More Race Embarrassment for Obama As Gaffe-Prone Adviser Says ‘Only Suburban White Kids Carry Out Columbines’
Graham Smith, Daily Mail (London), September 5, 2009
An adviser to Barack Obama has claimed school massacres are only carried out by ‘suburban white kids’.
Van Jones, the US president’s Special Advisor for Green Jobs, was calling for more attention to be paid to alienated white youth when he made his gaffe.
Referring to the 1999 Columbine High School massacre, in which two white teenagers shot dead 12 pupils and a teacher before killing themselves, Mr Jones said ‘a black kid is not going to shoot up the whole school’.
His comments were revealed no sooner than he had been forced to apologise twice for other slip-ups.
He first had to say sorry for calling Republicans ‘a********’ and then when it emerged he had signed a petition that claimed George W Bush’s officials ‘may indeed have deliberately allowed 9/11 to happen, perhaps a pretext for war’.
It is unclear why the interview, recorded in 2005, has been unearthed now but it will raise further questions about his involvement with the White House and put the spotlight once again on race which is already a flashpoint for the President.
It risks re-igniting the row over race sparked when President Obama spoke out weeks ago after a white policeman arrested a black Harvard professor.
Mr Jones said: ‘Young white males are suffering in this society. Profoundly. And nobody is saying a word about it.
‘We’ll criminalise the black student, criminalise the Latino child . . . and that young white boy is sitting there suffering. You’ve never seen a Columbine done by a black child. Never.
‘They always say “We can’t believe it happened here, we can’t believe it was these suburban white kids.” It’s only them.
‘Now, a black kid might shoot another black kid. He’s not going to shoot up the whole school.
‘But these young white men will be in so much pain and are so isolated, so alienated that they’ll shoot up the entire school.’
He went on: ‘And it is doubly twisted because . . . rather than punish you and attack you and jump on you like we do with the black kids we’ll just ignore you and neglect you.
‘It is just as evil–in my view–to attack these young black and brown men . . . [as it is] to neglect and to ignore these young white men who as best I can tell have very little in the way of loving, affirmative male leadership.
‘That is the problem that gets masked over by calling any community evil.’
Mr Jones was talking at a lecture series held in San Francisco in December 2005 called IONS Conversations at the Edge when he made the comments.
They have emerged weeks after Mr Obama said police officers had ‘acted stupidly’ when arresting black Harvard University Professor Henry Gates at his home.
Following complaints from police, the President quickly backtracked and acknowledged he should have used different language to express his concerns, before inviting the two men involved to join him for a beer at the White House.
Last year, when he was campaigning for the presidency, Mr Obama was forced to publicly condemn racially-charged sermons made by his former pastor.
In a sermon, Reverend Jeremiah Wright Jr. used an offensive racial term to argue that Mr Obama’s then Democrat rival for the White House Hillary Clinton could never understand the struggles of African-Americans.
Speaking on Christmas Day 2007, Rev Wright said: ‘Barack knows what it means, living in a country and a culture that is controlled by rich white people.
‘Hillary can never know that. Hillary ain’t never been called a n*****.’