Meanwhile, an editor for the Indianapolis Star, is raising eyebrows by a blog post he made today at Expresso. RiShawn Biddle, who has been absent from the blogging scene for many months, published a post today entitled, The "Indianapolis Black Democrat Minstrel Show", which is highly critical of the city's African-American Democrats. Biddle likened Monroe Gray's tenure as the Council's President to Zip Coon, a derogatory, racial slur on black men dating to the days of slavery. The post makes some very salient points on the state of Democratic black leadership in the city right now, but most would agree the Zip Coon analogy is way over the top. The pertinent passage reads:
Then there's the embarrassing spectacle that is Monroe Gray, whose tenure as city-county council president is being marked by a lack of decorum during council sessions, the videos of himself on YouTube and responses to allegations of corruption that wouldn't be acceptable to a child who claimed his dog ate the homework. His act, more Zip Coon than honorable statesman, epitomizes the lack of seriousness some Black politicians show in their work; it's just inexcusable.
One particularly telling comment in Biddle's post today was this one about Rep. Julia Carson (D): "Last year, we had Julia Carson's mudslinging, her protestations of physical competence despite all-too-clear signs of declining health, and the spectacle that was 300 East." If there were "all-too-clear signs of [Carson's] declining health", then why pray tell did the Star's editors endorse Carson for another term in Congress? Other parts of Biddle's post are equally stinging to black Democratic leaders. Summarizing various events over the past couple of years, Biddle writes:
Biddle should be applauded for saying what needed to be said on behalf of African-Americans. However, I worry that his stridency will get him in a lot of hot water with more than a few of the city's African-American leaders.
If I hadn't seen this with my own eyes over the past three years, I would have thought they came straight out of "Scrub Me Mama with a Boogie Beat." I don't know any powerful Black people like that. Do I? Sadly, we do. Before our eyes stand men and women charged with serving the citizens of this city behaving badly, awfully, arrogantly, as if they didn't receive any home-training. They have been given power for which they could do plenty for the poor Black neighborhoods which they represent. But for them, their jobs offer them chances for self-enrichment, opportunities for petty foolishness and the possibilities of grandstanding on public access television so they can use their 'juice.'
Meanwhile residents in Martindale-Brightwood fear for their lives, Haughville homeowners see the aluminum siding snatched off their houses and Mapleton-Fall Creek residents watch abandoned homes burn down. Those driving around Lafayette Square hit potholes; sewers continue to overflow on the Southside. Simply put, the very services they expect government to provide fall by the wayside.
Even worse, the proverbial tap-dancing of Gray and Company is aided and abetted by folks who know better. They understand that many in this town fear the day that a Black man or woman will become mayor, scared that as soon as that happens, Indianapolis will finally be the New Detroit in all its squalor. These blatant, random acts of stupidity deserved to be called out. Those who know better, however, turn away and let the silliness go on.
Unlike the Downtown vagrants, the politicians aren't mentally ill, fighting addiction, are simply laxy or have failed to learn middle-class behavior. And unlike the performers on "I Love New York," they aren't shuckin' and jivin' for fame or fortune. It's bad enough that they don't attend to their politically-appointed tasks. They could at least live down the stereotypes, not live up to them.
UPDATE: Biddle's post at Expresso has been updated to remove the comparison of Monroe Gray to Zip Coon.