California GOP leader makes Trent Lott seem moderate
“A California Republican Party leader has called on the highest-ranking African American in the state GOP to stop “parading” his race by complaining about “how awful it is to be a black Republican.”
In an angry letter distributed to GOP activists statewide, Randy Ridgel, a member of the party’s Board of Directors, responded to an accusation by fellow board member Shannon Reeves, who is black, that Republicans have treated African Americans as “window dressing.”
Ridgel, a retired white rancher from rural Lake County, also endorsed an essay suggesting that there would have been an upside to a Confederate victory in the Civil War.
Regarding blacks freed from slavery at the end of the war, Ridgel wrote: “Most of the poor devils had no experience fending for themselves, so they fared worse than before the war and during the war.”
Reeves called Ridgel’s letter “an ignorant, offensive statement of the highest order.”
In his own open letter to fellow GOP board members, Reeves said Republican leaders expect African Americans to “provide window dressing and cover to prove this is not a racist party, yet our own leadership continues to act otherwise.”
He recalled that during the 2000 Republican national convention in Philadelphia, delegates asked him six times to “fetch them a taxi or carry their luggage.”
In an interview, Reeves said he was disappointed that none of the scores of GOP activists who got copies of Ridgel’s letter had made any public statements about it.
“When that letter was sent out,” he said, “there should have been a mass outcry within the party.”