Friedman In Trouble for “Racist” Remark

From the Associated Press...

Gubernatorial candidate and professional wiseacre Kinky Friedman was accused Wednesday of making another racially offensive remark _ this time in a year-old interview in which he said sexual predators should be thrown in prison and forced to “listen to a Negro talking to himself.”

The independent candidate already was under fire for referring to Hurricane Katrina evacuees in Texas “crackheads and thugs.” That remark was taken as a slap at black victims of the storm.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram and the Houston Chronicle have reported on an interview with Friedman that aired on CNBC last year in which the country singer and comedian was asked what to do with sexual predators.

“Throw them in prison and throw away the key and make them listen to a Negro talking to himself,” Friedman said. He also called “Negro” a “charming word.”

State Rep. Garnet Coleman, former chairman of the Texas Legislative Black Caucus, said the remarks are unacceptable from a candidate for governor, and sound more like something uttered by someone running for “class clown or the grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.”

Friedman’s spokeswoman, Laura Stromberg, said Wednesday: “Texans who know anything about Kinky know that he’s not a racist, and they’re going to see through all of this political correctness very soon. This is what they’ve got? Bring it on. Texans can see right through.”

Democratic candidate Chris Bell said he was offended by Friedman’s remark, and added, “I just don’t think those types of comments have a place in this campaign.”

The campaigns of Republican Gov. Rick Perry and independent Carole Keeton Strayhorn did not immediately return calls for comment.

Friedman told the Star-Telegram on Tuesday that anyone who is offended by his comment should vote for one of the other candidates.

“If I’ve got to lie to people, sweep the truth under the rug and worry about offending people, I’m not going to be very effective,” Friedman said.

His spokeswoman said part of the “Negro” line was derived from a book Friedman wrote in the late 1980s that was being discussed in the CNBC interview before Friedman used the phrase.

Friedman also took some heat recently for a remark about ethnic politicking.

“I don’t eat tamales in the barrio, I don’t eat fried chicken in the ghetto, I don’t eat bagels with the Jews for breakfast,” said Friedman, who is Jewish. “That to me is true racism.”

10 Responses to “Friedman In Trouble for “Racist” Remark”

  1. Stuart Richards Says:

    Yeah, I gotta say I’m becoming increasingly depressed about the usefulness of his campaign.

  2. Chris Moore Says:

    Why? The media I’ve seen about this (including the article above) have completely taken his comments out of context. Come on, does anyone truly believe Kinky Friedman is a racist? It’s politicians trying to find something to hit him with because he’s an actual threat to them.

    He’s no libertarian, so he’s gotten not a dollar from me. But I do admit, I like his style.

    I’ll go on record now—I predict Kinky Friedman will be the next governor of Texas. If not, he will come in second.

  3. NewFederalist Says:

    Uh oh… the “N” word. Very kinky!

  4. Joey Dauben Says:

    By politically correct standards, Kinky, because he is Jewish, cannot be racist.

    Jews are a protected minority group, so therefore, this is a moot point.

    However, due to the public candidacy, there are PC “no-no’s” that you’ve gotta be watchful for.

    And, for AP Style reasons I have to point out that only single ‘quote’ marks are used in headlines, whereas “double” quotation marks are used in the story.

    Just throwing that in there…

  5. undercover_anarchist Says:

    Dauben… Thank you for the single vs. double quote clarification (and I mean that seriously).

    But I fail to see why there are any quotes in this headline. Is Kinky Friedman a racist? Probably. But are the remarks racist? Absolutely. Just because someone isn’t genocidal doesn’t mean they’re not racist. Just because something is a joke doesn’t mean it’s not racist. Politicians shouldn’t make racist remarks unless they want to be called on them. It’s pretty simple, really. Then again, in an enlightened state like Texas, it probably isn’t exactly political suicide to be outted as a knuckle-dragging racist.

  6. Chris Moore Says:

    The comments come from a novel he wrote years ago and from comedy routines he performed years ago. In both instances, the characters uttering those statements where actually used as a device to lampoon racism. It was satire.

