Horowitz's “racist” habit

On November 30, David Horowitz, editor in chief and co-founder of the right-wing website FrontPageMag.com, posted a photo of comedian and Air America Radio host Al Franken on FrontPageMag.com with the word “Racist” printed across it in large black letters. This seems to be part of a larger pattern. Horowitz has a conspicuous record of freely applying the “racist” label to a wide variety of people and organizations, including Franken; Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai; the Democratic Party; the Huntington Beach, California, school district; civil rights activist Lawrence Guyot; Rainbow/PUSH Coalition founder Reverend Jesse Jackson; former Democratic presidential candidate Reverend Al Sharpton; the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP); and United Nations World Conference Against Racism.

  • Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai: In an October 9 FrontPageMag.com blog entry, Horowitz called 2004 Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai a “racist.” The blog entry, titled “Black Racist Wins Nobel Prize (Thanks to the Leftwing Racists on the Nobel Committee),” provided no argument as to why Horowitz considered Maathai a racist, but reprinted an October 9 Agence France-Presse article on Maathai's controversial comments on the HIV virus. According to Maathai, “It's true that there are some people who create agents to wipe out other people ... [HIV was] created by a scientist for biological warfare.”
  • The Democratic Party: In an August 5, 2003, FrontPageMag.com editorial titled "Challenging the Racist Democrats," Horowitz referred to the Democratic Party as “the party of special interest bigots and racial dividers” for its alleged support of “racist school policies.” Horowitz wrote: “The Democratic Party has shown that it will go to the wall to preserve the racist laws which enforce these preferences, and to defend the racist school systems that destroy the lives of millions of children every year.”
  • Huntington Beach, California, school district: On the March 15, 2002, edition of FOX News Channel's Hannity & Colmes, Horowitz called the Huntington Beach, California, school district “racist” for enforcing racial-balancing policies that prevented white children from transferring out of schools and black children from transferring in, saying, “What's going on here, it's probably a class issue. But we don't even know why these parents -- first of all, it's racist. The school district is racist.”
  • Civil rights activist Lawrence Guyot: On the same edition of Hannity & Colmes, Horowitz disparagingly referred to civil rights activist Lawrence Guyot, also appearing on the program, as a “racialist;” asking rhetorically of the Huntington Beach school controversy: “How can we settle the racial problem when we have racialists like Lawrence out there agitating to make every problem a racial problem?”
  • Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and the NAACP: Horowitz has also used the term “racialist” in defending Samuel Jared Taylor, the founder and editor of American Renaissance magazine, which the Anti-Defamation League has described as a periodical that “promotes 'genteel' racism: pseudoscientific, questionably researched and argued articles that validate the genetic and moral inferiority of nonwhites and the need for racial 'purity.'” Horowitz defended Taylor as a “racialist,” and attacked Reverend Jesse Jackson, Reverend Al Sharpton, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and liberal black pundits as “racists” in a July 15, 2002, FrontPageMag.com blog entry:
    There are many who would call Jared Taylor and his American Renaissance movement “racist.” If the term is modified to “racialist,” there is truth in the charge. But Taylor and his Renaissance movement are no more racist in this sense than Jesse Jackson and the NAACP. In my experience of Taylor's views, which is mainly literary (we have had occasion to exchange opinions in person only once), they do not represent a mean-spirited position. They are an attempt to be realistic about a fate that seems to have befallen us (which Taylor would maintain was inevitable given the natural order of things). But Jared Taylor is no more “racist” in this sense than any university Afro-centrist or virtually any black pundit of the left. He is not even racist in the sense that Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton are racist. He is -- as noted -- a racialist, which Frontpagemag.com is not.
  • The United Nations World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia, and Related Intolerance: On the August 29, 2001 edition of Hannity & Colmes, Horowitz attacked the United Nations World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia, and Related Intolerance, held in Durban, South Africa, between August 31 and September 7, 2001, as “racist.” Horowitz defended the Bush administration's refusal to send a high-ranking diplomat to the conference, saying: “This conference is run by Arab and African states, the va -- all of them, to a, to a state, practically, maybe there's one that's not a dictatorship, it's racist ...”

    In an October 25, 1999, column for FrontPageMag.com, Horowitz wrote:

    Because the term “racist” has the power wound and to kill, it should be used cautiously, especially by those who have the authority to make it credible -- minorities themselves.

Media Matters for America and others, including Franken (click here to listen to Franken explain why he called Horowitz a racist, from the December 1 edition of Franken's Air America Radio show), have catalogued instances of Horowitz's racial insensitivity.

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