*(Via the Los Angeles Times) – Larry Elder smiled the smug smile of a Black conservative who could very well be liberal California’s next governor.
“Where do you start with the damage Gavin Newsom has done to the state that we both love?”
He leaned forward to gaze across the room of white Republicans who had come to a hear him speak in Orange County.
“Rising crime? [It’s] because of this phony narrative that the police are engaging in systemic racism and cops are pulling back,” Elder said. “… When you reduce the possibility of a bad guy getting caught, getting convicted and getting incarcerated, guess what? Crime goes up.”
Then another smile, this one even more smug than the last.
“Can you say, ‘Duh?’”
I won’t lie. Few things infuriate me more than watching a Black person use willful blindness and cherry-picked facts to make overly simplistic arguments that whitewash the complex problems that come along with being Black in America.
And throughout his career — as a radio host, as a talking head for Fox News and now as a gubernatorial candidate — Elder has made a point of doing just that, usually with a lot of taunting and toddler-like name-calling of his ideological enemies in the process.
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As longtime political consultant Kerman Maddox put it: “Larry Elder goes out of his way to be at odds with the leadership in the Black community and at odds with the thinking in the Black community.”
Like a lot of Black people, though, I’ve learned that it’s often best just to ignore people like Elder. People who are — as my dad used to say — “skinfolk” but not necessarily kinfolk.
That’s certainly how many of L.A.’s Black and politically powerful have tried to deal with him over the years. As The Times once wrote of Rep. Maxine Waters’ refusal to be a guest on Elder’s radio talk show: “Why should she boost the ratings of a man who ridicules her by mixing a recording of a barking dog over her sound bites?”
But with polls showing that nearly half of likely voters support recalling Newsom and that Elder is in the lead to replace him, ignoring the self-proclaimed Sage from South-Central is no longer a viable strategy. Particularly for Black people.
Read the rest of this LA Times essay on Larry Elder by columnist Erika D. Smith, HERE.