“No Whites Allowed”

Stephen I. Cohen, a white man representing a majority black district wanted to join the Congressional Black Caucus. So, what was the reaction of the black caucus to that? Basically, “no white people allowed.” What a bunch of racists.

Freshman Rep. Stephen I. Cohen, D-Tenn., is not joining the Congressional Black Caucus after several current and former members made it clear that a white lawmaker was not welcome.

“I think they’re real happy I’m not going to join,” said Cohen, who succeeded Rep. Harold Ford, D-Tenn., in a majority-black Memphis district. “It’s their caucus and they do things their way. You don’t force your way in. You need to be invited.”

Cohen said he became convinced that joining the caucus would be “a social faux pas” after seeing news reports that former Rep. William Lacy Clay Sr., D-Mo., a co-founder of the caucus, had circulated a memo telling members it was “critical” that the group remain “exclusively African- American.”

Other members, including the new chairwoman, Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, D-Mich., and Clay’s son, Rep. William Lacy Clay, D-Mo., agreed.

“Mr. Cohen asked for admission, and he got his answer. … It’s time to move on,” the younger Clay said. “It’s an unwritten rule. It’s understood. It’s clear.”

The bylaws of the caucus do not make race a prerequisite for membership, a House aide said, but no non-black member has ever joined.”

Come on, Stephen Cohen, don’t let the Black Caucus tell you that you’ve got to sit at the back of the bus because you have the wrong skin color. Don’t let them tell you that, “We don’t allow your type in our Country Club.” Stand up for yourself and if you won’t stand up for yourself, stand up for your constituents.

If they don’t want “whitey” in their little racist club, let them change their bylaws to say, “no white people allowed.” Make them endorse their segregationist policy in writing and let’s see what people have to say about it. Show a little courage up there, Cohen.

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