Dennis Kucinich has demonstrated that he, like Reps Bennie Thompson and Carolyn Kilpatrick, is out of touch with Black America. I've just lost a lot of respect for him -- because I can't believe it's simply a matter of being misinformed. At every level it looks like he's using race-baiting for personal, political gain.
Kucinich sent a press release Tuesday saying he'll participate in the Fox News / Congressional Black Caucus presidential debate. Despite a significant outcry in the Black community and committed activism in the Black netroots, Kucinich actually tries to position himself as standing up for Black voters.
Kucinich said for Sens. Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, and Barack Obama to skip the debate simply because it was to be broadcast on Fox was a snub of the Congressional Black Caucus.
"This is particularly troublesome because the concerns of African Americans should take precedent over what network is broadcasting the debate," Kucinich said.
Kucinich implies that the front runners are snubbing black voters and their concerns by refusing to attend the debate. Has he talked with every day Black Americans -- i.e. people other than the Fox-purchased CBC members whose talking points he uses almost verbatim? Has he talked with his good friend Maxine Waters?
Kucinich tries to act like he's standing up for Black folks, while ignoring the fact that most Black people think this is a horrible idea. If he had listened to Black talk radio, read Black blogs, or took a look at Black newspapers, he'd realize that the CBC is woefully out of step with Black America on this. Either he didn't bother check how Black people actually feel about this debate, or he knows and he doesn't care. Whatever the case, it didn't stop him from betraying his penchant for recognizing and pushing back on corporate control over legislators. In this case, he's playing right along, and in the process, furthering marginalizing the voices of everyday Black folks.
He also conveniently leaves out the fact that there are other forums that will focus on issues of concern to Black people -- Tavis Smiley's debate on PBS, for example, or the CBC's debate on CNN.
Kucinich is sidestepping the real issue here -- that Fox is a propoganda outlet that attacks Black folks on a regular basis, and that a leading Black political brand such as that of the CBC should not be lent to validate Fox as a forum for real political discourse.
Kucinich needs to know that it's not okay to act like he's "down" while supporting a propaganda network that privileges the most bigoted voices on race and racism and regularly launches attacks on Black people.