Mixed-race families from across Alabama rallied outside the state capitol recently to demand $100,000 in cash — or at least an apology — from a state representative.
Earlier this month, Alvin Holmes, who has represented the Montgomery-area 78th District for 39 years, bet a substantial purse on his claim that Alabama whites were incapable of tolerating black children.
“I will bring you $100,000 cash tomorrow if you show me a whole bunch of whites that adopted blacks in Alabama,” Holmes said. “I will go down there and mortgage my house and get it in cash in $20 bills and bring it to you in a little briefcase.”
The lawmaker wagered the large sum during a speech in which he stated that “99 percent” of Republicans in the Yellowhammer State would order their daughters to get abortions if they were impregnated by black men.
Holmes has a long history of offensive racial comments. He has accused Republican Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina of voting only as “white folks” tell him to vote and called Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas an “Uncle Tom.”
Last week, several families called on Holmes to pay up. Parents and children from mixed-race families gathered in Montgomery. Although the official purpose of the rally was to get Holmes to apologize, some members of mixed-race families want to hold the politician to his bet.
“I would like for him to man up — he’s made the statement, he needs to put his money where his mouth is,” parent Beverly Owings told WBMA-LD. Owings is the mother of an adopted 13-year-old black daughter.
Others in attendance expressed disbelief and disappointment in Holmes’s comments, saying they are anachronistic in contemporary Alabama.
In addition to welshing on his lost bet, Holmes refuses to apologize for his racist comments. “What do you want me to apologize for?” the skinflint lawmaker told WAKA.
Holmes said he stood by his comments, adding that “a majority” of Alabamians would have a “conniption fit” if their daughters had children with black men or adopted minority children.
Holmes frequently demonstrates an obsession with race and sexuality. Earlier this year, during debate on a land surveying bill, he randomly lashed out against Thomas for marrying a white woman.
Rep. Alvin Holmes, D-Montgomery, just said on House floor that he doesn't like Clarence Thomas because "he's married to a white woman."
— Mary Sell (@MarySellQuillen) February 11, 2014
Holmes said he doesn't like Clarence Thomas because Thomas is married to a white woman. This in discussion on a bill about land surveying.
— Tim Lockette (@TLockette_Star) February 11, 2014
The lawmaker would later somewhat qualified his comments, explaining that unnamed others may dislike Thomas for his interracial marriage. Holmes added that he still considers the justice an “Uncle Thomas” for his conservative leanings. (Holmes also admitted he had invented a claim that Thomas previously worked as a surveyor in order to comply with chamber rules to keep remarks on topic.)
Despite his history of making such comments, parents were shocked by what Holmes said about mixed-race adoptions.
“I just can’t believe somebody in 2014 could say the things that Representative Holmes has said,” said resident Thomas Casson, who has adopted four black or bi-racial children. “It’s just sad.”
— Andrew Johnson is an editorial associate at National Review Online.