Race and the Mayor's Race in Atlanta
The recent suggestion that it is somehow racist to highlight an agenda that promotes the interests of African American voters is patently false. It is a red herring that polarizes debate about electing the most qualified candidate for Atlanta's next mayor.
The need for African American voter and taxpayer interests to be addressed by all candidates is just as legitimate as it is for candidates to respond to issues raised by the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, Georgia Stand-Up, Central Atlanta Progress or any Neighborhood Planning Unit (NPU).
News coverage to date of an analysis presented to the Black Leadership Forum has been incendiary and misleading. To correct the record, Aaron Turpeau is not the author of the memo, nor is anyone associated with the Black Leadership Forum.
We are the sole authors and we stand by our academic analysis, with the exception for the error regarding the political affiliation of Mr. Spikes and Mr. Thomas, for which we have apologized.
Furthermore, the reported assertion that our statement was written on behalf of any candidate or to instruct African Americans how to vote is flatly wrong. African Americans in Atlanta have been voting for decades and are quite capable of making up their own minds.
Make no mistake, we do not work for any of the candidates. We have held no formal discussions with any of the campaigns and have made no contributions to any of the campaigns.
In our statement we presented views that have been articulated in various parts of the community. As we argue in the statement, African Americans should "critically evaluate all candidates" because "we have arrived at a place in time where we can no longer afford to just look at race in the Mayor's race or individual council races."
However, these key quotes from our document have been excluded from media coverage and by individuals who apparently have not read the document.
We stand by our belief that "a black agenda would enable African American interests to be respected by any administration." The interests of African American voters are just as legitimate as other Atlanta voters, and the notion that we must apologize for highlighting those interests is absurd.
William Boone, PhD
Keith Jennings, PhD Source