Lawmaker defends slavery comments
A white Arkansas legislator says African-Americans are better off today than they would be if their ancestors had been permitted to remain in Africa.
By Bob Allen
A Southern Baptist state legislator in Arkansas is standing by a self-published book he wrote in 2009 where he suggests that slavery may have been a blessing in disguise for African-Americans.
Republican State Rep. Jon Hubbard, a graduate of Ouachita Baptist University and member of Walnut Street Baptist Church in Jonesboro, Ark., accused Democrats and left-wing bloggers of taking small portions of his book, titled Letters to the Editor: Confessions of a Frustrated Conservative, out of context and distorting the content to make it appear that he is a racist, an allegation he termed “totally and completely false.”
Hubbard is a first-term legislator who defeated a Democratic incumbent in 2010 to become the first Republican to win Arkansas House District 75 since Reconstruction. He made national headlines over the weekend after Talk Business, an Arkansas television program, and the Arkansas Times, a weekly alternative newspaper published in Little Rock, posted excerpts of his book online.
“The institution of slavery that the black race has long believed to be an abomination upon its people may actually have been a blessing in disguise,” Hubbard said in the book. “The blacks who could endure those conditions and circumstances would someday be rewarded with citizenship in the greatest nation ever established upon the face of the Earth.”
In another excerpt, Hubbard said integrating schools has been harmful to white students.
“[O]ne of the stated purposes of school integration was to bring black students up to a level close to that of white students,” he said. “But, to the great disappointment of everyone, the results of this theory worked exactly in reverse of its intended purpose, and instead of black students rising to the educational levels previously attained by white students, the white students dropped to the level of black students. To make matters worse the lack of discipline and ambition of black students soon became shared by their white classmates, and our educational system has been in a steady decline ever since.”
Hubbard accused “Obama-Pelosi-Beebe Democrats” (Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe) of attacking him because he is a conservative, and said they have no positive plan for addressing issues that are important to voters.
Rather than distancing himself from the book, he released an e-mail statement to KAIT-TV in Jonesboro quoting a chapter titled “The Black Blessing in Disguise” in context and invited readers to make up their own minds about the merits of what he said.
“Would it have been better for black Americans of today if their ancestors had never been brought to these shores?” Hubbard asked. “Would their lives honestly have been better as African tribesmen?”
Hubbard said blacks today should ask themselves, “Is their life better spent as U.S. citizens living in America, or as African tribesmen living in grass huts and constantly searching for their food?"
“Is life better for black Americans to be living in an America that is still evolving in its understanding of what it means to be a multicultural nation, or would they be more content living under the same conditions as those endured by most living in Africa today?”
He queried further: “Wouldn't life for blacks in America today be more enjoyable and successful if they would only learn to appreciate the value of a good education? Also, wouldn't life for blacks in America today be more successful if they would only see government entitlement programs as a last resort, or as for those who simply cannot provide for themselves due to physical or mental handicaps?”
Hubbard said he doubts “the white race” would have been able to rise above the struggles experienced by blacks, but perhaps God knew “that the black race was indeed a strong and courageous people who could endure an existence in the strange land into which they were about to be placed.”
The question now, he said, is “with the black race several generations into this process, will they allow themselves to take advantage of the gift that was given to them, and redeem those trials and tribulations of their ancestors?”
“Will black pride ever convince their race to take full advantage of those things that would encourage their fellow Americans to see them as equal and contributing members of the American experience?” he considered.
“Is black pride enhanced or diminished by the continued acceptance of the victim label, as encouraged by liberal whites and far too many impressionable leaders within the black community?”
Hubbard said blacks today “have been taken in by a liberal ideology that sees their vote as their only asset.”
“Many blacks have become great contributors to the American way of life, and although there have been numerous success stories about blacks in America, too many blacks today have bought into the them-against-us mentality and have fallen into the pit of racial or class warfare as being their only option,” he wrote.
“Especially for those in the younger generations, a life of crime is seen as having a more acceptable future than the completion of a good education, followed by the accomplishments gained only from a productive occupation.
“Regardless of what members of the black community have been tricked into believing in the past, their success or future cannot be placed in the hands of anyone but themselves. We are all responsible for our own actions, and just as with the white community, success or failure is the result of many individual choices, and how we react as a result of those choices.”
Hubbard, a former teacher and coach -- including two years coaching football at Baptist-affiliated Ouachita -- worked in the insurance business 35 years before entering politics. He recently announced plans to seek a second term. If re-elected he pledged to “protect the life of yet-to-be born children; prevent Arkansas from continuing to be a sanctuary state for illegal aliens and fight to protect and preserve the U.S. Constitution.”
© 2013 Associated Baptist Press, Inc.