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Friedman not invited to Texas NAACP event

/ Source: The Associated Press

Kinky Friedman, whose racially charged comments have infuriated minority groups, is the only major gubernatorial candidate who won't speak at the Texas NAACP state convention this week, the event's coordinator confirmed Wednesday.

Friedman's campaign said he didn't receive an invitation.

"We're really disappointed that Kinky won't have an opportunity to speak with them. If they'd given him the time I think they would have been pleased with what he has to say and with the kind of candidate he is," campaign spokeswoman Laura Stromberg said.

'Ill will toward the African-American community'
Linda Lydia declined to discuss why Friedman wasn't participating, referring questions to the organization's president, Gary Bledsoe.

"Clearly, Mr. Friedman has shown ... ill will toward the African-American community, and there is no obligation for someone to enlist or invite someone who has illustrated that kind of attitude or demeanor toward African-Americans," Bledsoe said.

Refusal to apologize
Friedman bristled when the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People asked him to apologize last month for comments he made recently and in years past. In a letter to Friedman, Bledsoe said his comments pander to divisiveness and "invoke the worst racial stereotypes about people of color."

Friedman has refused to apologize, saying he doesn't need to because he is not a racist. He has said his opponents are orchestrating the criticism because they believe he's threatening their chances of victory.

"We're talking about a candidate who was picketing Rexall drugs in Austin as a freshman in college because they wouldn't cash checks for black people," Stromberg said. "They know nothing about his record as a man with a civil rights background."

Last month, Friedman referred to Hurricane Katrina evacuees in Houston, most of whom are black, as "crackheads and thugs." He later criticized ethnic politicking by saying, "I don't eat tamales in the barrio, I don't eat fried chicken in the ghetto and I don't eat bagels with the Jews."

Then a television interview from a year ago resurfaced in which Friedman was asked what to do about sexual predators, and he said, "Throw them in prison and throw away the key and make them listen to a Negro talking to himself."

A left-leaning political Web site also posted an audio clip of Friedman telling a joke at a nightclub in 1980 in which he used the n-word.

Gov. Rick Perry will speak to the Texas NAACP on Thursday. Independent Carole Keeton Strayhorn and Democrat Chris Bell are scheduled to speak Friday. Libertarian James Werner is also running for governor, but he is rarely invited to candidate forums.

The meeting in Austin runs through Saturday.