The Q at Parkside

(for those for whom the Parkside Q is their hometrain)

News and Nonsense from the Brooklyn neighborhood of Lefferts and environs, or more specifically a neighborhood once known as Melrose Park. Sometimes called Lefferts Gardens. Or Prospect-Lefferts Gardens. Or PLG. Or North Flatbush. Or Caledonia (west of Ocean). Or West Pigtown. Across From Park Slope. Under Crown Heights. Near Drummer's Grove. The Side of the Park With the McDonalds. Jackie Robinson Town. Home of Lefferts Manor. West Wingate. Near Kings County Hospital. Or if you're coming from the airport in taxi, maybe just Flatbush is best.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Is It Racism To Blast Jesse Hamilton For Joining the IDC?

The Renegade Democrats: IDC
At first blush, of course not. Unless you hate the Independent Democratic Caucus for its blackness. Which, you really can't. Most of the members are white. And lo and behold one of them is being accused of sexual harassment (leader Jeffrey Klein).  That's not going to sit well either, and my crystal ball says the IDC has outlived its usefulness, and the NY State Senate will swing to Dems.

The Q has watched with some detachment as the whole thing unfolds, mostly because I know that Jesse wants what's best for his district, and in particular the folks in his district who have been held back and demonized for too long. And generally I support that - it's why I voted for him and why I can honestly say that some of his IDC tactics have paid off, particularly with Raise the Age and specific funding for locally important issues. But 2018 is a different time, and the pitchforks are out, as they are for almost anyone tainted by association with (gasp!) Republicans. EVEN if they vote like a Democrat.

No Jesse is not a Republican. And in fact, if the IDC explodes, one would hope that he would come back to the fold during a Democratic majority to pass all the legislation that Dems have struggled with for, like, decades. The question is...can he? Or has he burned so many bridges it's time for his constituents to consider new blood? Not a white guy or gal. Not a gentrifier or a developer. Just someone new. And that person (of color) has already raised a ton of money and raised his profile considerably.

A full-throated articulation of anti-IDC racism appeared in Kings County Politics yesterday by Mike Tucker (def click the link to read more - I'm selectively quoting below). If you've seen "Get Out," you'll get the clever reference. I'd ask that if you're white or anti-IDC you read the whole thing, then reflect, before responding. My own reaction twisted and turned a bit overnight.

Get Out was a film that dared to reveal the horror of liberal racism in America.
The villains here aren’t neo-Nazi skinheads, or southerners from red states. They’re middle-class white liberals. The kind of people who read this newspaper. The kind of people who shop at Whole Foods, donate to the NAACP and would have voted for Obama a third time if they could. The kind of people who protest black elected officials who are not aligned with their ideologies.
This same liberal anti Independent Democrat Conference (IDC) crowd created a fake website using Black Lives Matter in a derogatory manner. There are many white liberals who are promoting positive community dialogue, but there is a new crop of loud activists who are completely tone deaf.
The three black and brown IDC members are attacked constantly by white liberal groups online and offline with some groups even sending hate mail to their home addresses. I will call out racism as I see, hear and breathe it. We cannot be shielded from the reality that — beyond white racism — is white privilege and obliviousness that cannot be excused. We laugh off the less overt racism. Chris repeatedly does this in Get Out. We’ve gotten to a place in society where people of color don’t react because we’d be reacting all day. We’re trained, subconsciously or not, to protect white fragility.
I attempted to talk to one of the anti-IDC protesters about Senator [Jesse] Hamilton (D-Central Brooklyn) to no avail. He called Senator Hamilton names as if he were a dog. I told him he had a problem of white privilege. The harsh reality is that people in a position of privilege benefit more from ignoring marginalized perspectives than listening to them.
They don’t really understand as people of color we face racism daily. First, we become angry about the racism. Then we get angrier with ourselves, because we don’t know how to make you stop, or how to make you care enough to stop those who pull the triggers. Senator Hamilton was stopped by the police this summer, he was only giving a warning after the cop noticed a white senator in the passenger seat.
I attended an anti-IDC town hall last summer and the first thing I realized was that room was over 95% white liberals. The optics were bad, African-American and Latino supporters defending elected officials against white liberals. They vehemently attacked Senator Hamilton for being a member of the IDC. They did not notice his stellar record of service and initiatives, which I found mind boggling. We’ve been at war with Republicans for years. So when a group of liberals tell Senator Hamilton to get in line with establishment Democrats in Albany, you can imagine how I disapproved of the blatant racism.
This past year I have seen some of the worst forms of liberal racism directed at elected officials. City Councilmember Brad Lander (D-Park Slope, Windsor Terrace, Kensington) never attacked Senator Jeff Klein, the chair of the IDC directly, but he had no problem being aggressive with Senator Hamilton on Twitter. A member of Lander’s Facebook group #GetOrganizedBK publicly posted the senator’s home address with complete disregard for the safety of his family. The Senator has a 90-year-old mother-in-law, a wife, and two kids. You would think Lander’s group would have a little tact, not so much. Lander’s group even had a debate about keeping Senator Hamilton in their group, similar to the auction scene in Get Out.
I suffered the death of my son to a police officer. The Senator and I grew close because of his passion to end Broken Windows Policing. In 2014, Mayor Bill de Blasio, our first Democratic mayor since David Dinkins, brought back Commissioner Bratton and re-embraced Broken Windows. Eric Garner and my own son, Stephonne Crawford, and numerous others have died because of Broken Windows policing. How can NYC call itself a liberal city if over 85% of misdemeanor arrests are people of color?
He is the same mayor who viciously attacked Senator Hamilton at a townhall for being a member of the IDC. Again, he never attacked Senator Klein even though Senator Klein has been a member of the IDC since 2012. These same white liberals gave the mayor a pass for his horrific criminal justice record and named him the most liberal mayor in America. What is more important, defending mainline Democrats or defending children who get killed, like my son?
I never saw a black elected official attack a white IDC member, but I always see white elected officials attack black and brown IDC members. The dirty secret of New York City politics is the impact of racial politics, the one thing no one wants to talk about.
Local Democrats are using the IDC drama to deflect from the fact that they have no answers for ending Broken Windows or that the lead paint issue has become an epidemic; in one Census tract in East New York, 25% of children tested positive for lead. I have not read a press release from the Working Families Party condemning the mayor for lead poisoning. What is more important, the health of our children or party politics?
If well-meaning white people want to help us, start by holding all elected officials accountable and not spreading hate towards black and brown elected officials because they are easier targets. If you want productive political change, then you must start with yourself and your own tone. It’s not fair that we have to police our own emotions and privileged people don’t. It’s not fair that you have to keep the conversation open but they can disregard you. It’s not fair that they have privilege and everything is stacked in their favor so that they don’t have to care but you must.
People in positions of privilege bear an even greater responsibility. A responsibility that the writer of Get Out takes seriously.
Mike Tucker is the Founder of the Lay the Guns Down Foundation.


