The plight of black conservatives took center stage during Monday's edition of Hannity, a weeknight program on the Fox News Channel. The segment featured footage of African-American radio host David Webb interviewing Alvin Holmes, a Democratic state representative in Alabama who had used the racial slur “Uncle Tom” to describe Clarence Thomas, the black justice on the U.S. Supreme Court. Only the Fox News Channel has reported this story on TV.
Holmes said he stands behind his previous statement because Thomas “is a black man who allowed himself to be used to carry the message of a white man, which is against the interests of black people in America. In my opinion, Clarence Thomas is a very prolific Uncle Tom.”
When that part of the footage ended, host Sean Hannity told Webb that he believes Holmes “stands by his ignorance.” His guest replied that this story “is more about exposing ignorance, hypocrisy, bigoted behavior with this feeling that 'we can do it'” and get away with it.
Referring to the power of racism, the black conservative radio talk show host stated: “Alvin Holmes is someone who uses this. He's smart enough to use it because it plays to something that matters to them.”
Webb continued by condemning “the dishonesty in this when you think about someone who knew Martin Luther King, who's been in the House since 1974 in Alabama, who's been through the tough times but yet continues to argue what happened back then pre-civil rights, not now.”
When the second pre-recorded segment began, Webb reminded Holmes: “You introduced a bill that you made a statement about [Thomas's] marriage to a white woman” whose first name is Virginia.
“Because there was [sic] members on the floor that was saying that,” Holmes said.
“What members were saying that?” Webb asked, but Holmes tried to dodge the question by stating: “Many of them.”
When Webb asked if those members were Democrats or Republicans, Holmes responded: “Both; they not only said that this term, they said it last term.”
“Would you care to identify some of those members?” the radio host asked, and the lawmaker again tried to avoid answering the question: “Well, I don't recall exactly; there's 150 members in the House of Representatives, and right offhand, I don't recall exactly who stated it ... but I wouldn't dare to say something like that.”
Webb then pressed Holmes regarding the incident in which the Rev. William Barber -- head of the South Carolina chapter of the NAACP -- compared Tim Scott, the Palmetto State's junior Republican senator, to a ventriloquist's dummy.
“If you're going to get to be a United States senator, and you're black, and every position you take is the position that the white folk tell you to take, what incentive is that going to be for the young black?” Holmes asked.
“How do you know that the white folk, as you put it, tell Sen. Tim Scott what position to take?” Webb responded.
“Because in every report I have read, he goes by what the white people there tell him,” the lawmaker answered. “If the whites are holding a position, voting against the interests of black people, well, we call them racists. If there's a black in a position and voting against the interests of black people, we call them 'Uncle Toms.'”
After coming back to the live studio, Webb said that after pressing Holmes, it became obvious that “he doesn't really know anything about Tim Scott.”
“It's kind of the old demagogue routine that we can't accept as Americans,” Webb stated. “Back to those representatives is the state house: Does this really reflect you?”
Hannity then turned to an interview of Lorraine Miller, the interim president of the NAACP, who claimed that what Barber said was merely a result of his frustration.
Asked whether he should apologize, Miller said: “I think he's already spoken to that, the Tim Scott issue, quite adequately, and he's made his statement and that's where we are. I can't focus on things like that.”
“So the head of the NAACP can't focus on a black senator being called a ventriloquist dummy?” the FNC host asked in exasperation.
“What's the common thread here?” Webb asked. “Barber, Miller, Holmes -- longtime members of the NAACP. What does this tell you about what was once a great organization on the national level?”
Hannity's other guest, Democratic strategist Richard Fowler, responded that the NAACP has millions and millions of members with a variety of viewpoints.
Fowler then asserted that the Holmes situation is a “red herring” while the head of the NAACP is more focused on serious issues.
“So have we gone back to the NAACP as an organization only for progressives, Democrats and liberals?” Hannity added. “When it comes to advancing the blacks in America, politics shouldn't matter.”