Talk:Jesse Helms/Archive 5

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Archive 4 Archive 5 Archive 6

summary at the top

Yes check.svg Resolved.

The name at the end of the summary should be Senator Robert Byrd, not George Byrd. I can't fix this because the article is semi-protected. —Preceding unsigned comment added by AbdullahHaydar (talkcontribs) 03:45, 14 July 2008 (UTC)

Fixed - good catch. Banjeboi 14:11, 14 July 2008 (UTC)
Yeah, I removed the "George" Byrd reference, but someone put it back it (along with a lot of other, equally nonsensical junk). Robert Byrd is a former KKK recruiter! Helms has never had any connection to the KKK or any other white supremacist organization. The two men are not comparable. NCdave (talk) 14:39, 14 July 2008 (UTC)
NCdave this is not a blog or a community forum where simply repeating your claims that Helms wasn't a segregationist, and was, at best, misunderstood on all the items people use to show he was a bigot and racist, somehow add up to your version of reality. You have correctly pointed out material that needed sourcing and other editors have added exactly that per policy. The sources indicated Helms held steadfast to his beliefs unlike Byrd, a person in the same profession at the same time who did not hold steadfast on these issues. Banjeboi 15:32, 14 July 2008 (UTC)

Helms-bashing editorial comments

Cummon guys, the addition of weasel words like "has often been accused of" does not make it okay to call him a segregationist and white supremacist (in paragraph four of the introduction). He was neither.

Nor is it proper to insert unproven quotes (like those in paragraph three of the CBC section) of outrageous things that even Jim Hunt and Harvey Gantt never accused him of saying.

Nor is proper to insert blatant editorial comments, like the one claiming that he opposed "civil rights for gay men and women generally."

BTW, do you know what civil rights are? They are, by definition, simply rights enjoyed by virtue of citizenship. Unless you think that American citizenship confers a right to federally subsidized AIDS treatments, then an argument over special federal funding for AIDS treatment has nothing to do with civil rights. NCdave (talk) 14:20, 14 July 2008 (UTC)

Again you make a good point amongst many others that are not so good. We should avoid weasel wording so I'll look to adjusting the segregationist item to clarify who stated this. All the other quotes seem to be well sourced. I see no problem with Helms' own words used to show his thoughts about gays and lesbians. Banjeboi 14:59, 14 July 2008 (UTC)

Views on LGBT people

I removed the quote "widely criticized for his view" because it's violative of WP:NPOV. Whether we like it or not, a nice chunk of Americans have praised him for his views to the same extent that he was criticized by others. --brewcrewer (yada, yada) 01:51, 22 July 2008 (UTC)

Request for Comment

{{RFCpol}} User:NCdave is disputing and constantly removing material that suggests or says Helms was racist or accused of being racist.

  1. There is an ongoing dispute between User:Benjiboi and NCdave about the mention of racism in the lead section. Benjiboi believes that there should be mention that he is often accused of racism in the lead section, and NCdave insists that mention of racism accusations is inappropriate.
  2. There is an ongoing dispute between User:TexasDex and NCdave about several racist Helms quotes cited to the New York Times which NCdave does not believe are reliable. NCdave has deleted the cited quotes several times.


  • I feel that the obituaries recently printed will be able to point out what was most remembered of Helms, and from the most reliable sources: both the New York Times and Wall Street Journal, as both are respectively considered liberal and conservative. Cull the comments made in newspaper obituaries throughout North Carolina. Do they regularly mention his actions and words regarding race? What about the NAACP in NC? Not being from NC, and not being directly involved in this article, I think it would be... conservative to say that Helms was conservative matters of racial policy.
  • Regarding the use of quotes in the NYT, unless it came from an editorial (which, maddeningly, some papers present facts in editorial they do not in articles), they should be notable and reliable. Not including the reporters who made their publications famous for making up stories, the NYT is one of the most, if not the most notable newspaper in the US. --Moni3 (talk) 16:24, 14 July 2008 (UTC)
The North Carolina NAACP had this to say:

"We in the Civil Rights community had deep and stark differences with Senator Jesse Helms' public policy positions. He opposed fundamental constitutional rights and the implementation of civil rights protections."

