“White people, wake up before it is too late. Do you want Negroes working beside you, your wife and your daughters, in your mills and factories? Frank Graham favors mingling of the races.”

Saturday, July 5th, 2008

Jesse Helms, unrepentant bigot.

No mourning here.

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51 Responses to ““White people, wake up before it is too late. Do you want Negroes working beside you, your wife and your daughters, in your mills and factories? Frank Graham favors mingling of the races.””

  1. #1 |  InFrequently Asked Questions | 

    Jesse Helms Dies…

    Former Senator Jesse Helms is dead at 86….

  2. #2 |  Cliff | 

    Way to get down on his level, Radley.

  3. #3 |  Kieffer | 

    Ding. Dong.

  4. #4 |  tim | 

    Black man to be elected president over Jesse Helms dead body. News at 11.

  5. #5 |  Nando | 

    He said he’d rather die before seeing America elect a Black President. I think he may have gotten what he wished for.

  6. #6 |  Peter | 

    “Way to get down on his level, Radley.” Helms hated people because they were black, or gay, or different from him. I can’t speak for Radley, but my own hate for Helms is based on his being a knuckledragging simple bigot. I don’t see the two things on the same level.

    Thanks for this, Radley. Seeing him described as “passionate but controversial” has turned my stomach, so it’s nice to see someone call it like it is.

  7. #7 |  jwh | 

    I hope you plan on giving Robert Byrd equal treatment at the appropriate time…….

  8. #8 |  Swimmy | 

    Cliff, I don’t think speaking (rightly) ill of the dead is on the same level as a lifelong attempt to keep racism established in the law. Saying bad things about bad people, no matter the social norms concerning the timing, doesn’t compare to making it your life’s work to do bad things to good people.

    I think it’s a shame that he didn’t get to live to see Obama elected. I can only take solace that there are many more people like him who will, even if they weren’t as powerful.

  9. #9 |  ClubMedSux | 

    Looks like MC Hawking finally got his wish:


  10. #10 |  Lloyd | 

    To those who are upset with Radley’s take on Helms’ death, check this out:


  11. #11 |  Harvey | 

    It would take a lot more work on Mr. Balko’s part to get down to Helms’s level. Kind of what I’m going to work down to right now.

    The guy was an absolute scumbag and speaking as a life-long Southerner, a total embarassment and stereotypical of what a lot of the country still thinks of the South and quite honestly, they’re right.

    The idea that this guy lasted as long as he did in politics is mind-boggling. Good riddance.

  12. #12 |  Loren | 

    Hmmm. FAIR makes a rather convenient factual error in citing that title quote:

    “As an aide to the 1950 Senate campaign of North Carolina Republican candidate Willis Smith,”

    Willis Smith was a Democrat, and the 1950 Senate campaign in question was where Graham and Smith were opponents in the Democratic primary race.

    It doesn’t terribly surprise me that FAIR would make this kind of mistake; but it *does* surprise me that they haven’t bothered to add a correction at any point in the last 7 years.

  13. #13 |  David Nieporent | 

    I hold no particular brief for Helm, who was often nutty and (yes) bigoted, but quoting a site like FAIR for it is hardly the way to show it. Their evidence that he’s an “unrepentant” bigot is that in 1950, he said racist things (*), and that 40 years later in a campaign, he criticized racial preferences. But criticizing racial discrimination hardly shows that he didn’t “repent” from his earlier racist ways.

    (*) Actually, it says that he “reportedly helped create” the ads, but we’ll let that bit of slipperiness pass.

  14. #14 |  David Nieporent | 

    And by “Helm,” I meant Helms. Typo.

  15. #15 |  David Nieporent | 

    Just to clarify the above post, I don’t mean to sound like I’m saying that Helms wasn’t a racist, even in his later days. I’m saying that we shouldn’t let FAIR try to equate opposition to so-called “affirmative action” and racism.

