Race matters
November 29, 2012 9:53 AM   Subscribe

Manhattan District leader Mark Levine plans to run for a city council seat in 2013, for District 7. The problem? Thomas Lopez-Pierre, a Harlem activist who is also running for term-limited Councilman Robert Jackson’s seat, circulated an e-mail late on November 26th in an attempt to plan a “private meeting” to “discuss the potential damage to the political empowerment of the Black and Hispanic community if Mark Levine, a White/Jewish candidate was elected to the 7th Council District in 2013.”
posted by roomthreeseventeen (9 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Kinda stupid to put it down in writing, but from a political point of view, it's a valid concern.

If you're an 'activist', you'd want the winner to be in your debt, I'd think. A candidate that won without you is less likely to take your calls.
posted by madajb at 10:14 AM on November 29, 2012

Oh my goodness, if the incredibly racist assumptions in that statement were true, then not a single Asian person would have voted for Barack Obama, because we all know that people only vote for candidates with whom they identify racially. Really? The Hispanic community in the district will be confused if there's more than one Hispanic candidate in the contest?

I don't see what the problem is. Anyone posting racist trash like this who had an ounce of shame would have the good sense to withdraw from the race. If Mr. Levine wins, and the exit polls show that he garnered a strong percentage of the votes from Black and Hispanic voters, then will Mr. Lopez-Pierre retire from public life? I mean, how can you be a politician when your assumptions about your own desired constituents are so wrong?
posted by 1adam12 at 10:14 AM on November 29, 2012

“He cannot come and pimp–and I hope you quote me on this–he cannot come and pimp the black and Latino community to be his foundation for his political empowerment.”

This is HILARIOUS coming from someone who (1) aspires to be a pimp himself, having opened an extremely marginal venue with a thin veneer of "singles" over a high-priced brothel core; and (2) works as a real estate "broker" in NYC. His entire life is based around extracting rents from others' work through minimal and vaguely described services to the parties to a transaction.

Special bonus: Count the mentions of "no broker fees" embedded in the quasi-history of Harlem created by Mr. Lopez-Pierre. Lopez-Pierre is to marketing as a hippo's rapidly rotating tail is to a stream of feces except that judging from the present media coverage he may lack a non-stick coating.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 10:19 AM on November 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

Well, the non-stealth anti-Semitism is really the cherry on top with this.

What a fucking asshole.
posted by gsh at 10:25 AM on November 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

Oh my god, a New York political campaign had race dragged into it!

Actually that is kind of interesting since to an outside observer race often seems to play a role from day one.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 10:49 AM on November 29, 2012

Kinda stupid to put it down in writing, but from a political point of view, it's a valid concern.

A little googling makes it obvious that this guy is a true sleazeball. The only "concern" here is whether or not Lopez-Pierre can win the seat. He wants the black and hispanic communities to unite behind one candidate: him. His concern is as legitimate and sincere as the concerns embodied by the Southern Strategy. If he doesn't believe that a white person can represent a district with a lot of minorities, does he believe that a minority can represent a largely-white polity? Because I do.

There are more important things than race when it comes to representing voters -- things like policy, character and efficacy. Heck, that's why I voted for Obama.
posted by Edgewise at 11:12 AM on November 29, 2012 [2 favorites]

The thing that cracks me up is that there is all kinds of subtext here about class and gentrification which is being kept under the surface by open talk about race/ethnicity. In New York it's weirdly more OK to talk about a particular neighborhood being Dominican or Chinese or Polish than it is to talk about class privilege.

Only in New York City politics is is perfectly OK to say, "WTF we can't vote for a white Jewish guy to represent our district!" when what you really mean is "Buncha rich hipsters gentrifying our neighborhood..."

It actually seems pretty significant to me that a white guy is running to represent a part of the city with such a historically strong Black/Hispanic presence. I don't know that I'd not vote for him, and obviously this Lopez-Pierre dude sounds like a sleaze. But I can also really understand why Levine wouldn't be welcome as a candidate in that part of the city, why forging alliances with Black and Hispanic communities would be a priority for Levine, why Lopez-Pierre would feel locked out by that, and why some people in the community would feel uneasy about the whole thing.

Also, if Lopez-Pierre is a real estate broker in Upper Manhattan, the idea that he doesn't have a dog in this fight is hilarious. Either he's an opportunist enabling landlords to attract well off white renters and working with developers to gentrify the area, or he's a slum-lord with a boot on the neck of the very working-class Black and Hispanic residents he's suddenly trying to appeal to. I don't think there's really a third way, in Manhattan real estate.
posted by Sara C. at 11:57 AM on November 29, 2012

I'm sure Ron Unz will be in full support of Lopez-Pierre on this.
posted by oneswellfoop at 2:06 PM on November 29, 2012

It's always amusing to see people who are surprised to find out that people outside of their race/gender/creed can have the same mindset that they do, and are appalled when the others do the same things that they've been doing the whole time.

Xenophobia: alive and well.

(and by "amusing", I really mean "I'm pretty sick and tired of this sh*t but I don't see it changing any time soon without some sort of violent revolution but I like my cushy life too much to get involved in something like that." So I guess I'm as bad as anybody else.)
posted by Blue_Villain at 6:58 AM on November 30, 2012

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