WASHINGTON - May 6 - Ron Daniels, spokesperson for 2004 Racism Watch, a group formed earlier this year to monitor candidates' statements and positions, today described as "patronizing" and "racially insensitive" George Bush's remarks in the White House Rose Garden on May 1 about how "people whose skins. . . are a different color than white can self-govern."
"The President's comments were strange, patronizing and, indeed, racially insensitive," Daniels stated. "First, he referred to 'people whose skin color may not be the same as ours,' as if all U.S. citizens were of European descent, which is absurd. Indigenous people and those of African, Latino and Asian descent should not be whited out by this country's President.
"In addition," Daniels went on, "in the light of the Bush administration's failing attempt to force a U.S.-imposed government upon the people of Iraq, his comment that 'people who practice the Muslim faith can self-govern' is a slap in the face for the Iraqi people. People of the Muslim faith are governing themselves throughout the Middle East and elsewhere. As is true in non-Muslim societies, people in predominantly Muslim countries are struggling to create more democratic and just societies, often against repressive rulers supported by the U.S. government."
"If the Bush administration is genuinely for self-government and democracy," Daniels concluded, "they should announce their intention to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq and allow the Iraqi people, in cooperation with the United Nations or other bodies like the Arab League, to truly govern themselves."
Ron Daniels is the Director of the Center for Constitutional Rights. 2004 Racism Watch was founded three months ago at a national meeting in Atlanta, Ga. Members of its Advisory Committee include Edward Asner, Ed Begley, Jr., Noam Chomsky, Ron Daniels, Barbara Ehrenreich, Bill Fletcher, Jr., Manning Marable, Elizabeth Martinez, Cynthia McKinney, Phil Tajitsu Nash, Susan Sarandon, Ron Walters, Tim Wise and Howard Zinn. More information can be found at www.racismwatch.org.