Posted on August 19, 2021

If Larry Elder Is Elected, Life Will Get Harder for Black and Latino Californians

Jean Guerrero, Los Angeles Times, August 18, 2021

The California recall election’s Republican front-runner, Larry Elder, has built a career as a Black radio talk show host who isn’t afraid to deny the reality of systemic racism by maligning Black people. He likes to call himself “the sage from South-Central.”

The problem is, the statistics he’s shared over the decades to support his views and policy proposals are misleading, if not outright false, casting Black people as unusually crime-prone. In some cases, the bogus data come directly from Jared Taylor, a leading white supremacist Elder has repeatedly cited in his articles and books.

If Elder becomes governor, the state that led the charge against Trumpism could plunge into an alternate universe reminiscent of the ’90s, when California passed a racist three-strikes law and the anti-immigrant Proposition 187.

“He would be a violent ricochet backwards for California and the country,” Sydney Kamlager, a California state senator and vice chair of the California Legislative Black Caucus, told me. “We’re not trying to go back to Jim Crow.”

Elder told The Times last week that he plans to “change the rhetoric about how bad the cops are.” Last year, he shared a graphic with so-called facts depicting Black people as murderous, echoing similar claims he’s made on air for decades: “Blacks kill 2x as many whites (500) as whites kill Blacks (250),” and “Blacks, 13% of pop., commit 50% of murders.”


In an early “BET Tonight” appearance with Tavis Smiley, Elder said: “Rape, murder, uh, robbery with aggravated manslaughter, about 90% of that involves a Black perpetrator.” {snip}

In an interview with The Times editorial board, Elder cited a study with an unusual finding: “Police are more reluctant, more hesitant to pull the trigger on a black suspect.” {snip}

Elder’s views were shaped by Taylor, who wants a “majority-white” nation and wrote a 1999 pamphlet, “The Color of Crime,” a white supremacist classic. Elder quoted him repeatedly between 1998 and 2002. Elder also featured the white nationalist site Vdare, with its stated mission to defend the country’s “racial and cultural identity,” on his website in 2016.

As governor, Elder, who mentored Trump advisor Stephen Miller, would veto legislation that conflicts with his ideology. He told The Times he doesn’t believe in sanctuary laws or citizenship for Dreamers. He’s against in-state tuition, healthcare and driver’s licenses for the undocumented. He opposes birthright citizenship. He objects to cashless bail and diverting police funds to social programs.


Elder has long conflated Latinos with crime. In his memoir, he wrote that an influx of “legal and illegal Hispanics” near the Convention Center made the area “gang infested, and much more dangerous.” He told The Times he plans to use the “bully pulpit,” and favors the term “illegal alien,” not “undocumented.” He’s sought advice from Gov. Pete Wilson, who normalized “invasion” rhetoric.