Democratic National Committee member John Parker resigned Wednesday
after he reportedly referred to African Americans as "colored people
Parker blamed his Jim Crow-sounding slip of tongue as a casual instance of twisting the phrase “people of color” during a Jan. 22 party meeting at the Burrito Gallery in Jacksonville. He also allegedly said something along the lines of how "shit" was "fucked up after integration," and allegedly called school desegregation "inappropriate."
Following the colossal fuckup, even Parker’s wife – Lisa King, the chairwoman of the Duval County Democratic Executive Committee – joined the chorus of people pushing for Parker to resign
from his position.
“Though it is painful and awkward to air this conflict publicly, I have told John from the beginning that the most appropriate course of action for him was to resign,” King told First Coast News
in a written statement.
She adds, noting their time spent together over 23 years of marriage: “I have never before heard him refer to African-Americans as anything other than black or African-American. When we returned home I told him that his choice of words and statements offended people. When I spoke to others present they confirmed their concern and offense.”
But Parker couldn’t tell that much for himself during the event? Talk about oblivious, because another African American person present at the time, Diallo-Sekou Seabrooks, told First Coast News that Parker “freely used” the phrase “colored people” and also expressed his concerns of how he hoped Jacksonville wouldn’t eventually resemble Atlanta and its majority-black local government.
Still, Parker reportedly
continued to deny those claims and others, such as that he spoke of integration’s aftermath in a belittling fashion that evening and, on a separate occasion, called an unnamed woman the “mayor’s mammy” and allegedly referred to the local Working People Caucus as the “Poor Black People Working Caucus.”
“I’ve tried to turn a blind eye to the disrespect, sexism, fascism and racism for the sake of the party,” James Morton, a member of the Duval County Democratic Black Caucus, told the Sunshine State News
. “On several occasions, both on the local and state level, I’ve tried not to pile on the already fragile Democratic Party, and not air our dirty laundry in the media and in the court of public opinion.”
Doesn't an instance like this belong in the court of public opinion, though? Whether Democrat, Republican, or anything to the left, right or in between, shouldn’t the bar be set at, say, not uttering the phrase “colored people?” That seems like a decent rule of thumb.
James Deininger, a Jacksonville-based secretary of a group called the Florida Democratic Senior Caucus, agrees. In a Feb. 8 letter to state Democrats and Florida Democratic Party Chairwoman Terrie Rizzo, he complained about Parker’s remark and expressed his concerns over the messaging sent by the official silence over the remarks.
“In a time when many believe the Republican President of the United States makes racist remarks towards blacks, dreamers and immigrants such behavior cannot be tolerated by anyone in our party – especially those who hold leadership positions,” Deininger writes. “It should be clear that protecting leaders in our party who are perceived to make racist remarks is nothing more than defending and preserving institutional racism.”
Rizzo broke her months-long silence today, saying it was time to show Parker the door.
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