February 26, 2004


U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown verbally attacked a top Bush administration official during a briefing on the Haiti crisis Wednesday, calling the President’s policy on the beleaguered nation “racist” and his representatives “a bunch of white men.”

Her outburst was directed at Assistant Secretary of State Roger Noriega during a closed-door meeting on Capitol Hill. Noriega, a Mexican-American, is the State Department’s top official for Latin America. . . .

Noriega later told Brown: “As a Mexican-American, I deeply resent being called a racist and branded a white man,” according to three participants.

Brown then told him “you all look alike to me,” the participants said.

I agree with this assessment of Brown’s remarks:

That’s unacceptable language, no matter who says it. Representative Brown needs to suffer at least as much criticism as Trent Lott did for praising for a fellow who ran on a segregationist platform. Lott’s statement could be interpreted as support for segregation. Representative Brown needs no interpretation…what she said was simply racist.

Fortunately, however, the Bush Administration has people who are capable of standing up to racism, and pointing out the idiocy of those who engage in it:

After her comments about white men, Noriega said he would “relay that to (Secretary of State) Colin Powell and (national security adviser) Condoleezza Rice the next time I run into them,” participants said. Powell and Rice are black.

Rep. Brown’s colleagues in Congress need to condemn this racist behavior immediately. And she should probably resign. Perhaps she can get a guest slot on Howard Stern’s show, where she’d fit in just fine.

UPDATE: David Adesnik notes that there’s sexism here, too:

Everyone seems to be up in arms about the racial aspect of Corrine Brown’s remarks. But how about the sexism? In this day and age, people still try to undermine successful women by impying that they are not feminine enough. Calling Condi a white man just plays into that kind of prejudice.

Indeed it does. No doubt NOW will be demanding an apology from Rep. Brown shortly.

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