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Nebraska educator may not survive racist post

Civil rights advocates and elected officials, including the governor, are calling for Pat McPherson's resignation


Don Terry
January 31, 2015 2:15AM (UTC)
This article was originally published by The Southern Poverty Law Center.

The Southern Poverty Law Center In too many corners of the country, calling President Obama racially charged names has become a kind of party game.

In Nebraska, partygoers are learning the game might not be so much fun anymore.

A long list of educators, civil rights advocates and elected officials, including the Republican governor, are calling for the resignation of Nebraska State Board of Education member and GOP veteran Pat McPherson after his conservative blog described the president as a “half-breed.”

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“It is clear that this controversy will hinder the State Board of Education from accomplishing its goals,” Gov. Pete Ricketts said in a statement. “Pat should tender his resignation and allow the board to get back to work on its goals of improving achievement outcomes for all students.”

But for more than a week, McPherson, a former Republican Party county chairman, has stubbornly “rebuffed calls for his resignation,” according to NebraskaWatchdog.org, not only from the governor, but also from “two U.S. senators, two congressmen, the NAACP, the state teachers union, the Omaha school board,” Omaha city council members and “his colleagues on the State Board of Education.”

“Most are Republicans,” the Watchdog added, “as is McPherson.”

In Nebraska these days, the question is: Who doesn’t want him gone?

Today, the Omaha City Council is expected to vote on a formal but nonbinding resolution demanding McPherson step down immediately. On Wednesday, the State Board of Education, according to the Omaha World-Heraldis scheduled to discuss the issue at what could be a crowded meeting filled “with passionate critics” of McPherson, who was elected just last November.

In a written statement, McPherson refused to resign, disavowed “the racist comment,” and denied writing the post, which appeared about two weeks ago on the blog he founded and co-edits, Objective Conservative.

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“I do not intend to resign,” he said in the statement. “Doing so would be a tacit admission of the false accusations being made that I am a racist. I am not.”

He “disavowed the racist comment made on the blog” and said his resignation would “reward the partisan political efforts of the Nebraska Democratic Party.”

McPherson said he did not write the post and had not even seen it before it went up. “I certainly don’t condone or accept what was written,” he told the Journal Star“They do not reflect my views.” He said there are several regular contributors to the site but he declined to name them.

McPherson has taken the blog down.

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But the Internet is forever and reporters began searching the Web for the blog’s past and discovered “a long line of inflammatory posts,” Nebraska Watchdog said, including at least five posts, dating back to 2011, in which the president was called a “half-breed.” McPherson told the World-Herald that he did not author any of the posts, blaming them on a contributor with access to the blog.

The “half-breed” comment that has cost McPherson so much grief comes in a rant about Obama’s proposal for free tuition at two-year community colleges, his “nanny-state promise for everyone.”

The post begins, “Now our great Black Leader (actually, if he were a Republican the liberals would call him what he is – a half-breed) in Washington wants to give everyone a free community education.”

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Nancy Fulton, the president of the Nebraska State Education Association, which represents 28,000 teachers, told the Journal Star that she was “appalled that a State Board of Education member hosts a blog that espouses racist ideals.”

“This is not the type of person we want serving in a leadership position at any level,” Fulton added, “much less on the State Board of Education.”


Don Terry

MORE FROM Don Terry

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Barack Nebraska Racism Southern Poverty Law Center State Board Of Education




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