During last night’s Republican presidential debate, Ron Paul said the firestorm over the controversial racial statements in his early 1990′s newsletters distracts from the real issues around race in this country.
He also invoked Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks while arguing he’s really the best candidate for African Americans.
“Concentrating on something that was written twenty years ago that I didn’t write, you know, is diverting the attention from most of the important issues,” Mr. Paul said. “More importantly, you ought to ask me what my relationship is for racial relationships, and one of my heroes is Martin Luther King, because he practiced the libertarian principle of peaceful resistance and peaceful civil disobedience, as did Rosa Parks did. But also, I’m the only one up here and the only one in the Democratic party that understands true racism in this country’s in the juficial system.”
Mr. Paul said the true racial problems in this country involve drug law enforcement and military recruitment:
“It has to do with enforcing the drug laws. Look at the percentages. The percentage of people who use drugs are about the same with blacks and whites, and yet, the blacks are arrested way disproportionately, they’re prosecuted, imprisoned way disproportionately, they get they get the death penalty way disproportionately. How many times have you seen a white rich person get the electric chair or get, you know, execution? But poor minorities have an injustice and they have an injustice in war as well, because minorities suffer more even with a draft–with a draft they suffer definitely more and without a draft they’re suffering disproportionately. If we truly want to be concerned about racism, you ought to look at a few of those issues and look at the drug laws which are being so unfairly enforced.”
Mr. Paul’s newsletters featured many controversial racial statements including warnings of a “coming race war,” that 95% of blacks in Washington, D.C. “are semi-criminal or entirely criminal” and a claim that basketball games and music can “set off black rage,” among others. The newsletters were well-received among the white supremacist community at the time of their release.