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  • Thursday, July 06, 2006

    Campaign racism

    Candidacy Fosters A Debate On Race: White Democrat Finds Resistance From Black Voters

    This is just plain wrong:
    The City Council member's bid has not been well received by the district's black establishment. Rep. Major R. Owens (D), the retiring 12-term incumbent, labeled Yassky a "colonizer." Local black leaders have staged events to pressure the 42-year-old Brooklyn Democrat out of the race. A Web site was launched. Al Sharpton is calling on prominent white politicians, including Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), to take a stand against Yassky.
    A majority minority district isn't an ironclad promise of electing a minority Congressperson. It's a tool to facilitate greater minority representation in Congress. The candidate still has to win the support of the electorate. And it's complete bullshit for the other candidates who are black to try to oust him just because he isn't.

    That's racism. Let's call it what it is.

    If a candidate in, say, in the 15th Congressional District of California, were to suggest that its current Member of Congress Mike Honda had no business representing the district because it's not majority Japanese American (or even Asian American), then wouldn't the Congressional Black Caucus and others be screaming and throwing a fit and staging press conferences and protests and boycotts?

    You betcha'.

    That's why this is bullshit. And hypocritical. And completely counter-productive. Race can never, never be the sole criteria of consideration or qualification -- although I think it can be a factor, one of many. And if we continue to espouse politics that allow the exclusion of one because of his/her race, then aren't we just feeding racist separatism? We'd never have any folks like Mike Honda -- who very ably represents his district even if his race and face don't match the demographic makeup of his constituents -- in Congress. And forget about someone like Tammy Baldwin (how the heck did SHE get elected?) or Barbara Lee (oh, horrors!) for that matter. That's not democracy. It's a complete abrogation of the intent of the Civil Rights Act and a set-back to a pre-civil rights era.

    This congressional seat is not earmarked for a black candidate. It's for the candidate that the district elects fairly. Let the man stand or fall on his merits, just like anyone else.

    Definitely a bad day for equality.

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