Representative Sheila Jackson Lee

Representing the 18th District of TEXAS

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee Statement Denouncing and Rejecting White Nationalism and White Supremacy

Jan 16, 2019
Press Release

For Immediate Release                                                                  Contact: Robin Chand

January 15, 2019                                                                                   (202) 225–3816

Press Statement

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee Statement Denouncing and Rejecting White Nationalism and White Supremacy

 

Jackson Lee—“ For too long, this Representative from Iowa has trafficked in hateful rhetoric.  Unfortunately, his remarks were not made in a vacuum.  He made these remarks as a sitting member of Congress at the same time the Federal Bureau of Investigation has been noticing an alarming pattern of hate across the nation.  For example, according to the FBI, hate crimes increased nationwide during 2015, 2016 and 2017, including the shooting deaths of nine parishioners at Mother Emmanuel Church in Charleston, South Carolina, and just last year, eleven parishioners at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.”

WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, a Senior Member of the House Judiciary Committee, the Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, the Chief Deputy Whip and a former staff member of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, released this statement ahead of the House vote on H.Res. 41, a Resolution Rejecting White Nationalism and White Supremacy:

“Today marks the 90th birthday of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and this weekend the nation celebrates the federal holiday in his honor.  Fifty-six years ago, not far from the Chamber of the House of Representatives, Dr. King implored us to judge people “not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.’

”This country’s original sin is slavery and its vestiges.  Unfortunately, centuries after our founding, we know too well that racism is alive and well, and seeps into many corners of our society.  This is why the statements made last week by the Congressman from Iowa, to the New York Times defending “white nationalism,” “white supremacy,” and “western civilization,” and wondering aloud to the newspaper of record as to why and when such statements became offensive are indefensible.  The doctrine of white supremacy was rejected emphatically with the defeat of the confederacy in the Civil War and the ratification of the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments.

“White nationalism is an extremist ideology that believes the government should preserve America for the white race.  As the text of H.Res. 41—introduced by James Clyburn, the Majority Whip of the House of Representatives—makes clear, white supremacy views non-whites as ‘subhuman’ and are referred to in ‘derogatory terms.’  The domestic white nationalist movement seeks to promote, honor, and defend the white race.  But none of this is new to the Congressman at issue—to be certain, this Member of Congress has a long and sordid history of these remarks.  As recently as the 2018 election cycle, he was found to have made similarly offensive remarks.  This remark earned little more than a rebuke from the Republican leader of the House congressional campaign committee.

“For too long, this Representative from Iowa has trafficked in hateful rhetoric.  Unfortunately, his remarks were not made in a vacuum.  This Congressman made these remarks as a sitting member of Congress at the same time the Federal Bureau of Investigation has been noticing an alarming pattern of hate across the nation.  For example, according to the FBI, hate crimes increased nationwide during 2015, 2016 and 2017, including the shooting deaths of nine parishioners at Mother Emmanuel Church in Charleston, South Carolina, and just last year, eleven parishioners at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  As these and countless other hate crimes make clear, people die under the guise of white supremacy. 

“The House of Representatives rejects White nationalism and White supremacy as hateful expressions of intolerance which are contradictory to the values that define the people of the United States.  Comments such as these have no place in a civilized society.  What makes this incident sadder is that the Commander-in-Chief—the President of the United States and the person who wields the bully pulpit—has not responded to these hateful comments.  When asked of the remarks at issue, the President indicated that he had not heard anything of the matter, despite his posture as a “news junkie.”  Therefore it is up to us, the American people, to relish our diversity to honor Dr. King, to live up to the true commitment that we are all equal and that America continues to seek to overcome.” 

 

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Sheila Jackson Lee, a Democrat representing the 18th Congressional District of Texas, is a senior member of the House Committees on Judiciary, Homeland Security and the Budget. She is a Ranking Member of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations.