I’m Not a Racist

Published on September 18th, 2008

I must admit to being somewhat taken aback by Kelly Davis oh-so-casually labeling me a “racist” in her article, “A red herring?” [“The Front Lines,” Sept. 10], a radioactive allegation she bases on a column I wrote that was published in both the San Francisco Chronicle and San Diego Union-Tribune last month.

I don’t know Davis, and she clearly doesn’t know me, but as a working journalist in Southern California for the past 20 years—and a former contributor to Los Angeles City Beat—I was surprised that a fellow reporter would make such a reckless claim that denigrates a person’s character. A generation ago, when I was walking precincts to get Pomona’s first black city councilman elected and volunteering in the sanctuary movement that hid illegal immigrants fleeing El Salvador’s civil war, I would never have imagined that I would one day be called a racist for arguing that whites’ perspective on immigration must be taken into account.

Nonetheless, Davis tells CityBeat readers that Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS), a public-policy-advocacy group for which I am senior writing fellow, must be a front for a “racist agenda” because my recent column in the Chronicle and Union-Tribune takes up the issue of America’s declining white population and the challenges it poses for our nation.

“CAPS may deny having a racist agenda, but its actions suggest otherwise,” Davis writes. “[Cromer’s] piece talks about ‘the increasingly rapid erosion of the white population in America’ and the ‘pervasive sense among whites that America is being overrun’ by immigrants.”

Davis plucked two partial lines and offers them, sans any context, as evidence that my column is some sinister entreaty to whites. My column at full length was more than 1,000 words, of which Davis selected 19 to cast her aspersion.

What Davis doesn’t tell readers is that my column is based on the new figures released by the U.S. Census Bureau that made national news last month as they project white Americans are slipping into an ethnic-minority status much faster than previously anticipated. I suggest in my column that this will indeed pose serious socio-political challenges for our country, challenges that cannot be successfully addressed without the perspective of white Americans being included in an open, honest and candid national dialogue.

Davis also conveniently neglects to mention that I praise Sen. Barack Obama in my column for nudging this country toward that very dialogue with his address on race in Philadelphia last spring, but I suppose that didn’t jibe with the angle she was working.

At best, Davis is being intellectually dishonest by intentionally mischaracterizing my column in pursuit of her own agenda; at worst she is practicing a virulent strain of a new McCarthyism that seeks to silence honest people of good conscience that voice opposing viewpoints by accusing them of bigotry.

If Davis wishes to argue that the explosive population growth that’s fueled by immigration is not dramatically impacting the quality of our lives, our environment and the opportunities for the most vulnerable Californians of all ethnicities, she should at least try to make her case without resorting to poisonous smears and innuendo.

Mark Cromer,
Senior writing fellow,
Californians for Population Stabilization

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