Black leaders rebuke Tuberville’s stance on reparations and crime

As for Jeremy Ellis, Republican Tommy Tuberville should know or know more about the long history and struggles of the black Alabama residents he represents in the US Senate.

Tuberville told people at a campaign rally in Nevada on Saturday that Democrats support reparations for descendants of slaves because « they think the people who commit the crime must. »

His remarks — seen by many as racist and stereotypical black Americans as people committing crimes — deeply affected some, especially in and around Africatown, a community in Mobile, Alabama that was founded by descendants of ‘Africans Smuggled into the United States. in 1860 aboard a schooner called the Clotilda.

The 2019 discovery of the ship in the muddy waters near Mobile offers the best argument for repairs of some kind to the descendants of the slaves who survived the long and arduous Atlantic crossing.

« I believe Senator Tuberville’s comments were misinformed, ignorant in nature, and embarrassing to the state of Alabama, » said Ellis, who now lives in Marietta, Georgia, and is president of the Clotilda Descendants Association.

Before running for the U.S. Senate, Tuberville spent four decades in coaching, including 11 years as a head coach at Auburn University, located about a three-hour drive northeast of Mobile.

Ellis graduated in 2003 from the Auburn School of Engineering and said he attended every football team home game at Auburn. Ellis also said he served as a student assistant for the team under Tuberville.

« I think it would suit Senator Tuberville to visit Africatown, » Ellis said. « It’s an area he knows extremely well as he signed a number of his players there when he was head football coach. »

Tuberville’s remarks on the Democratic Party’s response to the perceived rise in crime across the country come just weeks before the Nov. 8 general election, as Republicans seek to regain control of Congress.

« They’re not soft on crime, » Tuberville said of Democrats. “They are pro-crime. They want crime. They want crime because they want to take what you have. They want to control what you have. They want reparations because they think the people who commit the crime are responsible for it.

The first-term senator has not publicly responded to the backlash of his words, which have reignited the national debate over reparations.

In April 2021, a House panel approved legislation that would create a commission to study the issue. President Joe Biden’s White House earlier said he supports studying reparations for black Americans.

“When they illegally brought my ancestors to the Mobile, Alabama area, a crime was committed,” Ellis told The Associated Press on Tuesday. « And now that we have the actual artifacts, the evidence of the crime, I think it’s a clear and perfect case study. »

Tuberville’s statements « are the words of a man trying to lead a desperate effort to discredit and minimize the fact that reparations are due, » said Darron Patterson, former president of the Clotilda Descendants Association and cousin of Ellis.

Patterson, who lives in Mobile and says his great-great-grandfather was a slave aboard the Clotilda, criticized Tuberville’s claims.

« Are you saying that the descendants of slaves are the only ones committing crimes in this country? » said Patterson. “We have people in Washington who really don’t understand what their job is. We sent you there to do the job. The job is to have America’s best interests at heart. How the hell is America’s best interest at heart when you say the Democrats are for crime and those who commit the crimes are the ones seeking reparations? »

Patterson said he plans to meet Tuberville next week.

Tuberville’s message was aimed at grassroots MAGA Republicans seeking office and supporters of former President Donald Trump, an ally of Tuberville, according to Ron Daniels, head of the National African American Reparations Commission. .

The remarks present « a moment of emancipation proclamation » for Biden, a Democrat, to embrace the federal reparations study and say, « ‘I stand on the side of racial justice and racial healing,' » a Daniels said.

But Frederick Gooding Jr., a professor of African-American studies and honors at Texas Christian University, thinks Tuberville was just « testing the waters. »

« I think it’s quite strategic, » Gooding said. « Let’s see where it goes. He’s in a small town in Nevada. We are a few years away from the next big national election. He leverages time, pulling some of the rhetoric piecemeal and in small doses. A successful football coach for so long, strategy is literally his game.”

But what Tuberville said about reparations and the crime « makes no sense, » Gooding added.

« The idea that they want to grab what you have and then control what you have ‘feeds the fear,' » Gooding said. human crimes that have been committed.

Data compiled by the FBI shows crime has slowed in the past year and most crimes are committed by white people, who make up more than 75% of the U.S. population, according to the Census Bureau.

The data was released on October 5. They showed that violent and property crime generally remained constant between 2020 and 2021, with a slight decrease in the overall violent crime rate and a 4.3% increase in the murder rate. That’s an improvement from 2020, when the US murder rate jumped 29%.

Figures from some of the nation’s largest police departments were not included in the FBI report.

An analysis of crime data by the Brennan Center for Justice also shows that the murder rate rose nearly 30% in 2020, rising in both cities and rural areas.


The Detroit-based Williams is a member of AP’s Race and Ethnicity team.

Corey Williams, The Associated Press


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