Alex said...

De Blasio never attacked Klein?

DBD ripped Klein a new one on WNYC. It took me a whole 15 seconds to find this story.

If this author is seeking credibility, he'll have to publish somewhere other than KCP. I don't have time to find all of the other factual errors in this piece (I suspect that there are MANY), and I assume that KCP didn't even try.

Leah said...

I read the piece in full, and I found it appalling. The anti-IDC activists have by no means limited themselves to trying to unseat IDC members of color. They are very active in trying to get rid of all IDC members. The Brooklyn based groups, understandably, are focused on Brooklyn, which means Hamilton. Also, very closely related, there is an extremely active group to defeat Simcha Felder, who caucuses with the Republicans. The Brooklyn based groups that are working on defeating both Hamilton and Felder (who is white) have one goal in mind: getting progressive legislation through the state senate. And, of course, the person who is running against Hamilton is black as well. So, there is no effort to try to get rid of black representation of our area. It is true that the groups that formed from Get Organized BK are predominantly white, but there are many people of color who are very active in the movement to get rid of the IDC. I don't like the vitriol from the anti-IDC groups that equate the IDC with Trump support, but I find the rhetoric from the Hamilton campaign even more repugnant.

babs said...

The article is crap, and Kings County Politics is a known Jesse Hamilton and IDC organ. Of course Brad Lander attacked Jesse Hamilton over Jeff Klein - most of his City Council constituents live in the 20th State Senate District, which is Hamilton's. We may not be able to do anything about Klein, but we can, and should, get rid of Hamilton.

The website has a great summary of all the progressive legislation (including Universal Health Care) that passed the Assembly in the past year but got turned down in the Senate - thanks to IDC votes.

babs said...

The IDC made me angry but his shenanigans w Pia Raymond insuring another round of Mathieu Eugene have made me determined never to vote for him again even if he does return to the fold.

babs said...

If Jesse Hamilton really wanted what's best for our district do you think he'd have ruined our chances for a talented, progressive, unbought City Council rep like Brian Cunningham by inserting his protegee into the mix? That move convinced me that he wants what's best for Jesse, all the way down the line. He'd just better not mess with my Assembywoman, or he will get what's coming to him!

Alex said...

Just to name one progressive issue, senators and reps from our district should be kicking and screaming for early voting. It took me 1:45 to vote in the last presidential election. But guess what? Not on the republican agenda, so it’ll never reach the floor. Infuriating. Good for Diana Richardson for managing to be polite and stay away from the IDC issue - I don’t think I could do the same.