Election 2020

Black Republican: 'Very Hard for a White Person to Defend Themselves' Against Racist Label

Michigan delegate Linda Lee Tarver poses with a sign inside the convention hall before the start of the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., on Aug. 28, 2012. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Linda Lee Tarver, president of Republican Women’s Federation of Michigan, has called out “the liberal left” for attacking GOP and conservative leaders with “underhanded and absurd assertions.”

She told PJM the attacks have only become more frequent and worse since Donald Trump became America’s 45th president.

In October, the Huffington Post ran a story with the headline, “Here Are 13 Examples Of Donald Trump Being Racist,” the New Republic warned its readers “Donald Trump will never stop being a racist president,” and the Los Angeles Times called Trump “a textbook racist.”

“And it has nothing to do with Donald J. Trump,” Tarver said. “They had a terrible candidate, they lost, and they don’t like the changes that are coming.”

Tarver noted liberals’ outrage over a meme posted on Michigan State Police Director Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue’s Facebook page, which criticized protesting NFL players as “degenerates.”

Etue wrote on her meme that NFL players who took a knee during the national anthem are “millionaire ingrates who hate America and disrespect our armed forces and veterans” and “a bunch of rich, entitled, arrogant, ungrateful, anti-American degenerates.”

The meme was posted on a private page and was only intended to be viewed by Etue’s friends. But the internet being the internet, everyone from Kary Moss, the director of the Michigan ACLU, to leaders of the Detroit NAACP and the Michigan Black Legislative Caucus saw the post.

“It is the sworn duty of the State Police Director to uphold the Constitution which protects all people in this State and to demonstrate respect for those principles,” Moss wrote on her Facebook page. “She undermines her own position and the trust of the community with these remarks and utter disregard of the people she represents.”

The Detroit NAACP did not respond to PJM’s request for comment on Tarver’s assertion that charges of racism are overused. But the NAACP did issue a statement that said Etue’s Facebook meme was “beneath the office of this (Michigan State Police) department and is a tragic reminder of a lack of fundamental understanding.”

The Rev. Wendell Anthony, president of the Detroit NAACP chapter, called for Etue’s immediate resignation.

Anthony also said Etue’s Facebook meme was merely a symptom of a culture of racism within the Michigan State Police Department.

“If you put another person in that seat, you still have to address the issues of racism within the state police,” Anthony said. “She should resign, but that’s one issue. The other issue is that the policies and programs have to resign. That’s what needs to change.”

Ten Michigan state representatives ramped up the criticism in the Michigan State Capitol.

They linked arms during the Pledge of Allegiance on the floor of the Michigan House in what they called a sign of solidarity against racial injustice, racism, and Etue’s Facebook meme.

“Racism is systemic,” said Rep. Sheldon Neeley (D), an African-American lawmaker who took part in the protest. “It’s institutionalized. It’s implicit and it’s explicit in many cases.”

Etue eventually apologized for the meme. As punishment, Gov. Rick Snyder (R) suspended her from active duty for five days.

“Colonel Etue posted something on social media that was inappropriate,” Snyder said in a statement. “She immediately apologized and has acted to demonstrate that apology.”

Etue might not have lost her job over the Facebook meme, but Tarver still doesn’t think the Michigan State Police director was treated fairly.

Tarver said while Etue’s Facebook post was “unfortunate, it was certainly not racist.” And she said Etue was “targeted for political sport by Democrats and some un-civil rights leaders.”

“I am referring to those who have come out publicly and called her a racist,” Tarver explained. “(That includes) some legislative black caucus leaders and anyone who has come out publicly and demanded that she be fired based on a lie.”

Tarver said she would be on the other side of this debate if she found Etue’s Facebook post to be racist.

“I am a black woman but I just can’t call you racist because I feel like it and then try to take your job,” Tarver said.

She said there was no one among the 1,000 members of the Republican Women’s Federation of Michigan who thought what Etue posted on her Facebook page was racist.

“I showed it to my husband, who is a black man and has no issues with the NFL protests. He certainly didn’t find what she posted racist,” she said. “The only reason I got involved with this was that I thought it was ridiculous.”

Tarver said she would be more than willing to debate liberals and Democrats on issues of policy.

“They are pro-abortion. I am pro-life,” Tarver said. “They call it reproductive rights. I call it genocide. Let’s have that discussion.”

Tarver said the black community, especially women in Detroit, should be having a “dialogue” about “things that are killing us like HIV, the lack of educational equity, and incarceration rates, instead of calling a white woman a racist, based on a meme that was not racist.”

But Tarver said instead of debating issues, blacks, liberals and Democrats throw the word “racist” into the discussion and stop any attempt at conducting an issues-oriented debate.

Tarver said it was wrong for African-Americans to use the “last tool in their toolbox and call someone a racist. It is very hard for a white person to defend themselves. It is almost impossible to defend yourself when someone labels you with that.”

“I call that absurd,” she said. “And it is not coming from Republicans. Who else is it coming from? It is coming from the liberal left using whatever tools they have to make this a political sport.”

Tarver said she witnessed that firsthand while serving as a co-chair of the Trump for President campaign in Michigan.

“The word ‘racist’ was used so much against Trump, as in ‘he’s a racist,’ or ‘he doesn’t like Hispanics,’ or ‘he doesn’t like black folks,’” Tarver said. “What they forgot was that Jesse Jackson gave him an award for being so good to black folk.”

“When did he become this racist?” she added. “He is our president, theirs and ours. All this does is expose the left’s hypocrisy and their desperation.”