  16. #16 |  Les | 

    David, he might have reconsidered his bigotry towards non-whites, but his bigotry towards homosexuals was as strong as ever in his later years. And as a fundamentalist Christian, he was bigoted against every non-Christian. So, I think “unrepentant bigot” is an accurate description.

  17. #17 |  Les | 

    I’m saying that we shouldn’t let FAIR try to equate opposition to so-called “affirmative action” and racism.

    This is a good point. In this thoughtful essay:


    Jonathan Rauch writes:

    If conservatives hope to defeat racial preferences, they will need to argue that ending them will benefit everybody. But Helms is incapable of seeing the world that way. This is no mere matter of political “style,” as Barnes put it. It is a matter of worldview, philosophy, temperament— in a word, everything. The difference between Reagan and Helms is the difference between a conservatism of hope and a conservatism of resentment.

  18. #18 |  JJH2 | 


    Some choice examples of Helms’ behavior that you must have missed on your first read through:

    “…in 1993 sang “Dixie” in an elevator to Carol Moseley-Braun, the first African-American woman elected to the Senate, bragging, “I’m going to make her cry. I’m going to sing Dixie until she cries.” (Chicago Sun-Times, 8/5/93)”

    “In columns, commentaries and pronouncements from the Senate floor, Helms sowed hatred and called names: The University of North Carolina was “the University of Negroes and Communists.” (Capital Times, 11/22/94) Black civil rights activists were “Communists and sex perverts.” (Copley News Service, 8/23/01) ”

    Helms also pointedly refused attend a joint Congressional session at which Nelson Mandela addressed both Houses, and despite being one of the co-authors of an extremely harsh piece of sanctions legislation against Cuba, constantly spoke out in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee against any kind of government action against South Africa’s apartheid regime.

    Plenty of evidence to go around, even discounting the political ad.

  19. #19 |  adam | 

    Christopher Hitchens said when Jerry Falwell died, “I only wish there was a hell so he could go there.” This sums up my feelings for Helms. If there is a God, I hope he’s black.

  20. #20 |  ZappaCrappa | 

    Gee Cliff…I guess we should ACT like we are remorseful that he has died….hold on while I try to drum up a few fake tears of sorrowful remorse, sense of loss, and feelings of compassion and understanding yet regret over what might have been if only he hadn’t passed so young (heh heh…made myself chuckle with the last one)…………………………………………………………… hmmmmm…I think my tear ducts must be broken. I’ll shed just as many tears when Jesse Jackson finally passes into that great racist collection plate in the sky…..

  21. #21 |  Dave Hummels | 

    The success of Jesse “state’s rights (for whites)” Helms is a reminder of how successful one can be if they exploit the old, irrational fear of black sexuality and mix in equal measures of bible-thumping, xenephobia (der takin’ r jobs!!!) and homophobia. Nah nah nah nah, nah nah nah nah, hey hey hey, good bye!!!

  22. #22 |  Wiseowl | 

    Jesse Helmes was a great man and a better Senator than we will ever see again.

    Yes, his idea on racism were not right and he corrected them in Congress.

    His Democratic associate, Mr. Bryd, however, put on a white hood, and may have massacred blacks in the South…who really knows?

    True to the Anti-American Democratic Party bylaws, did the Party
    reprimand Mr. Byrd and run him out of office?

    No they fight to keep their Criminal elements in office…ie, Mr Jefferson, who was found with $90,000 in bribe money in his fridge,
    and Teddy Kennedy, the lifelong drunk who was responsible for the death of a beautiful young twenty something intern, Mary Joe

    ….Then there are the worlds biggest hypocrytes, the Billary Clintons…who when the rubber hit the road, turned against the
    very Black Race that put them in office in the first place.

    …When HILLARY pointed her finger in his face and said,
    “SHAME ON YOU BORAK OBAMA!”, a Black man running against her,
    where was the outrage from America for her racist action.

    Whoever said the Democrats just re-elect their Criminals they were
    so right!

