Meeks Backtracks Even More From Remarks On Minorities, Women

CHICAGO (CBS) — There was another new twist Friday in the flap over state Sen. James Meeks comments about who should and should not get a boost in city contracting.

Earlier this week, Meeks, who is running for mayor, said in a radio interview that only African-American companies should be included in the city’s minority contract set aside program. He said Latinos, Asians and women should be excluded.

On Friday, his campaign spokesman said Meeks didn’t mean to exclude anyone.

Meeks spokesman Bryan Zises told CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine Friday that Meeks meant to say African Americans are lagging far behind minority- and women-owned businesses when it comes to the set-aside program. He said Meeks believes African-American firms need extra help when it came to bidding on city jobs.

But that’s not what Meeks said in an interview on WVON Radio this week.

“I think that the word minorities from our standpoint should mean African Americans,” Meeks said. “I don’t think women, Asians and Hispanics should be able to use that title.”

Latino groups and women’s groups were quick to jump on Meeks for that comment.

On Friday, Ald. Ricardo Munoz, who is supporting Meeks’ mayoral rival, City Clerk Miguel del Valle, said, “There was another politician who said quote me on what I mean, not what I say and it could have worked in the 60’s and 70’s. It doesn’t work today.”

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Craig Dellimore reports.

Another mayoral candidate, Gery Chico – who was endorsed by the Italian American Political Coalition on Friday – said he accepted Meeks’ explanation of what he said, but Chico wasn’t crazy about what he meant either.
“James Meeks’ point is not a small one; we can do better and we must do better,” Chico said. “But the way to get there is not by excluding others. We have to be one city and … move ahead together.”

Meeks’ comments on minority contracting weren’t his only controversial remarks during that WVON interview.

On the same radio program, Meeks had also charged mayoral rival Rahm Emanuel with keeping African-American leaders out of the White House when he was President Barack Obama’s chief of staff.

The race-charged rhetoric seemed to contradict the symbolism of Meeks’ “50 wards in 50 days” campaign and reminded some of his sermons that linked City Hall to slavery and racism, and his use of the N-word when railing about neglecting inner city schools.

“I’m not proud of the fact that I used the N-word, but I am proud of the fact that I have not lost the fire,” Meeks said. “Because our children have to be educated.”

Munoz said, “It’s obvious he doesn’t want to be mayor of the whole city of Chicago and that’s what’s really scary. Because he wants to be that mayor – the mayor running for (only) the African-Amerian vote. And that’s very, very disheartening.”
Meeks was a long shot to begin with, considering his conservative stance on some social issues, such as his recent vote against civil unions for same-sex couples.

But with the backing of Republican leaders and money, he had the potential and maybe the charisma to build an interesting coalition.

But now, given the uproar of his comments on WVON, Meeks suggestion during that same interview that the African-American mayoral candidates unite behind the one with the best chance of winning, seems strangely prophetic.

  • Street Cop.

    Nothing but a street monkie,if some WHITE person had said the same thing he did there would be sreaming how racist that is,these people make me sick.

  • lon

    he meant to say what??? he said what he said and he knew damn well what he meant. i agree street cop-that is exactly wjhat woul dhave happened. he might as well kiss his chances for being mayor out the window becaus ei know for sure i won’ t vote for him

  • Geo. Wallace

    This man is a racist.

  • Tony Orlando

    Tie me a ribbon on and old oak tree.

  • streamwoodbill

    Here is another idiot! First he alianates the Gay community then has the gall to visit the neighborhood. Then he inults Hispanice, Asians and Women! Then again has the gall to try to apologize. WHAT WE ARE SEEING HERE IS HIS TRUE COLORS! He is a racist and just can’t help it. This man of the cloth, so to speak, is a hypocrate and the more he talks and stays in the race, the more he solidifies his bigoted self. Just go away Meeks and continue to lead your flock as a racist. Your behavior is repugnant!

  • streamwoodbill

    …and we didn’t mis-understand what you have been saying. Your words are your words…it is what it is.

  • Geo. Wallace

    Just read this artiicle and read the words that came out of this mouth if this jerkoff isn;t a racist I don’t what,but if it was a White running for mayor and said the exact words the blacks along with Meeks would want a Federal investigation,and probably would get it from the two clowns Obama and Holder.

  • dena

    First, I do not feel that a Reverend qualifies for any political office. Secondly, It is clear that this Reverend only wants to work for whats best for the black community. Even though Chicago is considered the city of neighborhoods. He tried to back track and erase some of his statement that pretty much all of Chicago has heard. What struck me the most was when he commented finally that women were okay so long as they were black, Latino or perhaps even Polish…..
    As most know, Polish are generally white. So the interpretation that I and many others have taken from Rev. Meeks is this….. He is okay with anyone so long as they are not White American Men and White American women. This man is an embarrassment to all Americans. This so called man of God, is as Racist as they come. He should withdraw and allow the fine men and women of all races show him what it means to be American. Reverend Meeks will for ever be known as the Racist black man of God. aka Political suicide.

  • Meeks Under Pressure To Leave Mayoral Race « CBS Chicago – Breaking News, Sports, Weather, Traffic, and the Best of Chicago

    […] A source familiar with the talks says if any of the three is to drop out, it is likely to be Meeks. He stumbled last week with a comment that only African-Americans should qualify for contracts set as… […]

blog comments powered by Disqus
Daily Weather Reports Delivered To You!SIGN UP NOW: Get daily weather reports every morning from meteorologist Steve Baskerville!
CBS Sports Radio RoundupGet your latest sports talk from across the country.

Listen Live