Monday, April 26, 2010

Race politics, and NC Senate District 3

In the race for Democratic Primary for NC Senate District 3, there are some interesting developments. Clark Jenkins is the incumbent, and is a white farmer. He may call himself a businessman. But he’s a farmer. The other lead candidate is Frankie Bourdeaux, a black businessman. He and his wife own a mental health clinic. I heard on the radio this morning Mr. Bourdeaux is putting out a robo-call asking black Democrats to turn out in good numbers for the Democratic primary in May. This should be embarrassing for the Democratic Party. Basically, it’s the “help a brotha out” mentality.

If Bourdeaux really wants to win the election for valid reasons, he needs to get his message out to the voters and not ask black people to vote for the black candidate. Local Democratic leaders need to call Bourdeaux to the carpet on this. I’m not supporting either candidate, but I imagine there would be quite a controversy if people opposed to Bourdeaux basically accused him of winning only because of his skin color. And it would not even be that far-fetched of an argument considering this new bit of information.

And if you do not think anything is wrong with this, what do you think would happen if Clark Jenkins asked all the white people to vote for him? He would not even be allowed to come back home. He would not have to worry about the local media. The national media would be camped outside his home. It is still racism, no matter how you color it. Racism is the same either way, and Mr. Bourdeaux should be ashamed of himself.

Even Mr. Bourdeaux's wife has made similar statements. The Rocky Mount Telegram quoted her, At the end of his remarks, Bordeaux’s wife, Faye, asked the crowd to consider her husband’s background, race and affinity for the residents of District 3 before they go to vote.
“This is a 58 percent minority district,” Faye Bordeaux said. “Why can’t we have someone in that seat who is qualified to do the job and who also looks and sounds like the people he represents?”

What she failed to bring up is how this is a 58% minority district. The district includes Martin, Edgecombe, and parts of Pitt, Bertie, Tyrrell, and Washington counties. The district lines are drawn up to elect a black person. Instead of giving the most populated county in the east (Pitt) it's own senate representative, the county is divided up, giving parts of it to district 3, and parts to district 5. Even the racial breakdown of the counties doesn't equal 58%. Pitt county is only 33% black; Martin is 45%; Edgecombe is 57%; Washington is 49%; Tyrrell is 39%; Bertie is 62%.

The Bourdeaux's should think about why they are running for office, and should plan on representing everyone in their district if elected, not just black people.

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