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Northam’s Blackface Scandal Resurfaces As Virginia Governor Candidates Battle For Black Voters In Tight Race

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The nearly three-year-old Virginia blackface scandal surrounding Gov. Ralph Northam has resurfaced as the state’s Democratic and Republican gubernatorial nominees court Black voters ahead of next week’s election — and he’s not even running.

Whether it will be a factor in the election’s outcome remains to be seen, but Glenn Youngkin, the Republican candidate, seemingly sure hopes it will. Having failed to increase his appeal among Black voters, Youngkin last week released a video of his opponent, Democratic nominee Terry McAuliffe, appearing to dismiss the severity of and implications behind blackface while denying that it was even Northam pictured in the controversial photo that led to the scandal in the first place.

MORE: Virginia Governor Who Once Wore Blackface Endorses Former Governor Terry McAuliffe To Replace Him

Youngkin’s political play is clear: to paint McAuliffe in the same racist light in which Northam was depicted when the photo was leaked on Feb. 1 — the first day of Black History Month — in 2019.

As a reminder, the photo showed one unidentified man wearing blackface and smiling while standing next to another unidentified person dressed in a Ku Klux Klan robe and hood. They were shown holding apparent cans of beer in a festive setting in a yearbook photo that was reportedly taken at a party at Eastern Virginia Medical School, where Northam was trained to become a medical doctor in the early 1980s.

Northam immediately denied it was him in the picture before later admitting that he was unsure who it was, which implies it very well could have been him. He also bizarrely admitted to applying black shoe polish to his face for a Michael Jackson dance competition.

Northam ignored calls for him to resign even though doing so would have given Virginia its second-ever Black governor by promoting then-Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, who in turn, became a reviled figure when attention was coincidentally deflected to two women accusing him of rape, taking some of the political pressure off of Northam in the interim.

It was in that context that Youngkin likely decided to release the video of McAuliffe being interviewed about Northam’s blackface scandal in a desperate attempt to have more Black voters support him in Tuesday’s election.

To be sure, the video does absolutely no favors for McAuliffe, the one-term governor of Virginia before Northam was elected, no favors at all. It shows McAuliffe regurgitating the narrative that it wasn’t Northam in the photo and defending the governor from the claims. But it was how McAuliffe offered his defense of Northam — who has endorsed McAuliffe — that may give some Virginia voters pause.

“Even if it had been him in the blackface, you know, it was a dumb mistake 40 years ago,” McAuliffe said in what was widely received as downplaying the centuries-old offensive practice of white people applying dark makeup to mock Black people with a racist caricature.

Youngkin, who is a disciple of Donald trump’s school of political thought, contrasted McAuliffe’s comments in the video with his initial reaction to Northam’s blackface scandal in 2019, calling it “racist” and “inexcusable at any age.” The comments in the video make it appear as if McAuliffe excused what he previously called “inexcusable.”

The Virginia gubernatorial election is coming down to the wire with polling showing McAuliffe and Youngkin in a virtual tie with barely more than a week to go until their election.

The concern about the turnout of Black voters is real in Virginia; so much so that the national party has recruited the likes of former Barack Obama, Vice President Kamala Harris and former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams to campaign for McAuliffe.

We’ll find out next week if it was enough.

SEE ALSO:

Vote Yes On 2: Minneapolis Deserves Big Change Not More Small Promises

Mitch McConnell Praised Clarence Thomas’ Anti-Abortion Stance Hours Before SCOTUS Upheld Texas Ban Again

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Atlanta City Councilwoman Who Backed ‘Cop City’ Loses Re-Election Bid

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Get Out The Vote In Georgia

Source: The Washington Post / Getty

Runoff elections across metro Atlanta have caused a real shakeup. While all eyes were on the mayor’s race, the city council is gaining some new members who will bring a different perspective.  

Long-term incumbent Joyce Sheperd lost her re-election bid to a younger, more progressive candidate Antonio Lewis. According to local news, Sheperd served the district for 17 years.  

Lewis forced Sheperd into a runoff election and successfully overcame nearly two decades of support and relationships. Sheperd’s leadership on an unpopular project, dubbed “Cop City” by local organizers, was a central talking point of her re-election.

Members of the city council approved the project in September, disregarding hours of public comment overwhelmingly in opposition to the proposal.  As reported by Mainline, the project received opposition from a broad coalition, including environmental activists, intown neighborhood groups, and democratic socialists. 

