Marisa Taylor, The Virginian-Pilot (Hampton Roads), Oct. 26
VIRGINIA BEACH — An independent candidate for the 82nd House District said he believes blacks are partly to blame for racism because they commit more crimes than whites.
Asked to explain his views, John O. Parmele Jr., who is white, said, “Maybe it’s inborn prejudice.”
Parmele is running against state Del. Harry R. “Bob” Purkey, a Republican who has held office for 20 years. Parmele has run unsuccessfully six times for the City Council.
Parmele added that he believes blacks tend to use their socio-economic status as a justification for committing crime. “They tend to use that as an excuse: ‘I was born in the ghetto, so therefore I’m entitled to steal.’”
Carl Wright, vice president of the Virginia Beach chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, called Parmele’s comments racist.
Parmele said he also is bothered by blacks asking to be called African-American. He said he still used the word “colored.”
“Every 10 years, they want to be called something else,” he said. “They’re just Americans. If you want to be an American, stop specifying who you are.”
Purkey, a Republican, questioned his opponent’s ability to represent constituents, regardless of their race. “Very frankly, for anyone to speak of minorities in those disparaging terms, really concerns me,” he said.
Purkey said he believed politicians should reach out to black voters, not alienate them.