    So don’t complain about a great Statesman like Jesse Helmes who
    tried all his life to keep America out of the sewer, uphold her Dignity, change his views when shown a better way, but hold
    fast on what he really believed in.

    You are in a better place now Jesse…

    …it is we Americans who remember America before the 1964 Democratic, so called Civil Rights Bill, signed by Democrat Lydon
    Johnson, that stripped Americans of their True Civil rights and started America on it’s downward ride into the Sewer of depravity.

  23. #23 |  Wiseowl | 








  24. #24 |  Noggin | 

    Wiseowl… wow… I wish the fcc was dead I also wish you some happiness in your obviously sad life.

  25. #25 |  Dave Hummels | 

    Wiseowl, I’m just wondering if you were serious. I hope not.

  26. #26 |  James | 

    Of Falwell, Hitchens also said, “if you gave him an enema, you could bury him in a matchbook.”

    Hitchens rules.

  27. #27 |  Psion | 

    When Mrs. Psion told me Helms had died, my unchecked reply was, “It’s about time.”

    That said, I hate this tendency people have to reduce an entire human life to one quality, and out of spite or vitriol refuse to acknowledge any possibility there was more than that. A racist. Jesse Helms was a racist. He wasn’t a human being, an old man who was young once, or even a senator. He was a racist. A bigot. In all his years in politics, even, the only thing he did was advanced bigoted agendas. He had no family. No one called him “dad”. No one called him “grampa”. His beginning and end is summed up in either “bigot” or “racist”.

    We do it a lot, too. Ryan Frederick is just a “cop killer” to some. And that’s all we need to dismiss him. Christ, people, do you really need to be held by the hand on this and led to the notion that people are a lot more complicated than a one-word description allows?

    I really don’t know much about him, just that his name was associated with enough things I read about in the papers that he came to symbolize the things I hated in Washington. After looking at this reduction to absurdity drivel coming from people here I normally respect, I decided to add a little depth to my understand of the man … a simple little Wiki search to see if there was maybe a little more there than just a bigot who hated blacks and gays. “Charles, their third son, was a nine-year-old orphan with cerebral palsy when he was adopted by the Helmses. They decided to adopt him after reading in a newspaper that he wanted a mother and father for Christmas. They had seven grandchildren and one great-grandchild.”

    No, that doesn’t excuse him of his other sins, it just adds nuance to the life that just passed. A life that’s the sum of not just bigotry. Think about this every time you try to pigeon-hole a whole life.

  28. #28 |  C. Cope | 

    Personaly, I could care less whether a black man, red man, yellow man, brown man … or even a white man is elected as the next president. Unfortunately, the two idiots that most idiots are going to vote for, have no more respect for the constitution than the idiot that is now president. And it seems that idiots going to the ballot box voting for either one of the two idiots don’t give a damn about the constitution either. That is because most Americans are … well … idiots.

    I give America … less than 8 years to finally fulfill its self made destruction … because of idiots.

    If any of you really believe that that “black man” has any more respect for the constitution than that “white man” … then you are idiots too.

    And I am going to sit back relaxed and comfortable drinking some nice cold ice tea watching the continued circus while you Obama and McCain lovers eat your vote. Just like you all do every 4 years.

  29. #29 |  The Brown Acid | 

    Really Psion, you’re getting me all misty.

    On an unrelated note, I really have to piss. Anyone know where Helms is buried?

  30. #30 |  Jason | 

    This thread is the funniest thing I’ve read in a long time.

    I side with Christopher Hitchens. (The enema thing is just too funny) Mr. Psions is right. Wiseowl is way funnier than George Carlin ever dreamed of being.

    If I had known the man personally and if this stuff about his adopted son is true I’d be more nuanced but in the end, I’m going with my gut….

    Good riddance.

    A schmuck with no power, no voice and no outlet is far less damaging than someone with a seat in the senate. What a waste of an opportunity to do some good (ie – stop meddling in Americans’ lives).

  31. #31 |  Edintally | 

    Psion, I can throw in some pity. Seems his father was a hardcore racist so it doesn’t look like he was given a fair start. He did however have time to change.