Some of that organizing may have indirectly helped Lewis. It’s also possible that in Lewis, Atlanta’s southside is signaling that it’s ready for a change. Results show Lewis beat Sheperd by more than 800 votes. 

Lewis told Atlanta’s 11 Alive that the killing of Rayshard Brooks last June inspired him to run. Lewis was friends with Brooks and has said last summer’s protests were a pivotal moment for him. 

He will be joined by military veteran Jason Dozier and organizer Liliana Bakhtiari, who also picked up city council seats Tuesday night. In a Q&A with NewsOne, Dozier spoke of the failures built into broken systems that need people’s attention.  

“On the one hand, people know when systems are broken because these failures become part of our lived experiences,” Dozier said. “Sometimes they’re just nuisances we learn to live with–late buses missed trash pickup, delayed permits. But often, these failures can have disastrous consequences, or even can be deadly–lost income, illegal evictions, encounters with the police.” 

Dozier said because of the compounded failures, people lose hope and disconnect from the process. “It’s difficult to restore that trust,” Dozier continued. “And so, for many people, they choose not to participate in local elections at all.” 

It seems that Dozier and his new colleagues may have given some people a little hope in the process.  He defeated incumbent Cleta Winslow, ending her 27-year tenure on the council. 

Both Sheperd and Winslow dodged their opponents in forums leading up to the runoff election.

Nearby in the City of South Fulton, democratic socialist khalid kamau unseated incumbent Mayor Bill Edwards. A progressive organizer and campaign operative, kamau served as campaign manager to two state legislative candidates in 2018, defeating an incumbent in one and flipping another district.  

All three city council candidates and kamau were endorsed by the Georgia Working Families Party. Committed to building a “multiracial movement of working people to transform America,” the Georgia team invested in several local races that would ordinarily go overlooked. 

 

See Also:  

Black Veteran Jason Dozier On Protecting Democracy And Importance Of Local Elections 

Ohio Organizer Offers Lessons From Municipal Elections Ahead Of 2022 Midterms 

Republicans Rigged Congressional Maps To Take Lucy McBath’s Seat So She’s Running In A New District 

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NBA Star Says Americans Should Stop Complaining About America, And Fox News Won’t Tell Him To ‘Shut Up And Dribble’

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Annual Charity Day Hosted By Cantor Fitzgerald, BGC and GFI - Cantor Fitzgerald Office - Inside

Source: Noam Galai / Getty

Listen: I’m not one to tell NBA athletes that they should just “shut up and dribble” rather than speak on social and political issues, and apparently, neither are Fox News hosts—so long as the athlete is saying all the white people-friendly things and shouting down people who speak on American injustice and oppression.

On Monday, Swiss-born Boston Celtic Enes Kanter officially became a U.S. citizen and legally changed his name to Enes Kanter Freedom. Now, if I were a petty man, I’d point out that Kanter basically jacked Ron Artest’s name changing steez and he’ll likely be praised for it by the same white people who called Artest ridiculous when he legally changed his name to Meta World Peace—fortunately, I’m not a petty man.

Anyway, Kanter (his momma named him Kanter, I’m calling him Kanter) made an appearance on the white nationalist spank bank network that doesn’t even report news about foxes and sat down with Fox News host and professional disgruntled white man Tucker Carlson to declare that Americans shouldn’t talk bad about America because, like white Americans in general, Kanter has apparently convinced himself that America is the world’s only free nation. (I mean, he was literally born in Switzerland, but whatever.)

Now, to be fair, Carlson—the white man who is such a raging white supremacist that ex-KKK grand wizard David Duke got big mad at him for stealing his shine—prompted Kanter’s statement with a loaded and leading question.

“It seems that people who move here from countries that are not free appreciate the freedoms here much more than a lot of us who grew up with those freedoms. Have you noticed that?” Carlson asked.

“People should feel really blessed to be in America,” Kanter responded. “They love to criticize it but when you live in a country like Turkey or China, you appreciate the freedoms you have here. I feel like they should just keep their mouth shut and stop criticizing the greatest nation in the world and they should focus on their freedoms and their human rights and democracy.â€�

Here’s the thing: Like Carlson, Kanter has only ever seen the privileged side of American life. Kanter is a white-adjacent Turkish man who moved to the U.S. at age 17, lived in the upscale neighborhood of Simi Valley, California, attended prep schools and already had a Nike shoe deal while playing basketball professionally. Who is he to tell Americans who have had a different experience that they should just shut the hell up and breathe in America’s exclusively free air?

