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20 Jul, 2020 07:09

Backlash after NYT columnist says Republican voters would rather burn ‘entire neighborhood’ than rent room to non-whites

Backlash after NYT columnist says Republican voters would rather burn ‘entire neighborhood’ than rent room to non-whites

New York Times columnist Wajahat Ali has faced backlash after he said that, if given a choice between having a non-white tenant or burning their house down, GOP voters would rather set fire to the whole area.

Ali, who is the Times’ contributing op-ed writer and was formerly a CNN commentator, raised quite a few eyebrows when he tweeted the claim on Sunday.

“I hope people realize that there are many white Republican voters in this country if they're given a choice between renting a room in their house to a person of color or burning down the house, they will elect to burn down the entire neighborhood,” he tweeted.

The journalist argued that such sentiment is quite common among caucasian Republicans, adding: “It’s not just a small fringe.”

In a flurry of tweets, Ali said that he was not exaggerating, arguing that hypothetical Trump supporters would “rationalize it as legitimate victimhood” while invoking the times just after segregation in public places was outlawed by the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

“Look at what many white communities did after desegregation. Some shut down the local pools instead of allowing equal access for everyone,” Ali tweeted.

The pushback was swift, with netizens accusing Ali of “pushing an agenda” by using an example from times long gone.

“That was almost 70 years ago, in one region of the US. MOST states in the US at that time thought what was going on in the deep south was horrific, even then,” a commentator said.

“Do you have any numbers from present day to back up your outlandish claims?” another quipped. 

Some even implored Ali to delete the tweet, which he refused to do, referring to the request as an example of cancel culture while responding to black American writer and pro-Israel activist Chloe Valdary. 

Valdary shot back, arguing that Ali offered “zero evidence” for his claim, noting that such “overgeneralized” messages “helped get Trump elected in the first place.”

Ali is no stranger to controversy. Last August, he came under fire after tweeting a message seemingly in support of killing US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in response to him opposing gun control legislation.

“#MassacreMoscowMitch is trending. I still have faith in America,” the journalist tweeted at the time, but removed the post after backlash.

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