Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is taking her political opponents to task over how they’re portraying her, quite literally.
Lightfoot, a Black woman, says she’s the latest Black politician to have been demonized by the old, racist dirty trick of having her picture darkened in a negative political ad. The twist this time, though, is that the TV spot in question doesn’t even target Lightfoot directly and isn’t in support of a political rival seeking to unseat the Democratic mayor. Instead, it’s the production of a conservative super PAC that wants to unseat Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, another Democrat, and is using the racist trope of Chicago gun violence spilling into white suburbs.
The ad, dubbed “Summer of Joy” was produced by People Who Play By the Rules super PAC, a group NBC News described as “fronted by longtime Illinois conservative operative Dan Proft and largely funded by billionaire GOP financier Richard Uihlein”. The ad begins with a clip of Lightfoot, a Black woman who generally sports a light brown complexion, instead appearing a deep mahogany as she speaks from behind a podium. “It will be a summer of joy in Chicago,” she says, before the video cuts to scenes of shootings as a narrator intones, “Thanks to Gov. Pritzker, the lawlessness of Chicago will soon be the law statewide.”
The 30-second spot makes no attempt at subtlety, with wording on-screen exclaiming, “Chicago violence is coming to the suburbs.” Pritzker, who is white, only appears in the last five seconds of the ad.