'Black press only' allowed in Georgia political event
Savannah, Georgia elected its first white mayor in 20 years back in 2015, so black politicians in the city decided to hold a meeting to see if the black community could unite behind a single candidate.
There was no TV or sound recording devices allowed. And white reporters were barred from the event.
A not very subtle sign informed the public:
Van Johnson, a Savannah city councilman and one of three black mayoral candidates to have announced campaigns so far, attended the Wednesday meeting at Bolton Street Baptist Church. Johnson said afterward he relayed "my vision for an inclusive Savannah, a progressive Savannah."
Asked by WTOC-TV about only black reporters being allowed inside, Johnson said: "It's not my meeting. Again, I was asked to come give a statement, and so I came and I gave a statement."
Louis Wilson, who says he's running for mayor again after an unsuccessful 2015 campaign, also attended the meeting.
Regina Thomas, a former Georgia state senator and one of the incumbent mayor's black challengers, skipped the church gathering Wednesday. She said the meeting appeared divisive and was scheduled too early in the campaign. The deadline for candidates to sign up for the race is Aug. 23. Thomas said she also had a scheduling conflict: her Bible study group met Wednesday night.
It's racism only if white people exclude black people. When black people exclude white people, it's "social justice."
I don't think we have to worry about a black mayor putting up "whites only" signs at drinking fountains or restrooms. But it would be a mistake not to identify this exclusion for what it is: segregation. A lot of blood was spilled in the 1960s to end the odious practice of segregation, and bringing it back in any form by any race should be criticized by all.
The nonsensical belief that white politicians can't represent the interests of black citizens or black politicians can't represent white citizens is a ludicrous example of racial politics. There would be a lot more blacks in Congress if Democrats stopped insisting on drawing majority-black congressional districts — especially in the South — when white people have shown themselves just as capable of voting for a black candidate as a white candidate.
Can white reporters write about a black political event fairly and accurately? Of course they can. That's what makes the sign so ignorant. It's not about "perspective." It's about race, and those who made and support this policy are, by definition, obsessed with skin color.
But don't call them "divisive."