About a week ago, I first got a word from one of the organizers of the women’s rights rallies that took place this weekend that they were having a little trouble with a candidate for state house, Maylon Rice. Apparently, Mr. Rice, was upset that his primary opponent, David Whitaker, was speaking at the Fayetteville rally and he wasn’t. The organizers attempted to explain to Mr. Rice that this was not a campaign event and that Whitaker was speaking because he signed the ERA pledge and would only be speaking up for the ERA. It was then explained to Rice, via both phone and email, that while the speakers had been set and couldn’t be changed at that point there would be a time for him at the end of the rally. They also sent him a copy of the pledge to sign. Rice not only never signed, but was also pretty rude to the organizers, threaten to discredit the rallies, and maintained at one point that he’d already signed and should be given equal time. (The organizers checked…his name isn’t on any of the pledge forms, and even if it was it’s not like it takes a huge amount of work to put your name on another one.) Rice did show at the rally though, but when he had the chance to speak at the end, he didn’t take it. Then tonight I get contacted by a friend from Fayetteville who wasn’t at the rally, saying that Rice has been telling people he was denied the chance to speak. That’s total rubbish, and the organizers have the emails on hand to show they went out their way to accommodate him.
This isn’t the only bizarre or disconcerting thing Rice has hanging over his head. Like the reason he was barred from speaking for the Northwest Arkansas Times on the Arkansas Week program:
After his appearance on the Arkansas Educational Television Network’s July 7 program, Times Executive Editor Ritta Martin Basu sent a letter to Steve Barnes of “Arkansas Week” on July 19 saying Rice is no longer authorized to represent the newspaper on the show because his comments “may have been considered racially offensive to some of your viewers.
Referring to the race for Congress in Arkansas’ 4th District, Rice said the two candidates “need to quit playing the race card.” He added, “This race is not about watermelon, fried chicken and moon pies.”
Dale Charles, state president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, later sent a letter to AETN saying the comments were “highly inflammable racial slurs.”
Really? Who in this day and age is dumb enough to say something like that?
Word to the wise for Mr. Rice. If you want to speak at a rally for the ERA, there’s an easy way to do that. Sign the ERA pledge and take advantage of the time given at the end to speak. Though considering how your mouth once got you in trouble, it might have been a good thing for you that you didn’t.