We are fully into the political season for the 2018 midterm elections, and the political ads in which candidates take swipes at each other, boast about their accomplishments and say anything that will help them get votes are in full swing.
The black vote is of particular concern during this election. We have already seen evidence of voter disenfranchisement in many districts as Republicans attempt to slow down their ousting. If black folks make it out of this election still being able to vote, we will consider it a miracle.
There are, however, some Republicans who are taking a different approach. Consider for instance a radio ad that is running in Arkansas in support of incumbent U.S. Congressman French Hill.
The ad is egregiously racist in tenor, tone and message. It features the voices of who we are to assume are two black women who sound strangely like Diamond and Silk—the sock puppet black women Trump supporters trotted out to make us think black people actually really like Trump.
The voices are problematic, but not because they sound decidedly Southern or even unsophisticated—it’s that as they speak, I am picturing them dressed in ragtag clothing with panama hats, tap dancing in front of an audience of laughing and mocking white people.
That’s just how bad it is.
The ad starts off with the first woman asking “What do you think about what is happening in Washington?”
“Our congressman, French Hill, and the Republicans know that it’s dangerous to change the presumption of innocence to a presumption of guilt—especially for black men,” the second woman responds. “If the Democrats can do that to a white justice of the Supreme Court with no evidence, no corroboration, and all of her witnesses—including her best friend—say it didn’t happen? What would happen to our husbands, our fathers or our sons when a white girl lies on them?”
“Girl, white Democrats would be lynchin’ black folk again,” the first woman says.
Let’s pause here for a minute. Notice the language and imagery used right out the gate. It is an attempt to appeal to a fear of racial terrorism that black people innately have. Too bad we are already currently living under that threat in real time. It’s not some far off “maybe this could happen.” It’s actually happening every single day in ways big and small.
In addition to the extrajudicial shootings of black people by police, we now have the added stress of a militarized and unhinged police force being weaponized against us by white people who have found a way to use them as their own personal concierge service whenever a black person appears in a space the white person feels they don’t belong in.
The ad continues:
“Honey, I’ve always told my son, ‘Don’t be messing around with that! If you get caught, she will cry rape,” the second woman says.
“I’m voting to keep Congressman French Hill and the Republicans because we have to protect our men and boys. We can’t afford to let white Democrats take us back to bad old days of race verdicts, life sentences and lynchings when a white girl screams rape.”
I have an announcement to make.
White people won’t save you, no matter how many times you vote for them.
That is not a slight; it’s a fact. We as a people have been sold out by this nation’s political systems since the beginning of time. Why should it be any different now?
This whole thing is stupid.
The women are clearly reading off a piece of paper—and not very well at that. It doesn’t sound at all natural, and it is insulting to every single black person it targets.
While the ad focuses on the Brett Kavanaugh situation, it does us the favor of reminding us that all of these things—racists verdicts, life sentences for crimes that were not committed, etc.—are still happening right now. They never went away. If anything, they are gaining more momentum in the era of the Donald Trump presidency. So who is supposed to be fooled by this?
At the end of the ad, we are told it was paid for by Black Americans for the President’s Agenda and not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.
I had to Google this organization because I didn’t believe it was real. Turns out it is, and they have an entire website that I am not going to link to, but if you search the name, it will pop right up for you.
On Thursday, the website had pictures of many black people including Stacey Dash, Candace Owens and the like who supposedly support it. The leader of the organization was said to be West Virginia Delegate Jill Upson, who was listed as national chair.
As of Friday, the page has been changed. The large graphic showing the faces of all the black people supporting the cause has been removed—we suspect because some of those people, including Latrell Sprewell, would probably not appreciate being associated with the organization without their permission.
All mention of Jill Upson has been removed, and the about page now lists former congressional candidate Vernon Robinson as co-founder and treasurer.
It is also worth mentioning that French Hill himself has come out to condemn the ad.
In a statement sent to CBS News, Hill said, “I condemn this outrageous ad in the strongest terms. There’s no place in Arkansas for this nonsense.”
You have to wonder what kind of black person would be comfortable putting this out there to disservice their own people.