January 13th, 2012 By Kevin Osborne | News | Posted In: Racism, COAST, NAACP, Republicans, Tea Party

'Whites Only,' the Tea Party and COAST


This week’s ruling by the Ohio Civil Rights Commission that a Greater Cincinnati landlady violated a girl’s civil rights by posting a “whites only” sign at an apartment complex’s swimming pool is a decision that most rational people would say is just.

The Jan. 12 ruling means the commission, if it cannot reach a settlement with landlady Jamie Hein, could issue a complaint against her with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office. The AG’s Office would then represent the complainant, Michael Gunn, before an administrative law judge, who could impose penalties and punitive damages.

Gunn, who is white, filed the complaint last spring after his biracial daughter visited him at his apartment complex and tried to use the pool. She found a sign posted that read, “Public Swimming Pool, White Only.”

The girl told her father about the sign, he said, and several witnesses corroborated her account before the commission.

Although Hein told ABC News in December that the sign merely was an antique from Selma, Ala., which she received from a friend, she said in an interview with the commission’s housing enforcement director that products used by the girl in her hair made the water “cloudy.”

"I was trying to protect my assets," Hein said in the interview.

Such an attitude might seem shocking today, but it’s worth noting that Sunlite Pool at Coney Island Amusement Park didn’t become racially integrated until May 29, 1961, after a nine-year struggle — well within the lifetimes of some of CityBeat’s older readers.

But is Hein’s attitude really all that shocking or uncommon? Consider the following.

Both U.S. Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) and his son, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), have spoken publicly against the Civil Rights Act of 1964. That’s the landmark legislation that outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion or national origin in hotels, motels, restaurants, theaters and all other public accommodations engaged in interstate commerce.

Ron Paul has said the law "undermine[d] the concept of liberty" and "destroyed the principle of private property and private choices."

Rand Paul has said he dislikes portions of the civil rights law because a restaurant or other private business with no government funding should be allowed to discriminate. “In a free society, we will tolerate boorish people who have abhorrent behavior,” Rand Paul said in 2010.

Father and son, of course, represent the views of many Libertarians and are the darlings of the Tea Party movement.

Then there’s the Coalition Opposed to Additional Spending and Taxes (COAST), a group supposedly dedicated only to fiscal conservatism. Still, one of COAST’s leaders, Chris Finney, helped push the anti-gay charter amendment approved by Cincinnati voters in 1993.

While defending Article 12 in the 1990s, Finney said landlords shouldn’t be legally required to rent to gay or lesbian tenants if they didn’t want to do so.

During testimony in a 1994 court hearing, Finney was asked why sexual behavior should affect who can eat in a restaurant or be employed by a company. Finney replied, “Because there may be some who don’t want their family dining next to a homosexual couple whose actions they find offensive.”

No wonder civil rights leader Bayard Rustin remarked in 1986 that, “Today, blacks are no longer the litmus paper or the barometer of social change. Blacks are in every segment of society and there are laws that help to protect them from racial discrimination. The new ‘niggers’ are gays.”

By the way, COAST helped launch Rand Paul’s Senate campaign in June 2009. Birds of a feather.

Thankfully, voters repealed Article 12 in 2004. But the worldview espoused by the Pauls, Finney and their ilk would leave us with a significantly different society today, if they had their way.

Nevertheless, one Greater Cincinnati politician after another tries to cozy up to COAST, in an effort to win conservative votes. Among those who associate with the group are Brad Wenstrup, Charlie Winburn, Christopher Smitherman, Chris Bortz, Chris Monzel and Phil Heimlich.

As President Grover Cleveland famously said, “A man is known by the company he keeps, and also by the company from which he is kept out."

01.13.2012 at 11:17 Reply

this article sucks. this guy who wrote it should do the world a faver and walk out into oncoming traffic.


01.14.2012 at 06:54 Reply

I liked about half this article. Major ::headdesk:: though, at **No wonder civil rights leader Bayard Rustin remarked in 1986 that, “Today, blacks are no longer the litmus paper or the barometer of social change. Blacks are in every segment of society and there are laws that help to protect them from racial discrimination. The new ‘niggers’ are gays.”**

Can we, for the love of all that is holy, PLEASE stop espousing this utterly ridiculous opinion? "Gay is the new black" et. al? There are BLACK people who are GAY. Not to mention that GAY people can, for all reasonable purposes and extent, hide this aspect of their identity. If a cop pulls a gay person over, unless they have major signs that they are gay (idk, tonguing their same-sex partner - because even a bumper sticker could just mean that you support equal rights), this does not immediately put their lives at risk in the same way as a cop pulling a black person over. There are so many ridiculous reasons why this comparison is both inaccurate and just outright insulting to a black person. NIGGER means NIGGER. THERE ARE NO FREAKIN PARALLELS.

Yes, the laws still have to catch up with protecting gays, lesbians, transsexuals, and bisexuals as a class at the same widespread level as racial minorities. But can we please stop comparing and conflating the two demographics like racism has reached a level of just minor annoyance? Newt thinks my black kids can be a janitor if they really put their minds to it and Santorum thinks that I just need a job and then I won't need assistance with buying food, because the jobs available on the bus line for "inner-city" "urban youth", trained by public schools funded by property values, designated for prison or any poverty-wage job they can find on a bus line becaue they can't afford a car and they sure as heck haven't been prepared for or can afford higher learning - these are still VERY REAL and VERY PREVALENT issues, regardless of civil rights laws, that continue to directly contribute to the level of poverty and joblessness in minority communities today. Fighting racism and fighting homophobia can be done. They can even be done by the same person or groups of people. I know as a bisexual black woman that I do my best to support both causes - but I know, without a doubt, which one of those identities has more of an impact on how people view me than the other, and which one puts my life more at risk than the other.


01.15.2012 at 09:40 Reply

exactly how is the Tea Party involved in this?  except for the voices in your head, NOT AT ALL - Tea Party supported electeds and candidates include - Tim Scott [SC] Allen West [FL] Nikki Haley, Suzanna Martinez to name only those you MIGHT recognize


01.15.2012 at 06:33 Reply

What part of Fiscal Responsibility, Limited Government and Free Markets translates into a "whites only" label?  I just spent a half hour with Apostle Claver, the founder of RagingElephants.org  He had some amazing insight into the use of the race card on conservatives.  I encourage everyone to take a look at that website.  One particular point of interest was the observation that Martin Luther King was a Republican!!!!


01.15.2012 at 07:16 Reply

I searched the web for info on this story, but no surprise that another AAN paper was the only place I could find basic crucial details, such as the explicit statement that Michael Gunn is white.  I had to infer that from other coverage--even saw some stories that said he was black.  Thanks for once again making me proud to be part of the AAN community.

Paul Rosenberg

Senior Editor

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