Chris Fields: I didn't call Keith Ellison a reverse racist in "reverse racism" ad
|Now what would give anyone the idea that Fields was calling Ellison a racist?|
I wasn't very surprised when I came into work this morning to find I already had three voicemails. Two hangups and one message, all from the same caller: Chris Fields, the GOP-endorsed Congressional candidate running against Keith Ellison.
Early this morning, we published a blog post about Fields's latest attack literature on Ellison, which features a picture of the incumbent congressman next to the proclamation, "Racism is bad." The gist of the ad being that Ellison -- a black Muslim -- practices racially biased politics. Or as Fields calls it, "reverse racism."
In the post, we point out that at least one of Fields's arguments is taken out of context. He implies that so-called reverse racism motivated Ellison and the Black Caucus to walk out on Congress's vote to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt. In fact, it wasn't just Ellison and the Black Caucus. Dozens of Democrats of many races walked out, including Nancy Pelosi. So is Fields saying they are all racists, too?
For the record, I did call Fields yesterday for comment, and he didn't respond. But I presumed he would have something to say about the post after it went live. I called him back right away this morning, and what did surprise me was his rebuttal: He claims he never called Ellison a reverse racist.
Here's how the first part of our conversation went, beginning with Fields's thoughts on the post:
Chris Fields: "It wasn't to my liking, but that's okay, because I don't need to like everything that's written about me. But I just want to point your attention to a few things that are blatantly misrepresented."
City Pages: "In my post?"
Fields: "Yes, in your post. I did not explicitly call Keith a reverse racist. I didn't. I didn't."
CP: "Okay, I'm looking at the ad right now, it says, 'reverse racism.' And there's a picture of Keith Ellison next to it."
Fields: "Okay, it says two words. What about the rest of the words there? I mean, do they count? And I'm not trying to be confrontational here --"
CP: "So you're trying to tell me that you're not calling Keith Ellison a reverse racist?"
Photo: Chris Fields. Fields says we need to have an "adult conversation" about race.
Fields: "It says, 'Does Keith--'"
CP: "Yeah, 'Does Keith Ellison practice reverse racism and racial politics?'"
Fields: "You decide. You decide."
CP: "And then you're trying to tell me that in this literature it's not supposed to be answering that question for the people that are reading it?"
Fields: "I'm putting a set of facts out there, just like everybody else. And I'll tell you this much --"
CP: "No, no, no. Let me read another part of this. 'Keith Ellison has a double standard for justice: one for blacks, one for whites. That's just wrong.' I mean, c'mon, you're not gonna tell me that you're not trying to say that he's a reverse racist. Why even introduce the term reverse racism?"
Fields: "Here's the thing, Andy. If we're going to talk about facts -- facts are facts. I said, factually, I did not call him a racist. That's what I'm saying. And then if you want to talk about the actual issue itself, do you believe, Andy, in your heart, mind, and soul, that if Brian Terry were black, and this were the Bush administration, and the attorney general were John Ashcroft -- if those were the cast of players, do you believe that they would have walked out?"
CP: "That's such a tangential, hypothetical question, that I don't even know why we'd be talking about it. You said we're talking about facts, so let's talk about facts. That was not the situation."
We got off on a bit of a tangent at this point, where Fields continued his argument by saying that Ellison helped introduce an amendment in the name of Trayvon Martin, but ignored the death of Brian Terry, the white U.S. Border Patrol agent shot on patrol in 2010.