Friday, September 22, 2006

The Texas NAACP has asked independent governor candidate Kinky Friedman to apologize for what it called his offensive and racially charged remarks

Kelley Shannon:

"Your racially charged comments in past years and those you've made recently, and apparently consistently, invoke the worst racial stereotypes about people of color and as a candidate for the highest and most respected job in the state purporting to represent all Texans, it is right and required that you apologize," Gary Bledsoe, the organization's president, said in a letter delivered to Friedman's campaign office.

Friedman's campaign did not immediately return a call to The Associated Press for comment on Friday. It issued a lengthy statement on Thursday denying Friedman was a racist and that he used his comedy and writings to expose and lampoon bigotry.

Friedman told The Associated Press on Thursday that the criticism is orchestrated by his opponents who now believe he's an electoral threat.

Republican Gov. Rick Perry, Democrat Chris Bell, independent Carole Keeton Strayhorn and Libertarian James Werner also are running for governor.

Earlier this month, Friedman referred to Hurricane Katrina evacuees in Houston, most of whom are black, as "crackheads and thugs." He later criticized ethnic politicking by saying, "I don't eat tamales in the barrio, I don't eat fried chicken in the ghetto and I don't eat bagels with the Jews."

Then a television interview from a year ago resurfaced in which Friedman was asked what to do about sexual predators, and he said, "Throw them in prison and throw away the key and make them listen to a Negro talking to himself."

On Thursday, a left-leaning political Web site posted an audio clip of Friedman telling a joke at a nightclub in 1980 in which he used the n-word.

On Friday, that same Web site posted two more audio clips of Friedman telling race-related jokes, one of which included the n-word.

Friedman says use of slur was joke


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