Kanter has certainly been outspoken when it comes to oppressive nations like Turkey, where his parents are from, but he conveniently ignores the fact that there’s an entire racial population in this country whose collective lived experience involves constant racial abuse and profiling, police brutality, systemic racism and a history that, up until a small handful of decades ago, revolved around slavery and legally-sanctioned second-class citizenship.

America is chock-full of Black people, Muslims and Latino immigrants who don’t know what the hell white people and Kanter are talking about when they identify the U.S. as the end all, be all nation of freedom and liberty.

The fine folks on what right-wingers consider to be “woke Twitter” had a field day dragging Kanter and his off-white nonsense.

Like I said, I would never suggest that athletes “shut up and dribble,” but that doesn’t mean there aren’t certain people who would do well to simmer down, check their privilege and shoot the damn ball.

ALSO SEE:

Lee Elder, First Black Golfer To Play At The Masters Dies At 87

LeBron James Gets White Couple Booted From Game Allegedly Over Disgusting Remark About His Son

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T.I. Spreads Misinformation Claiming An Atlanta Mayoral Candidate Wants To Destroy The City’s Nightlife

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The Fight For Fibroids Atlanta Awareness Brunch

Source: Paras Griffin / Getty

As Atlanta voters head to the polls Tuesday to select the city’s next mayor, a disinformation campaign has popped up to discredit one of the two contenders. Spread by rapper T.I. on Instagram, an article from MTO News falsely claimed that Felicia Moore wants to close all the strip clubs and bars.  

T.I. claims that people’s livelihood and enjoyment are in danger if Moore has her way. He then tells people to vote for Moore’s opponent Andre Dickens.  

There’s just one hitch; there’s no indication that Moore is trying to destroy Atlanta’s nightlife. A nearly five-year-old video was shared in the egregious article to “prove” Moore’s desire to shut down all the strip clubs, except she doesn’t say what the article claims.  

A quick google search shows several other sites are running with this claim without any attempt to verify the accuracy of the allegation. As recently as Monday night, it was again reiterated that Moore does not want to get rid of Atlanta’s nightlife. In a tweet, an Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporter dispelled the false info.  

‘There are some fake articles/posts going around saying Felicia Moore wants to shut down Atlanta’s strip clubs/restrict their hours… that is false,” J.D. Capeluoto tweeted. “She has said multiple times that she doesn’t support closing clubs.” 

Moore has spoken about staffing up the code enforcement office and other related roles to enforce Atlanta’s laws. In a video posted on Nov. 8, Moore talked about wanting to meet with business owners within her first 60 days so that people are clear on the rules.   

Moore and Dickens advanced to the mayoral runoff election out of 14 candidates, including former Mayor Kasim Reed. But regardless of whether you are Team Andre or Team Felicia, this type of political shenanigans should be called out.  

Think about it. How is this any different from election misinformation shared by former President Donald Trump and his followers?  

There’s something rather selfish about people who only wade into something as serious as an election to post distortions of fact that speak to their particular personal interest. People should talk about issues of concern, but it requires context and facts.

In the 2020 election cycle, Get Your Booty To The Polls was a viral get out the vote sensation. No one should discount the power and importance of any block of voters. But they should be treated with respect and given the correct information to make an informed choice. Not have someone abuse their platform by spreading unverified claims.

Concerns have been raised about both candidates in terms of their approaches to public safety. And some have expressed concerns about Moore’s support in the northern part of the city, including Buckhead, which has a contingent trying to secede. 

The city of Atlanta requires both a functional city council and mayor to run. And part of that functionality requires clear and accurate information and an understanding of how things work. 

On Tuesday, Atlanta has the opportunity to elect a new mayor, several city council members and school board members. Atlanta is not a dictatorship, and no one person can wave a magic wand and disappear any business. Turning out voters and getting support for local elected leaders should focus on what’s good for the city and not simply fear of one’s bank account getting hit. 

See Also:  

Ohio Organizer Offers Lessons From Municipal Elections Ahead Of 2022 Midterms 

Republicans Rigged Congressional Maps To Take Lucy McBath’s Seat So She’s Running In A New District 

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