  7. undercover_anarchist Says:


  8. Citizens For A Better Veterans Home[s] Says:

    Sept. 27, 2006, 1:15AM

    Kinky fan? yes; endorsement? no
    Gossip column makes hay over how Ann Richards might have voted
    Copyright 2006 Houston Chronicle Austin Bureau
    AUSTIN - A week after speaking at the late Gov. Ann Richards’ memorial, syndicated columnist Liz Smith sparked an uproar in the Texas governor’s race Tuesday by implying that Richards had been supporting independent Kinky Friedman.
    But after a day of angst by the Richards family and Texas Democrats, Smith recanted.
    “Let’s just say I was mistaken,” Smith said in an interview.
    Smith’s column in Tuesday’s New York Post was e-mailed to reporters by Friedman’s campaign as a sign of good news in the ongoing storm of controversy over the racially charged humor he has used in past satirical stage shows and in novels.
    Democratic nominee Chris Bell, who invokes Richards in his own speeches, called Smith’s column “an outrage.”
    Richards’ four children issued a statement saying the former governor was not supporting Friedman and was a loyal Democrat.
    Smith said she knew Richards liked Friedman but said she had taken it a step too far in her column to imply the former governor was supporting him.
    ‘Jumping to an assumption’
    “I was jumping to an assumption because we had talked a lot about Kinky and weird candidacies and offbeat candidacies, and things are so pathetic in Texas, I jumped to a conclusion that I shouldn’t have printed,” Smith said. “She said not too long before she left New York that anything could happen and he might have a chance.”
    Friedman, who said Richards was a personal friend, said he thinks Smith knew what Richards was thinking about in the governor’s race.
    “I know Liz was Ann’s best friend,” Friedman said. “To me it makes spiritual sense that Ann would feel that way, and Liz would know it.”
    The column noted that Smith had attended a New York fundraiser for Friedman that had been hosted by Houstonian Carolyn Farb.
    Smith said the controversy was breaking at the time about Friedman’s use of an offensive racial stereotype of blacks. She said she did not think Friedman is a racist and that he uses humor to tell hard truths.
    “If you were an Ann Richards fan, you could memorialize her by endorsing her own candidate — Kinky,” Smith wrote in the Post. “And if you are a real Democrat, a populist or a liberal-thinking person, I’d say Kinky is your man. I hope he wins.”
    The Richards children — Cecile, Dan, Clark and Ellen — issued a statement saying Richards did not support Friedman.
    “Ann Richards did not support Kinky Friedman for governor of Texas nor endorse him before she died. She was very concerned about this election. She always voted a straight Democratic ticket,” they said.
    Bell claims Richards’ legacy
    Bell said Smith and Friedman should have respected Richards’ family.
    “Ann Richards’ legacy is my agenda. She was a true-blue Democrat, and we should respect the family at this time,” he said.
    On Monday, Bell invoked Richards’ name while speaking to a Democratic gathering in San Antonio. When he started thinking about running for governor against incumbent Republican Rick Perry, many people told him he was crazy, he said.
    “I heard one of the people who thought I was crazy was Ann Richards, and that I would need to go by her office as a courtesy so she could tell me I was crazy. I was really looking forward to that, as you can imagine.”
    Bell said he ran into Richards in an Austin hotel and asked for an appointment at her office.
    “In her own inimitable way, she said, ‘Honey, you don’t need to come by my office, I can tell you you’re crazy right here,’ ” Bell said. “But after a couple of months, Governor Richards started seeing a lot of what I had already seen regarding Rick Perry’s vulnerability. ”
    Friedman said he does not think he has been hurt by a week’s worth of stories.
    “The unforeseen event is it is shoring up the support of every redneck in Texas. That’s a lot of votes,” Friedman said.
    [email protected]

    HoustonChronicle. com—http://www.HoustonC hronicle. com | Section: Houston & Texas
    This article is: http://www.chron. com/disp/ story.mpl/ metropolitan/ 4217362.html
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