By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
MONTGOMERY—Three days after State Rep. Alan Harper (R-Northport) made national headlines for racist and xenophobic comments on his Facebook page, State Republican Chair Terry Lathan issued the following statement regarding his comments. “The comments recently made by State Representative Alan Harper on his Facebook page referencing the racial profiles of American business owners are very concerning. Mr. Harper is certainly welcome to his own personal opinion on any topic, but his statements absolutely do not represent the views of the Republican Party.”
“Mr. Harper is solely responsible for his thoughts and words as all individuals are in our state and country. As an elected official, his constituents will be the final judge of his remarks, but in the end, he alone is the sole author of his statement and beliefs.”
Harper, a Republican lawmaker, who switched from the Democratic party in 2012, recently took to social media to warn his constituents not to do business with non-white, non-Christian businesses, because they were fulminating terrorism in the United States: “The C Stores/Tobacco outlets, etc., with the lights around the windows and doors are not owned by God fearing Christians.” Harper wrote that these convenient stores “are owned by folks that send their profits back to their homeland, and then, in turn, use these funds against our country to create turmoil, fear, and in some cases, death and destruction.”
Harper claimed that people need only, “Look behind the cash register,” to identify the nationality of the store owner. Again, a reference to brown or dark skinned people, who operate convenient stores throughout the State.
Until Lathan’s remarks, not a single republican lawmaker, including Gov. Robert Bentley, has stepped forward to condemn Harper.
Republican House Speaker Mike Hubbard, who is facing 23 felony counts of public corruption, as well as other House leadership, have remained silent on Harper’s bigoted remarks.
Most convenient stores with foreign born owners are generally owned by Indian families that migrated legally to the US decades ago. They are primarily Hindu, not Muslim, as Harper presumes.
Harper made his comments just days before the sixtieth anniversary of the Montgomery bus boycott.
The silence from the Capitol and the Statehouse, both controlled by Republicans, seems to send a message that only the skin pigment has changed…..not the racism.