The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.

‘Black’ Nativist Group Taken Seriously

By Mark Potok on August 30, 2007 - 3:06 pm, Posted in Anti-Immigrant, Media Extremism

Earlier this month, Ted Hayes, a right-wing African-American street activist from Los Angeles, was presented on Fox News’ “Hannity & Colmes” as the leader of a group of prominent black activists opposed to undocumented immigration.

67-activist.jpgTrouble was, his group, Choose Black America (CBA), doesn’t really represent black people at all. It is the creation of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), a white-dominated and mainly white-led organization that has been agitating for years for lower levels of immigration. FAIR, in fact, has accepted more than $1 million from the Pioneer Fund, a foundation that funds writers seeking to prove that black people aren’t as smart as whites.

Last year, Intelligence Report writer Brentin Mock interviewed almost half of CBA’s original members, most of whom had no idea who the other individuals in their coalition were before they showed up for a press conference organized and paid for by FAIR. One said that if he had known the right-wing politics of some of those invited by FAIR, he never would have attended. Since that press conference, CBA has been virtually inactive, although it still serves to help FAIR deflect accusations that the anti-immigration movement is dominated by whites with bigoted attitudes toward Latinos.

On the Aug. 16 edition of “Hannity & Colmes,” Hayes spoke of a recent news conference he held to address the murders of three African Americans in Newark, N.J., by Latino perpetrators — one of whom was undocumented. Hayes claimed he was attacked at that news conference. “They threatened my life,” Hayes said on the show. It was a black person who “attacked” Hayes, but he still blamed it on “a rabble of Hispanics and some white folks.”

More to the point, Hayes was presented as the new “leader” of CBA, taking over from Frank Morris, another nativist African American who sits on FAIR’s board. When Mock talked with Hayes today, Hayes said he was not elected to the leadership position but appointed. “It was a de facto replacement, a joint agreement between me, the people at FAIR, Frank… . It was a consensus thing.” Hayes assured the Intelligence Report that he had “sent word out” to the original members. “They said, ‘go ahead and lead us. We’re right behind you,’” he said.

Choose Black America suggests, in effect, that black Americans chose it to represent them in their struggle against Latino immigration. The reality, no matter how it is presented, is that FAIR chose the group and now has chosen Hayes to lead it.

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  • Sean

    None of the pro-Hayes comments address the points made in the article. This guy took his marching orders from FAIR, a “white-dominated and mainly white-led organization” that “has accepted more than $1 million from the Pioneer Fund, a foundation that funds writers seeking to prove that black people aren’t as smart as whites.” You can’t be in bed with right wingers and white supremacists and have the best interests of Black people at heart.

  • marc

    The phrase “he doesn’t represent black people”… is about as racist as the people who asked the question “is obama black enough”.

    When will americans ever understand that blacks are no more monolithic than any other race or that the common dialogue from liberals, liberal blacks, liberal black academics regarding the black race is not the only diologue or final word out there ?

    The tensions between blacks and latinos in places like los angeles have largely been ignored… but the huge influx of cheap labor and millions of people living on the margins of a different culture and race has impacted many black areas– and not always in a positive way.

    Ted Hays has been on the front lines of fighting poverty in black community in los angeles for years in ways which have not put money in his pocket. A constructive diologue with this man and his concerns would probably be better than villifying and marginalizing him.

  • eh

    Few things are better established than the fact that mass immigration of the un- and low-skilled is badly hurting American Blacks economically. Therefore it is only reasonable that Blacks oppose this immigration, especially when it is illegal (‘undocumented’) — why does it matter who instigates this opposition? BTW, perhaps you’ve heard that in LA, vicious Hispanic gangs are deliberately targeting Blacks with murderous violence. Since the SPLC is interested in ‘hate’, why not blog about that?

  • David Tyler

    Whites weren’t particularly interested in black problems until it occurs to them they can use them to combat an even more loathed group of human beings.If whites affiliated with these truly want to worry about the problems of black people,they should get behind the effort to help Katrina survivors.Or,they can get behind efforts to end the racism in the criminal justice system.Or they can fight America’s poverty problem or struggle with environmental injustice.Get the point?Latino immigration is not nearly the problem for black Americans all these other issues are,if it is seen as a problem in the first place.There’s no reson the U.S. can’t absorb the immigrants who contibute so much..