NAACP leader Khalfani “demands” meeting with Webb
The Executive Director of the Virginia State Conference of the NAACP explained today his rationale for lashing out at Senator Jim Webb. King Salim Khalfani wrote a letter to Webb expressing his anger over an op-ed the Senator wrote for the Wall Street Journal on diversity programs like Affirmative Action.
“You don’t start a discussion by sucker punching someone in the nose, and then breaking their nose and then say ‘let’s talk’,” said Khalfani.
In a live interview on NBC12 First at 4, Khalfani took issue with Webb for writing that the “NAACP thinks the tea party is racist.” Webb began his Op-ed with that line, in an apparent effort to explain the heated rhetoric that comes any time issues of race are addressed. (Webb concluded his first paragraph by writing “The time has come to cease the false arguments and allow every American the benefit of a fair chance at the future”)
But for Khalfani starting the article with that line sent the discussion in the wrong direction and it ultimately led him to fire off his angry letter. “His premise began with a lie,” he said, “and for him to begin an international op-ed piece (that way) is disingenuous at best.”
However, Khalfani himself, has been accused of raising the debate on the issue to a new level. In his letter, he refers to members of the tea party as “tea baggers” and compares Webb to conservative talk show hosts Glenn Beck and Bill O’Rielly. A prominent democratic blogger described the letter as a “tirade“, while another asked “who writes this stuff?” Veteran political analyst Dr. Bob Holsworth predicted that prominent democrats will attempt to distance themselves from what the activist had to say, whether they agree or not.
Khalfani chose not to back down from the inflammatory language. In fact he embraced it.
“If they think this doesn’t affect people, well it affects our everyday lives,” said Khalfani. “Yeah, I’m angry.”
And he doesn’t plan to back down.
“We don’t hope to meet with him,” he said. “We demand it. He works for us, we don’t work for him We elected him.”
Despite the heated words up until this point, Khalfani believes he and Webb can have a civil discourse on the issue.
“I meet with Presidents, U.S. Senators, Governors all the time. You’ve never seen me arrested, I haven’t beaten anybody up yet. I am sure we can, we always do.”
I am in contact with Senator Webb’s office regarding what Khalfani had to say today. If they offer a response, I will share it.
You can see the interview in its enterity below:
You can see a complete transcript of the discussion on our main site- NBC12.com