channel, Project 21 full-time fellow Deneen Borelli asked NAACP senior vice president Hilary Shelton if his group would "issue a statement condemning those individuals" who target black conservatives for abuse based on their politics. At the time, Shelton replied, "Why, yes, ma'am... Just give us some details." Although he was promptly sent details and a follow-up letter, no condemnation was ever issued by the NAACP.
Project 21 Chairman Mychal Massie repeatedly challenged Al Shaprton, Marc Morial and former D.C. congressional delegate Walter Fauntroy to a debate, now tentatively scheduled, with or without them, for February 28 in Washington, D.C., to address the trio's past allegations about tea party extremism. Massie has yet to receive any replies.
Project 21, a leading voice of black conservatives since 1992, is sponsored by the National Center for Public Policy Research