They stop short of saying "segregationist" or "racist" but other sources go that far, and further. Part of the debate is about those sources, some are Op-ed, some are books, but not many obituaries ("do not speak ill of the dead"?).
Speaking of sources: Regarding facts in editorials, yes it is maddening. Presumably one would get in trouble for using blatantly inaccurate facts to support your editorial column, so they have some element of reliability. That's not enough for Wikipedia of course, but the disconnect between the facts they mention in editorials and the facts they mention in news articles is annoying. --TexasDex 16:58, 14 July 2008 (UTC)
What's missing, presumably, is a "smoking gun" kind of quote, like George Wallace's "segregation forever" comment. Maybe Helms was a little to wily to come out and say something that obvious. There's also a disconnect. Didn't he adopt foster children of multiple races? Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? 17:11, 14 July 2008 (UTC)
(ec)Since I've not kept track of the disagreements over the issues in Helms' articles, have you tried to state that during his political career, Helms was noted by Organization 1, Newspaper 2, Newspaper 3, and Writer 4, for voting against racially progressive policies, including Affirmative Action, and all the other ones? That way, you avoid that panic button term "racist". Was there something in particular that Helms did that was outrageous enough to illustrate this, such as Strom Thurmond reading the New York City phone book aloud to filibuster the 1964 Civil Rights Act? --Moni3 (talk) 17:15, 14 July 2008 (UTC)
An excellent point. Stick to the facts and let the reader decide if they equate to "racist" or not. George Wallace, for example, was a segregationist. Segregationism does not necessarily equate to racism, although they are close cousins. You can call Wallace a segregationist because he said he was. Unless you can find overt evidence of Helms being a racist, then the record must suffice. Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? 17:21, 14 July 2008 (UTC)
We have at least a dozen books calling him a racist and another dozen calling him a segregationist, and, of course, many more articles and newspapers doing the very same. I didn't think we needed to pile on the refs as such but we certainly can. I expect that many quotes can be found but I hadn't started researching those as others were dealing with that aspect. I suggested we introduce a section just on "Social and political views" to help address each of the areas where we could then drill down with Helms' quotes and campaign tactics but given NCdave's pattern so far it would all be regularly discredited and deleted so it seemed we should try to resolve this matter first. Many of the obits skirted this by stating that Helms main issue was dealing with "issues of race". Per WP:lede it would seem that we should state the obvious though and not tease per se. I may just focus on the issue areas instead as playing to hot-button issues was Helms' forte and what drove his campaigns and political work. Banjeboi 17:58, 14 July 2008 (UTC)
The wording Benjiboi is currently restoring is "Helms was an outspoken conservative and has been accused of being a segregationist by liberals and political scholars including USA Today's DeWayne Wickham who wrote Helms "subtly carried the torch of white supremacy" from Ben Tillman, opposing school integration, the Civil Rights Act and the commemoration of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday." with about 10 citations for that statement. Putting it prominently in the lead might be a little bit WP:UNDUE, even given the quantity of the references, and I'm willing to compromise on wording and move it to a "social and political views" section, but I think it's important to include something to that effect. As for his record, there are several quotes that hint at racism, but NCdave keeps removing them, saying that "that NY Times reference is not a reliable source" because he claims, without evidence, that it's an editorial, and says that the author of it was too young to have actually witnessed the broadcast, which I don't think is relevant because it's a secondary source, not a primary source (primary sources may be WP:OR anyways). --TexasDex 18:03, 14 July 2008 (UTC)
The risk in citing anything that says "Helms was a racist" is that it's a matter of opinion. Someone could say "Bush is a fascist", but that doesn't make him one. Calling Helms a racist doesn't make him one either. But his (presumably) segregationist voting record is there for public view, and that can be cited. Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? 18:11, 14 July 2008 (UTC)
I'm also not convinced that this content is undue given that it's what was stated in the obits, the mainstream ones, at least, as part of an overview of his life. The more liberal media is far more blunt. I pulled a consensus of over a dozen mainstream outlets and then beefed up the most positive aspects to rework the lede. Many of the obits give a near laundry list of transgressions. I could see moving "USA Today's DeWayne Wickham who wrote Helms "subtly carried the torch of white supremacy" from Ben Tillman," into a section on Helms' views but Helms was widely considered a bigot so we shouldn't water down the lede too much. Banjeboi 18:21, 14 July 2008 (UTC)
How about this as a source for evidence of Helms' racism, sexism and bigotry [1] ? --Hardindr (talk) 19:09, 15 July 2008 (UTC)

<outdent>Comments on lead: In reading the lead (which seems to be the source of the controversy here), I have a few suggestions:

First, the sentences are too long and should be simplified. Secondly, I don't think that characterizing Helms as a racist or a segregationist should be in the lead. Rather, it will be just as accurate, less controversial, and more encompassing (what a lead should be) to state that Helms opposed many progressive policies regarding race in the US. Thirdly, the grammar and punctuation makes it unclear as to what racial programs Helms opposed. Lastly, and this may be the most important, it way too overcited. You can cite each incidence, such as integration(ref), Civil Rights Act(ref), and observance of Martin Luther King's birthday(ref)(ref). Otherwise, this statement alone has an astounding 13 citations! They are very distracting. Keep the three most "important": general, or from the most reliable or high profile sources, and include the rest in the notes within the citation (see Ref #91 in To Kill a Mockingbird).
Can one oppose homosexuality as a concept? I mean, did he oppose the existence of homosexuals, like...one might oppose the existence of rocks? I would change "nakedness" to "nudity" since nakedness makes me want to say it as "nekkidness" and that makes me giggle. Again, too many citations is distracting.
  • Helms brought "an aggressiveness" to his conservatism, likely because of his upbringing and start in a racially charged atmosphere, and used racial politics when the "going got rough" but combined that with cultural, social and economic conservatism.
This statement is confusing, as it alludes that being brought up in a racially charged atmosphere implies it makes one a racist. And I don't understand what "used racial politics" means. Can someone make that clearer or can it be dropped from the lead? Not trying to bring the lead down, but part of the confusion and controversy is coming from its structure. --Moni3 (talk) 18:47, 15 July 2008 (UTC)
All quite helpful and done, to a degree, and I've boldly added sections further down where drilling into details on social and political issues can occur. I've tried to simply split up the cites for now but there are so many sources I have no problem switching out for better ones. I expect, as well, that in the coming months more thoughtful and comprehensive articles will be written that can also help with this. More ideas to clean up the lede are welcome as I often write wonkish. Also, to clarify, I don't expect any of this to appease the editor for whom this RFC was opened as they pretty much deny anything negative about Helms is true but I think this will help add weight that more are giving feedback and the article is again improving. Banjeboi 21:49, 15 July 2008 (UTC)