House freshman calls NAACP chief 'racist' in email

Freshman Rep. Michael Speciale, R-Craven, will be under the spotlight Friday after he called the NAACP and state president William Barber "racists" and "race opportunists" in an email.

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Laura Leslie
RALEIGH, N.C. — 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
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"

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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