Man, white people aren’t even trying to hide it anymore. Which, I suppose, is a good thing, right? We should want the racists to expose themselves. Still, there’s something surreal seeing white people shamelessly indulging their racist beliefs. Take for instance Alabama state Rep. Will Dismukes (R-Prattville), who posted on Facebook that he had a “great time” celebrating the birthday of Confederate General and Ku Klux Klan leader Nathan Bedford Forrest.
According to AL, the Alabama Democratic Party has called on Dismukes to resign from office. This is the second time the party has called on Dismukes to resign, the first being in late June when Dismukes advocated for the state to continue funding the Confederate Memorial Park. Dismukes is a chaplain for the Prattville Dragoons, a chapter of the Sons of the Confederacy, and gave the invocation for the event, held at Fort Dixie in Selma, Ala. A picture posted by Dismukes shows him standing behind a podium with a Confederate flag and portrait of Forrest behind him.
Alabama Democratic Party Executive Director Wade Perry has labeled Dismukes an “extremist” that is “unfit to hold office” as a result of the incident, AL notes. “Will Dismukes has demonstrated yet again why he is unfit to hold public office. Americans don’t celebrate racists or traitors. Nathan Bedford Forrest was both. And a founder of the Klan. The Alabama Democratic Party renews our call for Dismukes to resign. It’s 2020 and it’s time for racial extremists like Will Dismukes to go away,” Perry said in a statement.
Alabama Republican Party Chairwoman Terry Lathan has said that it should be up to the voters to decide what happens to Dismukes while also condemning the post. “It is one thing to honor one’s Southern heritage, however, it is completely another issue to specifically commemorate the leader of an organization with an indisputable history of unconscionable actions and atrocities toward African-Americans,” Lathan said.
Alabama House Speaker Mac McCutcheon co-signed with Lathan. ”The Alabama House cannot police the beliefs, statements, & activities of its members outside the Legislature as that is a job best assigned to voters,” McCutcheon tweeted on Monday.
I kind of have a big problem with that logic. A person’s actions, typically, are guided by what their belief system is. What is politics if not a group of people doing what they believe is right?
If you got a dude who clearly believes it’s OK to celebrate one of the leaders of the KKK, in 2020, during a period of immense racial upheaval, you might, you know, want to check dude. You can’t say “this is completely unacceptable!” and then turn around and do nothing.
Dismukes deleted the post and said he “was in no way glorifying the Klan or disrespecting the late Rep. John Lewis,” the civil rights leader and congressman from Georgia who died over a week ago and was honored on Sunday as his casket was carried across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala., the site of the 1965 “Bloody Sunday” march. In an interview with WSFA about the post, Dismukes swears he’s not a racist. He just says racist things and goes to racist events.
During our interview, Dismukes worked to distance the Confederate Army from the Klan, which evolved after the Confederacy lost the Civil War. He stated it was Forrest’s choice to join the Klan, which is labeled as a white supremacist hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Dismukes declined to answer whether this changed his perspective on Forrest and whether he would attend the event again.
Dismukes denies he’s a racist but doesn’t see the need for the current movement for racial reconciliation, calling the Black Lives Matter movement a communist organization. Dismukes says it’s time to focus on equality for all.
“We no longer drink from separate water fountains, and we no longer have segregated schools,” he explained. “You know there’s abundant work opportunities for all colors, there’s abundant scholarship opportunities for all colors. So what are you asking that needs to be racially reconciled?”
Whew, child. This mans really said, “What are you even mad about? You can drink from water fountains!” I’m just saying, don’t be surprised if Dismukes changes his last name to Cotton and starts arguing the necessity of slavery.
Join the discussion! The Root is hosting its first-ever, virtual Root Institute, presented by Target, featuring several of the leading minds in our community talking about politics, culture, health, community building and social impact. Subscribe for updates today!