Fool a black woman once, shame on you. And that's it. No fool me twice. She won't hate you; she just won't vote for you again.
-- Washington Post Metro columnist Courtland Milloy
Washington Post's Courtland Milloy wrote on Wednesday that after several high (and low) profile snubbings of black women in Washington, D.C. -- From Maya Angelou and civil rights icon Dr. Dorothy Height -- Mayor Adrian Fenty managed to tick off the one constituent who can make you or break you in a city where the black vote matters.
From The Washington Post:
How did D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty lose the love of so many black women -- the most faithful and forgiving constituents a black man in public office can have? The answer: He worked at it, went out of his way to snub and disrespect even the most revered sisters of distinction.
They include Dorothy I. Height, president emeritus of the National Council of Negro Women, who died this year; Maya Angelou, the poet; Susan L. Taylor, editor of Essence magazine; Oracene Price, mother of tennis greats Venus and Serena Williams; and former D.C. first lady Cora Masters Barry, founder of the Southeast Washington Tennis and Learning Center.
The list goes on and on.
Black women vote. Period. We show up. We support. We turn out. Especially if we love something. The family? We'll try to keep it together. The church? We'll pack the pews. Name your random injustice? We'll show up and march, boycott, picket, pass out flyers, write letters and organize. Name your hopeful, promising politician? We'll prop you up on your shoulders and do our best to get you across the finish line. But cross us and countless black women will go to their graves, sucking their teeth and tut-tutting how you "Just didn't get it."
Milloy is arguing that Fenty doesn't get it.
From The Washington Post:
They (black women) didn't ask (Fenty) to start closing schools or to embark on a campaign of firing seasoned black teachers. And when he started taking credit for academic improvements that were already underway when he took office, they were too through with him.
"I guess his head got too big, but I really don't know what happened to him," said Ethel Delaney Lee, 84, another disaffected Fenty supporter.
Milloy wrote that in a mayoral race poll Fenty only received 15 percent of the black women's vote when put up against his opponent D.C. Council Chairman Vincent Gray. And that's not because Gray is so cutting-edge and charming.
As I've written before, I rarely meet Fenty supporters when I'm out in the district. (Although I have met a couple since I wrote my last story about the D.C. Mayor race. I even got one to write in and comment on my previous post.) But Millory's story does not surprise me. I've written about black women and voting before, mostly in regards to the various candidacies of Democrat Harold Ford Jr.
In those stories I argued that despite how not "post-racial" and how unfair it may seem, many black women would likely feel uncomfortable voting for Ford just based on his white wife alone. There are plenty non-wife related reasons to take issue with Ford the Junior, but for a lot of black women that wife set such a bad taste in their mouths that short of going to Harlem to save struggling black teenagers with nothing but a math book and a copy of "Lean On Me," he wasn't going to get them to take a second look.
But whereas the appearance of a perceived racial "disloyalty" haunted Ford with black women (among other things), Fenty's problem is pretty much the same problem I've seen others have with him -- he's called cold. He critics say he's arrogant. That he's selfish, uncaring and doesn't listen.
Milloy just takes these critiques and applies them to black female voters in D.C.
So, again, I ask (this time to the ladies in the house) ... are you voting for Fenty? Is Milloy right? Post your view in the comments below!
(Hat tip to Savvy Broad for the story!)