    So pity for a life filled with delusion and hate.

  32. #32 |  samsam | 

    In the late 1960s Jesse Helms did a commentary segment on the channel 5 local news every night (Raleigh, NC). We had a TV in the dining room and my Dad liked to watch the news while he ate. Every night during dinner we got a dose of Mr Helms. Fortunately, I was too young to be greatly influenced, except I grew to hate having a TV on if I was doing anything other than concentrating on the TV.

  33. #33 |  Linda Morgan | 

    Hey, samsam, do you remember that other WRAL staple of the 1960s, Uncle Paul?

    Thanks to their glasses, I guess, I had the pre-senatorial, ViewPoint-dispensing Jesse Helms vaguely confused with that kiddie show host throughout my childhood. I’ve learned over the years that I was by no means the only child of the 60s who failed to distinguish between the two.

    Actually, come ’72, that was probably the case with many of the voters.

  34. #34 |  André Kenji | 

    And let´s not forget Helms-Burton, that would strengthen the terrible and ridiculous embargo against Cuba and American customers.

  35. #35 |  samsam | 

    My recollection of Uncle Paul is very vague. In 1972 I was 12 and I do remember slapping a “Give ’em Helms, Jesse!” bumpersticker across my notebook. I didn’t know a blessed thing about politics, I just thought the slogan was faintly naughty. Its embarrassing to think about it now.

  36. #36 |  Big Chief | 

    I’m sorry, have I accidently landed in the Daily Kos?

    I’m proud to say I voted for Jesse once. He was always a lightning rod for the left and always willing to make outrageous statements in support of conservatism. He was also very willing to play hardball politics at a time when the liberals were always accusing conservatives of wanting to throw the elderly on the street and starve children. He was also willing to go toe-to-toe with race-baiters like Jackson and Sharpton. I certainly never bought into his entire agenda, but he was one of the most consistent and outspoken opponents of the government growth and in favor of states rights. He was nicknamed “Senator No” for a reason.

    For all his shortcomings, as a libertarian I would still rather see Jesse Helms in the Senate than 90% of the people who are in there now.

  37. #37 |  Tom | 


    Have you ever lived in a urban black community and had to put up with their nonsense? White flight is real because at the end of the day people know that Helms was more or less right. True there are many good black people out there. But in the ghetto most are difficult to get along with.

  38. #38 |  Les | 

    I’m sorry, have I accidently landed in the Daily Kos?

    No, no, at Daily Kos, they didn’t like Jesse because he was a Republican. Here, we don’t like him because he was bigot. Also, he was all for big government when it came to the War on Drugs and military spending, like most Republicans.

    Just because he made some silly people mad is no reason to admire the man. An asshole who’s an asshole to some assholes is still an asshole.

  39. #39 |  C. Cope | 

    Also, he was all for big government when it came to the War on Drugs and military spending, like most Republicans. – Les | July 6th, 2008 at 6:54 pm

    LMAO! Like most republicans? Jeez Les, where have you had your head lately? The dumbocrats finally got congress … and so I have to ask you … HAS ANYTHING CHANGED?!

    Look, there is no difference between the dumbocrats and repukocrats other than using different maps to the destination that they are both taking us.

    Which of the four in your last sentence do you have your head up Les?

  40. #40 |  Les | 

    C. Cope, where did I say the Democrats (DUMB-ocrats! Hilarious!) were different or didn’t support the War on Drugs or a huge military budget? Nowhere, that’s where. Where’s YOUR head?

    I loathe the Democratic party for all of the same reasons most folks here do. But they’re the party of BIG government. We EXPECT them to want a more powerful government which interferes in its citizens’ lives.

    The Republicans claim to be for smaller government, which makes them hypocritical liars on top of everything else the Democrats are. When someone praises a Republican for wanting smaller government or saying they’re better than those “tax and spend” Democrats, I think it’s important to point out that they want big government, too.

