Among the conservative black figures invited to meet with Vice President Mike Pence last week was Star Parker, who said in a Heritage Foundation Daily Signal podcast interview Friday that equality in the United States was achieved with the passage of the Civil Rights Act in 1964, but that race has since become politicized and “the perception of racism became a business.”
In the interview published under the headline, “Star Parker Shares Why It’s Not True That America is ‘Systemically Racist,’” Parker said that Americans “need to not buy into the narrative that we’re hearing from on high now—in Congress and every kind of public place—that America is systemically racist.” She added, “This is not true.”
Either ignoring or dismissing the many documented cases in which police have not been held accountable for deadly violence in recent years and decades, Parker insisted that it is a given that justice will be served in the George Floyd case. “This is not the 1950s where you wonder if justice is going to be served,” she said, adding that Pence had made it clear that the White House will ensure justice for Floyd’s family as well as business owners and others who suffered from “domestic terrorism” during protests against his killing.
Parker argued that Americans should “leave race out of every question” and “move on as individual unique people,” adding that there is nothing society can do about parents who pass racism onto their children. “You can’t legislate morality,” she said. “We’re not going to purge our country of every racist cop.”
The Daily Signal interviewer read from an email that Parker had recently sent inviting pastors to participate in a conversation about reconciliation and peace that she hosted. Parker’s email stated, “I don’t agree that our nation is racist. That mantra is the poison that entrenches resentment and division among us. The daily hunt for racism from top to bottom in our nation’s institutions has institutionalized the perception of racism in the post-civil-rights era.”
Parker is an odd choice of spokesperson if your goal is national reconciliation. She is intensely anti-LGBTQ and has called the Democratic Party “evil” and “the party of anti-Christ.” In 2015, she charged that President Barack Obama hated America and called his speech at that year’s National Prayer Breakfast “verbal rape” because he “stole all the energy in the room” with his “secular humanism.”
Star is a fixture at right-wing conferences, where she regales mostly white audiences with her tale of having been a lazy welfare recipient until someone told her that God didn’t approve of her lifestyle. On the Heritage podcast, Parker said that she had once believed the “lies of the left” and got lost in drugs, sex, and government dependence until her conversion to Christianity.
You can get a pretty good sense of her message from the title of her 1997 book, “Pimps, Whores and Welfare Brats: From Welfare Cheat to Conservative Messenger.” The back cover of the paperback says that county aid “came to her rescue, funding days spent in her Jacuzzi and nights of partying.” In the book, Parker wrote that she wondered whether she would have gotten pregnant so often and had four abortions if it weren’t for welfare’s “sometimes luxurious hold” over her, and she recounted how she teamed up with Pat Buchanan “to win this cultural war.” She described black conservatives as the solution for Americans who want to “work out their differences,” writing, “We have felt the sting of urban socialism and know the antidote is capitalism, couples with a dedication to moral absolutes.”
On the Daily Signal podcast, Parker said that “everyone is appalled” by the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis and she understands the emotional need people might have to protest that injustice, but she thought people would be better served by praying. “In my personal humble opinion, I felt that where we should have gone was to our face [in prayer] instead of to the streets to then create so much more damage against our fellow man,” she said.
Parker runs an organization she founded, the Center for Urban Renewal and Education. She ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 2010 in California’s 37th Congressional District.