Black and Brown Leave Green

The Democratic Candidate Triggered Voters to Just Say No

Caving in to Rudy was stupid, unnecessary, and, to many of us, alarming. We were supporting him as a remedy to Rudy, not a welcome mat. And yes, balls do count. It's unfortunate that we have lived in conditions that required great courage of our leaders, but we have known many. Black and Latino leaders have had a regular diet of ridicule, loathing, death threats, and worse. Being afraid of Rudy, or even of keeping him waiting—no respect.

After the World Trade Center attack, Green tried to show how realistic he could be about the coming financial disaster. If a man not only gives it up to Rudy but also surrenders hope on his agenda, what could we expect later on?

The "borderline irresponsible" ad he directed at Ferrer let people know it was all going downhill. It buzzed with questions hurled against working people of color at all class levels.

After the runoff, Green snubbed the "other New York" camp and union leaders while seeking unity for his campaign. He made no acknowledgments of our communities' needs in order to broaden his base, relying instead on listing the blacks on board.

Green really should have repudiated any use of hate literature. Yet his crew are still on TV denying that anything circulated to Jewish voters was racist. He should have fired those aides who met with Brooklyn Dems about using Sharpton as a tar brush. But he took advantage of a racially charged atmosphere, abetted by newspaper cartoons and rhetoric depicting Sharpton and Ferrer in stereotypes that have gotten people killed from Mississippi to Nazi Germany.

Anyone should say "not in my name" to crap from the 200-year-old catalog of racial objectification that directly preceded periods of lynchings from Reconstruction to the 1930s. This is how Japanese Americans ended up in camps, and what we hope to resist for Arab Americans today. To have accepted racism's largesse and played to it is heinous and unforgivable.

Green's post-runoff ads were tawdry ("Kill it!"), or cheesy, like the black radio spot with a sham Sapphire reeling off how "we" fought for the vote and so should use it for Green. Yikes. While Green feared whites would think he was pandering by even being seen with Sharpton, there is no other word for that ad.

In 1964 it was about stopping Barry "What's Wrong With Being Right?" Goldwater, and Lyndon Johnson ran with slogans you couldn't use today, like "All the Way With LBJ" and the anti-Goldwater "In Your Guts You Know He's Nuts." Fannie Lou Hamer said she'd rather go home than take a deal that was not what she promised the people in Mississippi—a role in the process. She did, and in 1968, black Mississippians had their day.

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