There are some folks that claim we keep “stirring up” issues by talking about racism, so stop talking about it (no, really).
I take the tactic that if I provide concrete examples as teaching moments, those who are unaware can change their behavior, or join us in the fight to eradicate racism.
Some people won’t change and don’t care. You can’t win them all.
So today’s teaching moment involves a federal judge in Florida and a local city council candidate. You may remember my prior blog post regarding an incident in Chicago of a man attacking an African American female judge. This is quite disturbing as well.
US District Judge for the Southern District of Florida Marcia Cooke (pictured above), was in the parking lot of her building in the upscale community of Bay Harbor Islands. She was wearing her navy blue power suit, pumps and pearls, and was carrying a briefcase– just as we were all taught to do in law school. Bay Harbor Island City Council candidate Ken Eskin was out campaigning, and approached her.
He greeted her with these words: “What family do you work for?”
She promptly informed him that she has lived in Bay Harbor for twenty years. He had the nerve to still try to give her campaign literature (as if she would vote for him after being called a maid).
Since then, he has apologized, stating that he had no racial intent. He sent her a card personally. His reasoning was that Bay Harbor was 92% white.
That’s lovely. But as a politician, you should know who that 8% consists of, especially if one of that 8% includes a powerful judge who has been on the bench for over a decade.
Even better, how about not making assumptions based on race? Hand out your literature, chat nicely with everyone, and if the person is a maid, they will go back to their employer and say, “wow, I met the nicest man today.”
Racism always gets revealed. It may take some time, but the truth comes to light.
To the people of Bay Harbor, the election is April 21. Of the three candidates, I certainly hope the other two are more viable than the one who has shown himself to be ignorant and insensitive. He would be a poor reflection of your lovely city.
Check out the full story and media coverage from the good folks at bloggingblackmiami.