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Alabama Mixed-Race Families Call Legislator’s Bluff After He Issues Racist $100,000 Public ‘Bet’

April 11, 2014 by  

Alabama Mixed-Race Families Call Legislator’s Bluff After He Issues Racist $100,000 Public ‘Bet’
SCREENSHOT

Last month, Alabama State Representative Alvin Holmes used the floor of the State House to issue a vile, racist “bet” with residents of the Yellowhammer State. His goal was to fabricate an urgent, polarizing social emergency and then to position himself as the savior to one “side” on the crass presumption that constituents would, like lemmings, indeed choose a “side.”

This week, Alabama parents stood outside the State House and asked the Montgomery Democrat, at least symbolically, to show them the money.

In March, Holmes — by no means a novice at making a world-class fool of himself — spoke from the floor of the Alabama House, alleging that conservatives in the State would reverse their opposition to abortion if their daughters’ pregnancies were aided by black male partners.

He went on, then, to issue a challenge to white Alabama parents: He’d pay $100,000 cash to anybody who’d demonstrate to him that “a whole bunch of whites” in Alabama had adopted black children.

“I will go down there and mortgage my house and get cash in 20 dollar bills and bring it to you in a little briefcase,” he said.

On Wednesday, a whole bunch of whites in Alabama who’d adopted black children showed up at the State House in Montgomery to demonstrate that it’s Holmes, and not the people, who has the racist blinders on.

“I would like for him to ‘man up,’” said Beverly Owings, the adoptive mother of a biracial daughter. “He’s made the statement. He needs to put his money where his mouth is.”

Owings and other members of an impromptu social media collation called “Faces of Families in Alabama” said they don’t anticipate an actual payout from Holmes — that’s not what brought them to the capital city. Instead, they want polarizing elected leaders to stop with the hateful red herrings and acknowledge their preoccupation with racial division only serves to demonstrate how out of touch they are with voters.

“We do not adopt our children based on race,” Owings said. “Our families are built on love and commitment, not race and discrimination.”

Holmes responded Wednesday afternoon by doubling down.

“My position is that the majority of white people in the state of Alabama are against adopting black children,” he said. “… If anybody says Alvin Holmes is against interracial adoption, they are just as wrong as Adolf Hitler.”

In February, Holmes said he had a problem with Justice Clarence Thomas because “he’s married to a white woman.” In his defense, though, he was talking about marriage. That’s obviously a different thing altogether from adoption.

Credit Holmes, at least, for having the blind gall to throw his own name in the same sentence with Hitler’s.

Ben Bullard

Reconciling the concept of individual sovereignty with conscientious participation in the modern American political process is a continuing preoccupation for staff writer Ben Bullard. A former community newspaper writer, Bullard has closely observed the manner in which well-meaning small-town politicians and policy makers often accept, unthinkingly, their increasingly marginal role in shaping the quality of their own lives, as well as those of the people whom they serve. He argues that American public policy is plagued by inscrutable and corrupt motives on a national scale, a fundamental problem which individuals, families and communities must strive to solve. This, he argues, can be achieved only as Americans rediscover the principal role each citizen plays in enriching the welfare of our Republic.

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