Bishop E.W. Jackson (pronounced Bishop Ewwwwww) is a black man in Virginia who’s running for the Republican nomination for the Senate. Stop me if you know where this is going.
During an interview about his long-shot chance of actually winning a Senate seat in the South as a Republican, Jackson did his best to appease white Southern voters by pulling a Kanye.
That’s right—Jackson not only minimized the horror of slavery but also added that blacks are blessed to live in a country as beautiful as America, considering that Africa—the Africa that he’s familiar with through Bugs Bunny cartoons—is trash.
“Our ancestors may have came on different ships,” Jackson said on WMAL-FM radio in Washington, “but we’re all in the same boat now,” the Washington Times reports.
You can read a bit of Jackson’s verbal tap dancing from his interview with WMAL host Larry O’Connor:
O’Connor: What do you think it would say, being an African American Virginian and representing the Commonwealth of Virginia after the long history of the commonwealth, being really the birth place of representative democracy in what were then the colonies… to be, you know, the decedent of slaves, to represent the commonwealth… [...]
Jackson: It really is and really to me underscores my love for this country because what Americans need to understand [ ...] no place is perfect. There is no perfect nation on earth but if you want to compare America to the world [inaudible] there’s never been a better place. [...] What opportunities would I have if I had to live some place in Africa, for example, or in some other part of the world? And the likelihood is that I would have nowhere near the opportunities I’ve had in this great country of ours. [...]
O’Connor: I think that’s a very powerful message. But I just want to clarify, because you know some people hear that EW Jackson and they’ll say, is EW Jackson saying that despite the horrible reality of slavery, in the long run, descendants of slaves living in America are actually better off than had they not been brought here?
Jackson: I believe [inaudible] I really do. I believe that with all my heart. And look, I’m in no way minimizing the pain, the suffering, the evil of slavery. But I would remind people that slavery was, for all practical purposes, a worldwide phenomenon. And sub-Saharan Africans weren’t the first people to be enslaved. This is not, for me, a racial problem, it’s a human problem. [...] Look, I’ve often said our ancestors may have came on different ships, but we’re all in the same boat now and we need to stop obsessing about how they got here and just be thankful that they got here.
The Times notes that Jackson “is in a three-way primary in Virginia against Prince William County Chairman Corey Stewart and Virginia State Delegate Nick Freitas. The primary is June 12. The winner will square off against incumbent Democrat Tim Kaine.”
In short, Jackson and his “Blacks should be happy that they’re here” rhetoric don’t have a chance, but it’s nice to know where he stands.