Tom Fitzgerald, WTTG-TV (Washington, D.C.), August 26, 2010
Conservative talk show host Glenn Beck is planning a big rally at the Lincoln Memorial on Saturday. But a Tea Party blogger is drawing critics tonight after his “Visitors Guide” to D.C.–warned people to stay out of certain neighborhoods.
Neighborhoods it turns out, that also happen to be home to many African Americans.
Conservative blogger Bruce Majors says he was trying to help. “I wrote a little blog telling them where it’s safe to go, where it’s cheap to eat.”
But that “little blog” has created a big controversy–with Majors now facing accusations of racism. Majors says when it comes to his critics these people are “absolutely insane.”
At issue is Majors’ “Guide to DC Blog ” written for Tea Partiers who’ll be going to Glenn Beck’s, “Restoring Honor” rally Saturday at the Lincoln Memorial.
But along with restaurant and hotel tips Majors says “it had a list of Metro stops I don’t think you should get off on unless you’re from D.C.”
In the blog, Majors wrote that DC has “refugees from every country” and that Tea Party visitors who use Metro should stay “between Union Station and Shady Grove.”
People who commented on the blog referred to “ghetto neighborhoods” and called D.C. “more dangerous than Bagdad.” The neighborhoods mentioned in the blogs are predominately African-American.
Majors denies any racial motive saying, “In this climate anytime you mention race, if people don’t like your politics they’re going to call you a racist.”
But some D.C. leaders say they have concerns about the tone of Majors blog and the Tea Party itself. D.C. Representative Eleanor Holmes Norton [who is black] says the blog is telling people to stay away from black neighborhoods.
Last week Norton joined other Civil Rights leaders who criticized Glenn Beck for holding a rally on the anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream Speech.”
“If I were the tea party movement,” Norton says, “I’d be very careful about what you say given the fact that at least at one time racists have been identified was within the movement.”
“Bringing people with these views into our city is extremely bothersome given the fact that this is a peaceful, multiracial city where everybody gets along,” continued Norton.
But Bruce Majors says he knows there was no racial message in his blog and stands by what he wrote saying “I think it’s a deliberate political ploy by people who are desperate and who don’t have any other ammunition.”
FROM BRUCE MAJORS BLOG:
Safety and Mores
DC’s population includes refugees from every country, as the families of embassy staffs of third world countries tend to stay in DC whenever a revolution in their homeland means that anyone in their family would be in danger if they went back. Most taxi drivers and many waiters/waitresses (especially in local coffee shops like the Bread and Chocolate chain) are immigrants, frequently from east Africa or Arab countries. As a rule, African immigrants do not like for you to assume they are African Americans and especially do not like for you to guess they are from a neighboring country (e.g. Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia) with whom they may have political or military tensions. It’s rare to meet anyone who gets really offended, but you can still be aware of the issue.
Many parts of DC are safe beyond the areas I will list here, but why chance it if you don’t know where you are?