Niger Innis: Cliven Bundy 'Clumsily' Stated an Important Point

Friday, 25 Apr 2014 07:19 PM

By Joe Battaglia

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After a lengthy conversation, embattled Nevada cattle rancher Cliven Bundy finally understood the racist tone of his remarks and apologized privately, according to Niger Innis, the national spokesman for the Congress of Racial Equality.

Bundy brought nationwide attention and support for his battle with the federal government over grazing rights when he faced down armed agents from the Bureau of Land Management as they seized several hundred of his cattle.

Many of those who came to the support of the 67-year-old fled for cover when The New York Times quoted him as saying he was "wondering" if blacks are better off now than they were under slavery.

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Innis, who is running for Congress in Nevada, told J.D. Hayworth on "America's Forum" on Newsmax TV that he spoke with Bundy for about an hour on Thursday and finally got him to realize the repugnant nature of his comments.

"We talked for about an hour, and it was a good give and take," Innis said. "At first, Cliven kind of stood his ground and said, 'I said what I said, and I stand by it.' I communicated to him, and this is when he really got it.

"I said, 'Cliven, the freedom of choice, the freedom to use our lands, the people of Nevada to use our land for economic development and so on and so forth against the federal government is, that freedom that you're fighting for, is the freedom that was denied to millions of African Americans. That was the greatest sin of slavery is that it denied millions of African Americans of their ability to pursue happiness.' When I said that it was almost like a light bulb went on, he apologized to me."

Story continues below video.



Innis said he does not believe Bundy to be inherently racist but said that he "clumsily" used a bad metaphor to try and make an important point.

"What would've been better is if Cliven had said, 'Look, there are a number of blacks and Latinos and poor whites now that are involved in a real slavery, which is the slavery of government dependence,'" Innis said. "I'm up here in Tonopah, which is part of my district, and I was just talking with a local businesswoman who pointed across the street and talked to me about low-income housing or free government-subsidized housing and how the people there do not work because they don't have to.

"They may not even know that they are slaves, but there is in fact a neoslavery that exists. When you take out individual initiative, individual responsibility, and the hope that every individual is born with, to better their lives, to climb the economic ladder, to pursue happiness, that is in fact a neoslavery."

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