Barbara Lee replies to West’s ‘plantation’ charge

Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, had some choice words today for a congressman who named her among the black community’s “perceived leaders” who actually are keeping black voters on a “21st-century plantation.”

Rep. Allen West, R-Fla., made the comments Monday on Fox News. Per USA Today:

West told Fox News that black Democrats are feeling “disregarded” and “disrespected.” He is the only black Republican in the CBC (Congressional Black Caucus).

“I’m here as the modern-day Harriet Tubman to kind of lead people on the Underground Railroad away from that plantation into a sense of sensibility,” West said on Bill O’Reilly’s show.

He specifically mentioned Waters, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., calling them “perceived leaders” in the black community. Lee and Waters are both former chairwomen of the caucus.

Our blogs are having embedding problems at the moment, but you can see the full video here.

Lee’s office gave me her statement a short while ago.

“Congressman West’s comments are absurd on their face and are simply another in a long stream of incendiary comments designed to fan the flames of the extreme right, while they continue to do nothing to create jobs and address the tremendous disparities that we face in this nation,” she said.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • RR, Senile Columnist

    Barbara Speaks For Me didn’t reply to Rep. West. She merely mouthed the same old line she’s used since she entered politics. In good times as well as bad, BSFM demands equal outcomes regardless of ability. To each according to my wishes, from each according to my priorities—Chairman Lee

  • John W

    Barbara Lee was interviewed on KGO today. When asked, she confirmed that Allen West’s unemployed brother had sought her out about her job fair, at Allen West’s recommendation. Guess that makes her his brother’s keeper. As Elwood might say, that’s an “ironic juxtaposition.”

  • Elwood

    How you gonna keep ’em down on the farm,

    After they’ve seen Bobbie Lee?

  • Elwood


    “Va. executes man who raped, killed elderly widow”


    It can and should be done. About one a week would solve the San Quentin overcrowding problem.

  • RR, Senile Columnist

    LA’s Maxine Waters, a dear colleague of Dr Lee and a deep thinker in her own right, says the Majority in the House is blocking job-creation legislation. Prof. Waters added for good measure: “The tea party can go straight to hell!”

  • Black is Beautiful

    West is right, and Lee does nothing to address the factual basis of his assertions. So let’s get to the facts about “Black America”. All of the following percentages are more than double for blacks compared to what they are for whites:
    – Youth unemployment rate (under 25)
    – Percent of children born out of wedlock
    – Percent of adults on food stamps
    – Percent of adults on welfare
    – Percent of children needing reduced-rate lunches at school

    The list goes on and on…

    For nearly a half-century now the government and Democrats ahve supposedly been helping black America. Do these results show that this is happening?

    The only black people benefitting from these programs are the so-called leaders who fatten their pockets with our tax money while the average black person’s lot in life is stagnant to down.

    And don’t forget that when Civil Rights legislation came before Congress nearly 50 years ago, it was DEMOCRATS who voted against it, not Republicans.

    With more blacks in Congress like West, you would be getting the hand up that you deserve, not the handout that Lee, Waters, and their ilk want to continue to spoon-feed you.

    How many more decades of this is it going to take?