In a recent article written by the Root’s Michael Harriot, Mayor Pete got called out for being a “lying motherfucker”! Seems like a pretty harsh thing to say, but Harriot was referring to Mayor Pete’s 2011 GAF about education and race in America. The at the time Mayoral Candidate talked about the value of education and how kids in lower income and minority communities haven’t seen it personally. He’s basically addressing the fact that there is no role models that shows them education has a valuable result.
This is where Harriot calls him a “lying motherfucker”. And to understand why, the article goes to say that Harriot had to jump a ditch between the black and white side of town. His friends helped him raise funds for college and would drive to make sure he could attend classes. He considers himself very lucky. Harriot did have support.
Mayor Pete got to attend Notre Dame and then Harvard. His father was a professor at Notre Dame and his mother held a prestigious position at even more prestigious school. Mayor Pete and Michael Harriot are lucky in their own respects.
In the 2011 Mayoral Discussion about education, institutional racism or classism weren’t even brought up. It’s about 4-5 white men of diverse ages sitting around a table discussing how poor and minority communities deal with the challenges of education without bringing up the cost of going to college or private school or institutionalized racism that is still alive and well in our education system. It comes off tone deaf.
I moved to the States when I was 8. I finished the Third Grade in India and when I came here, the school I attended wanted me to repeat it because I would be the youngest in the class. I guess a foreign kid that’s younger than the American ones doesn’t ring the bells of Exceptionalism. But my mom fought for me to stay in the Fourth Grade. But they decided that since I was coming from India, a developing nation, I would be put into a special reading class to help me “get good at English”. Correction, help me SPEAK ENGLISH WELL!
There wasn’t any intellectual reasons for putting me in the Special class other than the fact that I looked and sounded different than everyone in that classroom. I have to wonder how many times this happens to other minority kids across the country?
Mayor Pete’s statement makes it sound like there aren’t any businessmen going to minority neighborhoods and helping them out. Where is an Antonio Bandares type fella when you need one? You the kind of person that used to need classical dancing at the big theater but fucked up and now has to teach a bunch rough street talking youths. And in the midst showing these youths that they’re worth something, he himself finds that he is worth something and they win the dance competition to save the school. The thing we don’t see that the following year the school still gets shut down because of a Charter School that decided open up. And only one or two of the Black Kids get to go to that school because they fit the identarian quota this Charter school was looking for.
His statement is an insult to everyone in these neighborhoods working really hard to keep the lights on and their family fed. It’s a very subtle white knight argument. Look, I’m not against allies, but allies don’t insist they’re the only ones that can save these communities. These communities are doing what they can support each other. But ignoring the institutional systems that are put into place to oppress the middle & lower class, especially those in minority communities, well it’s just plain unintelligible.
Mayor Pete did call Harriot to discuss his statements and basically said that this statement is from 2011, even before his Mayorship began, so he can’t hold him to it. He’s grown as a person and learned a lot more. The problem is Mayor Pete doesn’t reflect what he’s learned. If he understands that the issue of wealth is connected to the education debate and historically speaking minority communities are the ones that get screwed over the most, then why aren’t you for erasing Student Debt and reforming the financial end of the education system?
What would be the problem with Publicly Funded Colleges? Well part of the problem might come from the for-profit schools that fund Pete’s campaigns. Notre Dame & Harvard as well as NYU, University of California and Stanford are contributing a good chunk of money to Pete’s campaign! PLUS large investment firms & banking organization like Blackstone, Charles Scwab and Wells Fargo! Both high tuition universities and the companies that lend money to the poorer communities have a lot to loose with Publicly Funded Colleges.
This one issue is reflective of a much larger problem for Mayor Pete. He doesn’t seem to be connecting with the Black Community. From demolishing homes in the largely black neighborhoods in South Bend that released a lot of toxins the air to the firing of the first Black Police chief in South Bend due to pressures from white officers, Mayor Pete hasn’t really made a statement about his blemished records.
Mayor Pete is becoming the shining example of why people don’t like intellect. They attribute it to out of touch, rich people that say fancy things then do nothing about it. Pete speaks very eloquently. Pete definitely scored very high on the verbal portion of the SATs! He’s a Rhodes Scholar. Not a ROUGE Scholar, although I think I’d much rather prefer a ROUGE Scholar. Someone that uses their booksmarts and philosophication to help the people and fight institutionalized oppression. But he’s not connecting with minority and lower income communities because of his past record.
Now Kamala Harris just dropped out of the race. She claims it’s due to lack of funds. She has $10 million cash on hand. Tulsi Gabbard is still in the race with way less that, so I doubt the real reason is the money. I think Kamala’s record was exposed like a raw nerve after the second debate! Gabbard exposed her horrendous criminal justice record and how she doesn’t care about low income & minority communities. She never really made statement about that but rather ran a smear campaign against Tulsi. The real reason Kamala Harris’ campaign failed is because of Kamala and her record.
If Mayor Pete wants to stay afloat in this campaign he’s going to have to address his record as Mayor and even before. How can someone that was in a Democratic Think Tank with Ted Kennedy be a voice for the people? Perhaps that’s why he’s going to prominent Black Churches and speaking to the congregation. It could be a form of intelligence gathering, so he can have a better way to dealing with his exposed nerves.
The issue with Mayor Pete is that there might be too many nerves to contend with. Over his 8 year term as the Mayor of South Bend, he’s not just had unfinished projects in low income neighborhoods, but has pushed to gentrify about 15 blocks of the Downtown. Diversity in his own cabinet has gone down and South Bend has 13% minority unemployment rate! PLUS he has missed the mark in helping the homeless in the city.
Look beautifying downtowns are nice and all but when a city needs real jobs and protections for their citizens, not a TGI Fridays or an AMC! From what it sounds like, South Bend needs deep infrastructural change and this Mayor has been far too out of touch and worried about his own political ambitions. These blind spots make Pete look like an uncaring elite patting himself on back for words well said. How’s that for gettin good at English!
I don’t know what the solution is to fix the problems of education and income through the lens of race. I’m not here to pretend that I can understand the black struggle in the American education system. But I can learn and listen and hope you’ll do the same with the immigrant struggle of education in America. Allies don’t have to solve all the problems. They can just be supportive of each other. Acknowledgment that there is a problem can help all parties involved can find a way to move forward together.