How coincidental that news of the arrest of City Councilor Chuck Turner broke the same day the JP Gazette’s Nov. 21 issue appeared on newsstands with an article highlighting Turner’s denial of involvement in the bribery investigation that led to the recent indictment of state Sen. Dianne Wilkerson (“Turner: FBI tried ‘sting operation’ in City Hall”).
Among the many statements of denial of wrongdoing by Turner was the following: “As far as their behavior with me, it shows me [the FBI is] still an organization that seems to focus on trying to take black politicians down.”
In an era of new politics when an American president-elect who is black is overwhelmingly voted into office by a broad demographic swath of Americans—young, old, black, Hispanic and white—Turner’s statements appear as outdated racial rhetoric.
A recent article discussing the October arrest of state Sen. Dianne Wilkerson in the Boston Globe quoted a like-minded individual, Michael Thomas, who stated, “There’s always been a conspiracy to make sure that wherever there is a concentration of black power, their power is always diluted.” (“Some in home district still backing Wilkerson,” Oct. 29, 2008)
The alleged role of Ron Wilburn—a prominent businessman who happens to be black and was the FBI’s cooperating witness, according to reports in the Boston Globe—is conveniently missing from Thomas’s comments.
Wilburn’s alleged role as the key witness against prominent local black politicians undermines the victimhood mindset of Turner and Thomas and brings into focus the main issue—local politicians who are seemingly unable to hold themselves to higher standards of ethical conduct and responsibility.
Thankfully, we can look to a new era of politics with the likes of Barack Obama as president, who, yes, happens to be black, but who also leaves behind the politics of racial division and its associated victimhood mentality.
Hopefully, Obama’s mindset will trickle down to those supporters of Turner and Wilkerson who continue to play upon misguided notions of a racial conspiracy to remove black politicians from power.
The writer teaches African-American and ethnic studies, history and sociology in the online division of a college of the State University of New York.