On March 23, Rep. J.C. Watts Jr. told the House that “I have had racist attacks made against me by … Slate magazine, which is a national magazine.” We at Slate were a little dumbfounded by all this. Yes, we’ve published two articles highly critical of Watts: Jacob Weisberg’s “The Football Caucus” and David Plotz’s “Give It Back to the Injuns.” We spanked him (and Steve Largent too) for being a dumb jock, and pointed out that Oklahoma has a tradition of electing incompetents (white and black). And we could probably come up with another half dozen things also unrelated to his race that we don’t like about him.
Still, it’s not every day that one’s magazine is denounced on the floor of the House. So we went back and carefully reviewed the two articles, and still can’t figure why the congressman finds them racist. Perhaps you can. Feel free to write us here with your comments (please put “Watts” in the subject line), and we’ll publish the best. Clarifying letters from Rep. Watts’ office are especially welcome.