  41. #41 |  No Straw Men : links for 2008-07-07 | 

    […] Jesse Helms, Unrepentant Bigot – Radley Balko, The Agitator No mourning here. (tags: Jesse_Helms) […]

  42. #42 |  Carter | 

    That Helms gets no credit for what he achieved in opposition to Communism, the expansion of government programs, tax increases, affirmative action and the ceding of American sovereignty to transnational organizations perfectly illustrates how the Reasonoid libertarians prefer moral posturing to actually accomplishing anything.

    I’m not sure what to make of linking to FAIR. They are (of course upset by the so-called “white hands ad”, which stated, “You needed that job…but they had to give it to a minority.” But that’s what ‘affirmative action’ does. I can see how that statement would be upsetting to those for racial preferences, but you would think those who claim to oppose racial preferences would welcome the honesty of it.

    They were outraged by Helms saying:

    “Crime rates and irresponsibility among Negroes are a fact of life which must be faced.”

    Blacks do commit crimes at much higher rates than other races. Does Balky deny this is a fact, or does he object to facing facts?

    FAIR also whines:

    “Helms remonstrated ten female members of the House of Representatives to “act like ladies” when they interrupted a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing to demand support of a U.N. treaty against gender discrimination, and subsequently had them removed from the hearing by Capitol police.”

    What is the libertarian objection to that? Is it the opposition to the treaty, or Helms demanding good manners?

  43. #43 |  John C. Jackson | 

    I see this brought out the racial collectivists and partisan Republicans who think that anyone who opposes racism or doesn’t agree with them on certain issues must be a ” PC liberal Democrat.”

    uh huh

    I am not a conservative Republican. I was in my younger years before naturally evolving into a libertarian. If I were a conservative Republican, I too would have an issue with people who are most known as racial bigots being praised as the public face of my politics. I guess it would be OK if a minority people who agree with my politics just happened to have views I find repugnant. However, it’s interesting that every dead Republican ( except Reagan, imo) in recent memory who is held up as an example of ‘Mr. Conservatism” is a white separatist/racial collectivist.

    Obviously conservatism is being equated with racism, and “conservative” Republicans choose to celebrate this. I guess many Republicans WANT to be seen as racists and want conservatism defined that way. I seem to remember some conservatives celebrating guys like Sam Francis as “real conservatives” who were “courageous” because to them real conservatism REQUIRED racism and anyone who did not embrace it was somehow a weak PC liberal.

    I’m not a ” PC” anything, but I think racial collectivism is wrong, stupid, and tends to be embraced by idiots who tend to be ugly in multiple ways.

    Bob barr has praised Helms and further alienated a lot of libertarians.

  44. #44 |  pierre | 

    Wiseowl you should go kill yourself. Loser Idiot.

  45. #45 |  John C. Jackson | 


    Too easy.
    The “white hands” was less about ACTUAL effects of affirmative-action and more about racial pandering of sending the message that ” if you elect this black guy, he’s going to give your jobs to black people. Re-elect this ugly white guy and I’ll keep your white jobs with whites.”

    In many places, through “good ole boy” networks/policy, unions, and other reasons there has always been affirmative action for WHITES and the understanding that white people will take care of other white people with marginal skills and intelligence. Why are so called conservatives OK when white people take advantage of racial preferences but not other races? It’s very clear to me.

    As far as crime rates by race. Ok, so?
    For one thing, there are certainly discrepancies in policing of different races. Even if we ignore that and non violent crimes, and come to the conclusion that a certain race is more likely to commit a violent crime , what is the point?

    Does that mean we use government force to discriminate against INDIVIDUALS who happen to share some characteristic with a group of people who statistics show are more likely to commit crime?

    Is that the conservative position?

    The other thing I never understood about conservative racists is that their preferred policies would logically make things WORSE. If you think, for example, that blacks are less educated and more likely to commit crime- how would using state force to deny them educational and occupational opportunities make that any better? It seems to me that if you are a bigot and you target certain groups of people to basically treat like shit, they are going to push back and all hell will break lose. And you will DESERVE it.

