The Mouth Shall Rise Again: Kansas Governor Wants County Commissioner Out for ‘Master Race’ Comment

Illustration for article titled The Mouth Shall Rise Again: Kansas Governor Wants County Commissioner Out for ‘Master Race’ Comment
Screenshot: ABC News

A Kansas county commissioner made an extremely uncomfortable reference to a “master race” while speaking to a black city planner, and Gov. Jeff Coyler wants him out.


According to the Kansas City Star, Leavenworth County Commissioner Louis Klemp addressed experienced city planner, Triveece Penelton, in a very, ah, unique way.

“I don’t want you to think I’m picking on you, because we’re part of the master race. You know you’ve got a gap in your teeth—you’re the master race. Don’t ever forget that,” Klemp said, gesturing at his teeth.

OK, well, I guess white people have things they can reclaim, too!

But really, maybe Klemp wasn’t using this well-known Nazi language in a racist way. Maybe he was just—ah, wait. From the Star:

In December 2017, Klemp spent several minutes opining on a disjointed group of topics during a discussion about setting the holiday schedule, including historical figures he felt should be honored.

“Not everybody does them all, because we have Robert E. Lee, who, God, Robert E. Lee, wonderful part of history,” Klemp said about the commander of the Confederate States Army. “We don’t have Washington anymore. He may be removed anyway because he had slaves.”

Klemp also spoke about how his great-great grandfather owned a slave, questioned why those who are not veterans get off for Veterans Day, asked whether global personality Oprah Winfrey would be given a federal holiday and said President Abraham Lincoln’s legacy would not be fully realized because the Confederacy had lost.

“We’ll never how great his importance was because the other side didn’t win, which is all good,” Klemp said. “I guess.”

So not only is Klemp a little off—he’s definitely racist. Like, senile-uncle-at-Thanksgiving racist, the way it’s framed here.

That makes it all the more baffling that the Star chose the word “odd” for Klemp’s recent behavior. There are a lot of words I’d choose to describe the commissioner’s choice of words: racist; bigoted; racist; bold; wild; ridiculous; racist; wildly fucking racist. I don’t know. I wouldn’t say it’s not odd, but that’s probably about the 237th word I’d actually choose there. The commissioner said something unfunny and racist—how quaint.


From the Associated Press:

Commissioners Robert Holland and Doug Smith called on Klemp to resign before his term ends Jan. 15. ...

“In the best interest of the county, he should resign,” Smith told The Leavenworth Times for a story published Thursday.

“I was shocked. I was in disbelief,” Holland said. “He should resign. I don’t care if he’s got two days left, he should resign.”


Now Coyler has joined the chorus of people who want Klemp out:

“Racial and discriminative language have no place in our society, and most especially when spoken by someone holding a public office,” Colyer said in a statement. “The inappropriate remarks made by Leavenworth County Commissioner Louis Klemp are unacceptable and do not reflect the values of the county which he represents. As such I call on him to step down as county commissioner.”


This could easily be a cowardly, toothless attempt to nibble away at Klemp’s legacy. The government is trying to anesthetize the people. Stay woke.

Seriously, though: Is it that hard to call something racist when it is clearly racist? If “racial” language isn’t allowed, do demographics-oriented meetings turn into one of those awkward “describe-a-black-woman-without-saying-black” moments? “Yes, ah, she has dark eyes. And dark hair. Her hair is fun? Exciting? Wild?”


Anyway, I guess we can expect to see the rise of gap-tooth supremacy? If you got braces, brace yourself for subjugation? White (tooth) power? Watch out for those Stormtoothers—though I’m sure there’ll be blame on both sides of the gap.

Maybe some of us should keep our damn mouths closed!

Natalie Degraffinried is a senior editor for Kotaku.


Christopher Lee

I don’t even have enough coffee to try and navigate what this cousin loving redneck is trying to articulate. Just fire his ass, make an example of him so that the next time some mouthy racist gets an idea, they can benchmark him as reference material.