On Wednesday, Rand Paul, the GOP's US Senate candidate for Kentucky repeated his claim that a central piece of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was wrong, and that businesses should be free to discriminate against whomever they please.1Paul and his supporters don't seem to care that without federal intervention, Black people might still be second-class citizens in most aspects of American life: where we eat, where we work, even where we live.
Then, on Thursday, FOX contributor and business anchor John Stossel went even further than Paul and called for the section of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that applies to business to be repealed.2 And he's refused to back down.
It's time to hold FOX accountable:
While Rand Paul may have started this outrage, he can be taken care of at the ballot box — FOX News can't.
Stossel's position is an affront to Black America and everyone in this country who believes in racial progress. It's one thing to be a candidate with backwards views. It's another to be employed by a supposed news network and to use that platform to push hateful ideas that our nation repudiated decades ago.
It's time that FOX drop Stossel. It's why I've joined ColorOfChange.org in demanding Fox do so immediately. If after hearing from thousands of people like you and I, FOX refuses to act, it will make clear that FOX stands with Stossel and his values, and ColorOfChange has pledged to go directly after the network with a major public campaign.
Can you take a moment to add your voice to the call to fire Stossel? After you do, please ask your friends and family to do the same:
FOX has a history of providing a platform for bigoted views and race-baiting. Most recently more than 300,000 people helped us hold FOX accountable by stripping Glenn Beck of more than 100 of his advertisers, after Beck called President Obama a "racist" with a "deep-seated hatred for white people."3
But Stossel has arguably gone beyond Beck, echoing segregationist arguments from the Jim Crow era:
"It's time now to repeal that part of the law because private businesses ought to get to discriminate. And I won't ever go to a place that's racist and I will tell everybody else not to and I'll speak against them. But it should be their right to be racist."
Stossel went on to argue something that history has disproved time and again — that private business will do the right thing, without being compelled by laws, because no one would patronize a business that discriminates. It's a blind belief in market fundamentalism that just isn't in sync with reality. In the '60s, white-owned businesses that allowed Blacks as customers lost business. Market forces actually perpetuated discrimination; they didn't combat it. Simply put: segregation would still be active in parts of this country if government hadn't stepped in.
And recent history has shown that the public accommodations section of the Civil Rights Act is still needed. In 1994, it was used to hold Denny's Restaurants accountable, after the chain repeatedly refused to seat Black customers.4 Just last year, it was used to go after a Philadelphia pool that prevented Black children from swimming there.5
It's time for Fox News to make a choice. Are they willing to continue to give a platform to racially-divisive rhetoric and revive dangerously outdated perspectives? Or will they move with the rest of the nation into into the 21st century? Please join me in calling on Fox News to fire John Stossel. And once you do, please ask your friends and family to do the same:
5. http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2010/January/10-crt-033.html ThanksWilliam Meloney