  46. #46 |  Les | 

    Blacks do commit crimes at much higher rates than other races. Does Balky deny this is a fact, or does he object to facing facts?

    Whites use drugs at the same rate as blacks, but blacks are arrested and imprisoned at higher rates than whites for drug use. That’s a fact. Helms supported the drug laws that have increased crime rates all over the country. That’s a fact. Those are facts that matter, facts the government can do something to change.

  47. #47 |  Paleolib | 

    The State has advanced by leaps and bounds, running rough-shod over the rights of localities, corporations, and private businesses in the name of racial equality. Starting with Lincoln, and continuing to FDR and LBJ, it should be obvious that any real libertarian movement would recognize this as the source of much of our woes. So long as we accept the ridiculous idea that the races have equal talents and equal abilities, we will continue to see racial disparities as a great evil. It’s a short leap from saying something is a great equal to saying that the state should do something about it. Libertarians once recognized that the most important rights derived from the right to earn a living, associate with people of one’s choosing, and, equally important, not associate with people whom one finds uncouth, criminally minded, or just unpleasant. Small government conservatism became a viable political movement not just because people didn’t want to pay taxes–the rich are often quite content to–but because productive people were sick of being dragooned into helping ungrateful and vicious “welfare queens” live off the sweat of our brows.

    So long as libertarians in DC worry about impressing liberals and proving their progressive bona fides, not only will they destroy the small libertarian voice in public life–as they nearly did in their self-congratulatory hate fest against Ron Paul–but they will also not win new adherents. Small government types tend to be productive people sick of having strange, unproductive criminals, foreigners, and drug addicts taking root in their neighborhoods. Real libertarians should support viale localism, states rights, restrictive covenants, and all the other things that were taken for granted in yesteryear. Instead, the DC crowd seems to take pleasure in fighting a two front war, which, needless to say, is not much of a political strategy. Now that Obama won’t even stick to his anti-war pledge, what has this stupidity wrought?

  48. #48 |  C. Cope | 

    Also, he was all for big government when it came to the War on Drugs and military spending, like most Republicans. – Les | July 6th, 2008 at 6:54 pm

    C. Cope, where did I say the Democrats (DUMB-ocrats! Hilarious!) were different or didn’t support the War on Drugs or a huge military budget? Nowhere, that’s where. Where’s YOUR head? – Les | July 6th, 2008 at 10:46 pm

    Well Les, you said like MOST republicans. Not, MOST congresscritters. Not, MOST republicans and democrats. Your silence seemed MOST deafening as in … unlike MOST democrats.

    Sooooo … you were asking me where my head was. Easy … on top of my neck and 6′ 3″ above the bottom of my feet standing straight.

  49. #49 |  Les | 

    Well, C. (you big fella!), Helms was a Republican. And like I said, people don’t need to be reminded that Democrats want big government. On the other hand, if more folks who want small government realized that the Republicans are not allies in that cause, and voted accordingly, perhaps the Republicans would actually start to work to shrink the size and scope of the government. Unfortunately, for many Republicans, all that’s required to be a praiseworthy Republican is that you aren’t a Democrat and you make liberals angry.

  50. #50 |  Les | 

    And I’ll just add, so we don’t have any more misunderstandings, that for many Democrats, all that’s required to be a praiseworthy Democrat is that you aren’t a Republican and you make conservatives angry. Loyalists in both parties are what make those parties as foul as they are.

  51. #51 |  Jake Witmer | 

    Helms was a turd that finally dropped off …but left a stink-and-linger residue behind him in the form of the noxious legislation he supported, as well as his long life full of overtly expressed bigotry. I’m with Hitchens and Balko on this one. Helms should be remembered, but only as a bad example of what to avoid while in the polling place. Beyond that, he has more value as fertilizer than as human being. The negatives he did in office more than canceled any private goodness in his life. We’re well rid of the sumbitch. Zaijian Jesse!