White Student Union Defends Slavery, Segregation at CPAC Conference
Members of a White Student Union at Towson University are under fire after defending the practices of slavery and segregation at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Friday.
During a presentation on minority inclusion within the GOP called “Trump The Race Card” by K. Carl Smith of the Frederick Douglass Republicans, Smith read out a letter from a slave who had forgiven his former owner. Scott Terry, a member of the White Student Union, then interrupted Smith by saying “For giving him shelter and food?”
The outburst from Terry reportedly elicited both gasps and cheers in the audience.
After the exchange, in which Terry claimed that attempts to appeal to minority voters were “at the expense of young, white Southern males like myself,” Terry was heard muttering “Why can’t we just have segregation?”
Once Smith brought up Martin Luther King, Jr., White Student Union “founder and commander” Matthew Heimbach stated that King was a “Marxist,” and therefore his ideas unacceptable.
When the panel concluded, Terry told reporters for The Guardian that his ancestor was the president of the Confederay, Jefferson Davis, and that he couldn’t oppose slavery due to it being a “complicated issue.”
“I can’t make one broad statement that categorically it was evil all the time because that’s not true,” said Terry.
Although Smith has released a statement saying that he and Terry “left as friends” after explaining the “Frederick Douglass Republican Message” to Terry, Heimbach has since been more confrontational in media appearances.
“Diversity is not a strength,” Heimbach said to the Baltimore Sun. “We’re being displaced from our own country.”
While Townson University has cautiously allowed the White Sutdent Union to exist since last Fall without vocalizing any support or opposition to their beliefs, the Southern Poverty Law Center has deemed the student organization to be a hate group.
Heimbach has responded to the Southern Poverty Law Center’s disapproval over the White Student Union in an interview with Slate, saying “You look at the SPLC, as fake as they are, they talk about how patriot groups are increasing in the Obama era. With a black face in charge of the White House, of the federal government, we know it’s foreign. We know something isn’t right.”
The exchange was video tapped by a reporter from ThinkProgress. Terry’s outburst begins at 1:20.