Colorado state rep blasted for linking 'black culture' to Katrina woes in email

Ron Brynaert
Published: Thursday July 20, 2006

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"State Rep. Jim Welker is once again drawing criticism for forwarding an e-mail in which black conservatives and religious leaders blame 'black culture' for problems surrounding Hurricane Katrina," according to a Rocky Mountain News article.

Welker forwarded an article from the conservative Cybercast News Service called "'Black Culture' Blamed for Hurricane Katrina Woes," to his constituents.

"Nearly a year after Hurricane Katrina flooded the city of New Orleans, some prominent black conservatives and religious leaders blame cultural problems among African Americans, not the government, for 'the great breakdown witnessed during and following' the natural disaster," wrote Alison Espach for reported that conservative leaders are holding a meeting on July 26 in Washington, D.C. "to discuss how best to transform the 'human spirit,' the destruction of which they say 'is at the heart' of the still evolving crisis in New Orleans."

"Three months ago, Welker apologized on the House floor for forwarding a racially charged essay from a conservative black commentator who called Hurricane Katrina victims 'welfare pampered' and 'immoral," writes April M. Washington for Rocky Mountain News.

That essay was written by Reverend Jesse Lee Peterson, who is also quoted from in the most recent article Welker forwarded to his constituents.

"All Americans must tell blacks this truth," wrote Peterson. "It was blacks' moral poverty not their material poverty that cost them dearly in New Orleans. Farrakhan, Jackson, and other race hustlers are to be repudiated they will only perpetuate this problem by stirring up hatred and applauding moral corruption."

Welker told the Rocky Mountain News that he wasn't racist, but he refused to apologize for forwarding the article.

"I have black people who work for me," Welker told Rocky Mountain News. "Some of my good friends are different colors."

In 2003, Welker was first warned by his party not to forward "offensive material." Back then, the article Welker forwarded blasted gays.

"The article Welker forwarded claimed that gay men regularly ingest the urine and feces of their partners, leading to massive outbreaks of various diseases," reported Lynn Bartels for Rocky Mountain News (cache link). "It questioned why gays and lesbians were allowed to work with children, the elderly and in the food industry."

(Note: Article originally described Welker as a state rep for Louisiana, not Colorado)