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by Steve Young

Steve Young columns

Tell me you wouldn't cross over to the side of the street if you saw Tavis Smiley walking toward you at night.

Sure, a lot of Republican presidential candidates missed the Republican minority issue debate on PBS. But saying that it was some sort of putdown of people of color would be like saying that Bill O'Reilly being surprized that a Black restaurant, um, didn't "market to their clientele" the way he expected, was somehow racist.

I, for one, think of neither as racist.

Ignorant, yes. Racist, no.

Racist would be like hauling Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson on to your show to demonstrate how unracist you are -- and then proceeding to lecture them on the problems Blacks have in America. Next to "more fathers in the house," apparently the African-American fix would be for Jackson to join Bill in condemning MediaMatters.

Perhaps, Bill was right and those who chose not to appear at the debate -- New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former Sen. Fred Thompson, Arizona Sen. John McCain and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney -- are just afraid of Blacks. But while host Tavis Smiley could have been packing, he really does appear to be one of those nice Blacks. Pretty articulate, too.

You begin to wonder why any African-American other than Alan Keyes (who for some reason materialized on the candidates' stage) would vote for those who "had a scheduling conflict."

If I were cynical, I might say that the reason those Republican candidates didn't appear at the debate was because the primary process is where a candidate plays to his base to get nominated...and their base would rather their favorite not kow-tow to them there coloreds.

And that, my friends, is even scarier than dinner at Sylvia's.

Steve Young is author of "Great Failures of the Extremely Successful" and his weekly Sunday column appears every Sunday just to the left of Bill O'Reilly's in the L.A. Daily News

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Albion Monitor   September 27, 2007   (

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