House freshman calls NAACP chief 'racist' in email

Posted January 31, 2013
Updated February 1, 2013

— A Republican House freshman will be in the spotlight Friday at an NAACP press conference for an email he sent to the state organization, calling the group and its leader "racist" and "race-opportunists." 

Rep. Michael Speciale, R-Craven, along with all other state lawmakers, received an emailed version of a statement last week by NAACP state president William Barber on proposed voter ID legislation.

In the statement, Barber calls voter ID initiatives "national propaganda efforts by the far-right to justify the obvious tactic to suppress the votes of minorities, youth, disabled and the elderly," and urges Republican legislative leaders to abandon their push for such a law in North Carolina.

WRAL News obtained the email below that Speciale sent in response:  

From: Rep. Michael Speciale <Michael.Speciale@ncleg.net>
Date: Wed, Jan 23, 2013 at 4:39 PM
Subject: RE: NC NAACP Statement as Read at Morning News Conference on Voter Suppression
To: "northcarolinanaacp@gmail.com" <northcarolinanaacp@gmail.com>

Dr. Barber,

This is as insulting a diatribe as I have seen in years. The NAACP has a proud history of working on behalf of black Americans to address the problems of society directed at them. You tarnish that with your racist diatribes and your race-baiting attitude. The photo requirement to vote is to prove that one is who they say they are. Nowhere in anyone’s minds but yours and your fellow race-opportunists is race, ethnic background, or color of one’s skin mentioned, insinuated or inferred regarding the proposed voter ID laws.

You do minorities and the elderly a disservice when you assume that they are incapable or incompetent to the point that they cannot provide a photo ID to vote. Photo ID’s are required in nearly every aspect of American life, and most Americans over the age of 16 have some form of photo ID. Your talking points make no sense, as you ramble on with Constitutional phrases to give an impression that you know what you are talking about, and it is apparent that you are grasping at straws. Your attempts to make minorities and the elderly believe that they are victims in this effort is contrary to common sense but apparently necessary to your economic survival

Your comments, both today and in the past are racist and inappropriate, therefore, I request that you remove me from your email list.
Michael Speciale

Speciale did not immediately respond to calls and emails for comment or clarification. 

According to NAACP state president Rev. William Barber, none of the elected positions in the state NAACP are salaried.

Speciale isn't the first eastern NC Republican to call Barber and his group racists. In 2011, former Rep. Stephen LaRoque, R-Lenoir, did the same thing.


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  • junkmail5 Feb 4, 2013

    I know it exists, because I witnessed someone i know give another's name and vote in that name because no ID was necessary.
    Moose is loose

    So you were an accessory to a felony?

    Because if you -actually- saw that and didn't report it....

  • Moose is loose Feb 2, 2013

    Thank you Rep. Speciale!!! He is a racist, there's no question about his racist agenda. Anything that comes out of his mouth saying he's not is a lie.

    Speciale, you have my vote as long as you speak the truth like this and act to stop voter fraud. I know it exists, because I witnessed someone i know give another's name and vote in that name because no ID was necessary.

  • ssmithsand Feb 1, 2013

    Congrats Rep. Michael Speciale. I am behind you 110%. Jackson2 you are so right. You should have to show your ID at election. This man, and the one before him, did nothing but keep things stirred up. I just don't see the big deal in flipping out your ID to vote. White, black or purple, I have always felt this should be done. Rep. Speciale, I sure hope some of your colleagues will stand behind you on this!!

  • whatdidusay Feb 1, 2013

    Finally a Politician that told the truth.

  • GravyPig Feb 1, 2013

    "Uhh, what about that is not true? Mr. Barber and every other liberal institution would be in support of voter I.D. if it was a benefit to them."

    Probably so. The only reason the GOP wants to have voter ID is because it benefits THEM. Funny how that works eh?

    "It simply eliminates the opportunity for voter fraud which they currently benefit from."

    Really? Where is this rampant voter fraud that you speak of? Oh that's right, there isn't any. So by all means, lets add another law to the books to fix a problem that isn't a problem.

  • junkmail5 Feb 1, 2013

    Furthermore, how ANYONE can exist in the 21st Century without SOME FORM of photo ID is beyond comprehension. I would really like to see the "numbers" on exactly how many people actually have no form of ID -jackson2

    Apparently your comprehension is limited.


    "Approximately ten percent of voting-age Americans today do not have driver’s licenses or state-issued non-driver’s photo ID. Based on Americans’ moving patterns, many more do not have photo ID showing their current address."

    "The impact of ID requirements is even greater for the elderly, students, people with disabilities, low-income individuals, and people of color. Thirty-six percent of Georgians over 75 do not have a driver’s license. Fewer than 3 percent of Wisconsin students have driver’s licenses listing their current address."

    More at the link

  • jackson2 Feb 1, 2013

    I am just happy someone finally had the nerve to call William Barber OUT. He does nothing but "stir the pot". Furthermore, how ANYONE can exist in the 21st Century without SOME FORM of photo ID is beyond comprehension. I would really like to see the "numbers" on exactly how many people actually have no form of ID. AND if they do exist, in any great numbers, AND they have been voting, grandfather them in and get on with your LIFE. I was personally dumbfounded by the fact, that I never had to prove who I was, when I voted. PASS THE LAW.

  • carrboroyouth Feb 1, 2013

    LOL you think writing a letter takes courage? You didnt serve in the military did you?

    Yeah, this letter did take courage. Speciale is speaking his mind on a sensitive topic, so yes, he is brave in risking as much as another term in Congress for saying this.

    Courage is not limited to the military.

  • carrboroyouth Feb 1, 2013

    Disagree with the Congressman about the necessity of an ID law.
    Agree with him on his points about the NAACP. It's no longer about "advancement," it is making people victims instead of empowering them.

  • Terkel Feb 1, 2013

    "Daughters bank account? Like my mom does my grandmother?"

    Why are you asking me?