Arkansas sure knows how to stir up a racial controversy!
The state has come a long way since the forced desegregation of Central High School in 1957. However, two Arkansas Republican politicians, Jon Hubbard of the Arkansas House of Representatives and state House candidate Charles Fuqua, have expressed some contentious opinions that many feel are reminiscent of the discriminatory attitudes of the 1950's.
In his 2009, self-published book titled Letters To The Editor: Confessions Of A Frustrated Conservative, Jon Hubbard states the following:
The institution of slavery that the black race has long believed to be an abomination upon its people may actually have been a blessing in disguise. The blacks who could endure those conditions and circumstances would someday be rewarded with citizenship in the greatest nation ever established upon the face of the Earth.
He also argues that the integration of schools set some white students back, because they:
dropped to the level of black students. To make matters worse the lack of discipline and ambition of black students soon became shared by their white classmates, and our educational system has been in a steady decline ever since.
In the book, Hubbard goes on to make other claims regarding black Americans and their history in America, but he argues that his statements were taken grossly out of context. He also accuses liberals of using the controversy to:
steer the conversation away from the real issues...that is why they try to make me and other conservatives spend our time defending ourselves against their false accusations, instead of addressing these real issues the people of this state desperately want answers or solutions for.
Hubbard insists that people should "read and judge for themselves" before forming their ultimate views on this matter, and we here at USDemocrazy encourage you to take his advice to make an informed decision. Portions of the book can be read on Google Books; additionally, you can find the passage regarding slavery as a "blessing in disguise" here.
Despite his insistence that his perspective is not rooted in racism, many Arkansas Republicans are trying to distance themselves from Hubbard as well as Charles Fuqua, the other Arkansas politician under fire for controversial sentiments expressed in a book he wrote this year. In Fuqua's own words:
So where exactly did he get the idea that this was even a problem in the first place? We have no idea, but according to Fuqua, there are others who are concerned about this so-called "problem:"
Well...if by "most" people he actually means a small and rather bigoted fraction of the population, then yes, it may very well be that his views are accepted by the alleged "most" people.
Whatever he means by the phrase, it doesn't seem to carry much weight in the opinion of many Arkansas Republicans, including state GOP Chairman Doyle Webb, who have been quick to denounce both his and Hubbard's respective books. The state's Republican House Caucus clearly stated the two men's views are:
But perhaps you have a different perspective. Have one or both of the men's specific statements been misinterpreted because they have not been considered within the larger framework of their arguments? Or are both men completely out of line even if the respective contexts of their statements are evaluated?