An Internet radio host says she was booed and shouted down when she tried to ask a question during a race-related event at the Conservative Video Action Conference last week, and she says video of the event, taken by a documentary filmmaker shows it.
Kim Brown, who hosts a syndicated show on the Voice of Russia Radio Network that airs in Washington, where she lives, as well as in New York, Miami and Chicago, attended the CPAC panel hosted by black conservative activist K. Carl Smith, called “Trump the Race Card: Are You Sick And Tired Of Being Called A Racist When You Know You’re Not One?”
In an interview with theGrio on Wednesday, Brown said the session was held in a small room that quickly filled to capacity, and that Smith “had a book to sell” at the event.
“It was a seminar instructing white conservatives about how to be a ‘Frederick Douglass Republican,’” she said. “And the premise that Carl set forth is that if you’re a Frederick Douglass Republican, then people can’t use the race card against you. People can’t use the class welfare card against you because as he put it, you can’t ‘out-victim’ Frederick Douglass.”
At one point, Smith had a much-reported exchange with a self-described segregationist, Scott Terry, who rose to tell Smith that his approach was leaving out “southern white males.” Terry responded to Smith’s references to Frederick Douglass forgiving his former slave master by asking whether that forgiveness “was for providing him food and shelter all those years.”
Brown says she was stunned by “the lack of condemnation or outrage from the audience” in reaction to Terry, though video of the event shows people snickering, laughing, and in some cases hissing at him. She can be heard on the video saying “what?” — and engaging Terry and a man who came to the event with him, wearing a confederate flag on his shirt, after the comments about slavery.
Some conservative bloggers have insisted that the reaction to Terry has been mischaracterized, and that most in the crowd rebuked him.
Brown disagrees. “No it did not happen,” she says. “He was not shouted down and the excellent point to compare it to was when I stood up to ask a question.”
WATCH footage of the CPAC panel from the upcoming documentary “Black Tea”
Brown acknowledges that after identifying herself as a liberal, she couldn’t have hoped to have the crowd on her side. But she says that once she identified herself as not being a fellow conservative, “I wasn’t even allowed to get the next sentence out,” and that tens of people — dozens of people” berated her. “They were loud enough with their boos and their jeers that they drowned me out.”
TheGrio obtained video from Katy Jordan, who was there to film the seminar for a documentary called Black Tea, by a conservative named Kevin Dotson, which chronicles the experience of black tea party members. The footage shows the reactions to both Terry and Brown.
“People can clearly compare and contrast what they call Mr. Terry being shouted down and the reaction that I received,” Brown says. “Did people have a reaction to what [Terry] had to say? Yes. Did they have more of a vitriolic reaction to me? Yes.”
Smith, who spoke to theGrio by phone Wednesday, disagrees with Brown’s characterization of events.
The 55-year-old conservative activist from Birmingham, Alabama, insists that the crowd reaction against Terry was so loud, he was unable to respond to the segregation proponent’s “racially offensive remarks.”
“The first question, what [Terry] said was, why can’t we be like Booker T. Washington,” Smith said. “And I came back and explained to him how Booker T. Washington was influenced by Frederick Douglass. I was going to explain to him how Douglass did not believe in s3egregation, and he jumped in with the statement about shelter and food. … At that point, the audience started ripping him a new one.”
Smith insisted that the audience members “were appalled” by Smith, and “started letting him know how they felt about it.”
“I don’t need to see the video, I was there,” he said.
Next: Sidestepping a conversation about race?