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How could the founder of a virulently racist, anti-Semitic group whose leaders urge violence against whites and the police be appointed to a Dallas group that advises elected leaders on how to improve homeland security?
That’s the burning question, as the Dallas County Commission cancelled a vote today on the reappointment of Aaron McCarthy, founder of the New Black Panther Party (NBPP), to an advisory committee on the county’s emergency management system. McCarthy has served on the group since last September.
County Judge Clay Jenkins said the area’s interim homeland security director suggested to him suspending or disbanding the advisory group because, so far, it’s been redundant and unproductive — not because of McCarthy’s role on it. That’s the reason Jenkins said he asked County Commissioner John Wiley Price, who had appointed McCarthy, to withdraw the name. Price did so.
Jenkins, who is legally responsible for the county’s homeland security efforts, told Hatewatch that he had no prior clue about McCarthy’s link to the New Black Panther Party, which is unrelated to the original black militant group of a similar name, and didn’t know about the group’s hateful message. Under county bylaws, commissioners select and vet their own committee appointees, county spokeswoman Maria Arita told Hatewatch.
McCarthy goes way back with Price. He produced Price’s radio show more than 20 years ago in the Dallas area and has credited Price, a relatively militant black man, for influencing him politically.
McCarthy, who was known as Aaron Michaels in his radio days, founded the NBPP in 1989 or 1990. At first, the group’s main activity was disrupting Dallas school board meetings to push its goal of more black representation. But soon the NBPP edged into ugly hate territory, even sponsoring rallies that featured the extremely militant white supremacist Tom Metzger, a man who shares the NBPP goal of separation of the races.
Leaders of the NBPP blame Jews for 9/11 and claim that Jewish people received advance warning of the attacks – a false conspiracy theory, but one that is popular in white supremacist, neo-Nazi and some black nationalist circles. The NBPP also fingers Jews as responsible for the slave trade.
“There are no good crackers, and if you find one, kill him before he changes,” Khalid Abdul Muhammad, the NBPP chairman until his death in 2001, once said. The group’s manifesto claims that white men have a secret plan to commit genocide against non-white races. NBPP members believe blacks are naturally superior to people of other races, and they oppose mixed-race marriages.
Aaron McCarthy, the group’s founder, apparently passed a background check to get a concealed weapons permit in Texas two years ago. Before his appointment, “I knew he had passed a background check done by the ATF and FBI,” said Jenkins, the county judge, “and that he was certified as an emergency response team instructor.” McCarthy could not be reached by Hatewatch, and Price did not return a phone call or respond to an E-mail about his role in the appointment.
“The county relies on factual information from the commissioners when these appointments are made. We have nothing in place to do a background check on these appointees,” said Jenkins, who added that the advisory group was created before he became county judge last January. “I support tolerance and inclusiveness, and I’m against inflammatory or hateful speech.”
Members of the original Black Panther Party have severely criticized the NBPP. Bobby Seale, a founding member, called the newer organization “a black racist hate group.” An open letter from the Dr. Huey P. Newton Foundation, run by members of the original Panthers, also condemns the group for being hateful.