Racially-charged Campaigns

House of Representatives Democrat Harold Ford, Jr. is running for the Senate in TN. He is one of two Black men who are in close contention for Senate Seats in the South, along with Republican Michael Steele.

Unfortunately, race has played a role in both of these elections. Harold Ford’s opponent, Republican Bob Corker, has run a TV ad with racist undertones against interracial dating and a radio ad with “Tom-Tom, jungle” drums playing during descriptions of Ford. Here’s the TV ad:

Steele has also been the subject of racial scrutiny in his election as well by supporters of his opponent.

Why must people resort to racism, racist indifference, or any other kind of evil to win elections? Stuff like this is what turns people off to “politics.” I have read that many think that being upset is a bit of an over-reaction, especially given the subtlety of the ads against Ford. So let me get this straight: it’s cool to send racist messages as long as they are not blatant? I argue that the subliminal approach could be much more sinister and effective than a full-frontal assaulty could be because it can persuade people who may not be aware that they’re being persuaded. The ability to do that is very powerful, and very dangerous. Be aware.

One Love. One II.

Black Issues
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About Garlin Gilchrist II

I am the City of Detroit's first ever Deputy Technology Director for Civic Community Engagement. My job is to open up the city's public data and information for the consumption and benefit of all Detroiters. I currently live in Detroit, my hometown, with my beautiful wife Ellen and our twins Garlin III and Emily Grace. I'm from Detroit. I created Detroit Diaspora, and was formerly the National Campaign Director at MoveOn.org. I also co-hosted The #WinReport on "The Good Fight," a an award winning, nationally syndicated radio show that was one of Apple's Best of 2013. After graduating with degrees in Computer Engineering and Computer Science from the University of Michigan, I became a Software Engineer at Microsoft. By day, I helped build SharePoint into the fastest growth product in the company's history. On my personal time, I sought out opportunities to connect my technical skills with community building efforts across the country. This led to my co-founding The SuperSpade: Black Thought at the Highest Level, a leading Black political blog. I served as Social Media Manager for the 2008 Obama campaign in Washington, and then became Director of New Media at the Center for Community Change. I spent two years creating and implementing a strategy for the Center to take it's 40 years of community organizing experience into the digital age. I speak before diverse audiences on effective & responsive government, empowerment in revolutionary new organizing spaces, increasing civic engagement & participation through emerging technologies and protecting civil rights in the age of the Internet. Full bio here.

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