My hometown of Atlanta is in an uproar over the fact that voters could elect a white mayor for the first time in decades. And according to this article some black folks in Atlanta are fighting to have blacks hold on to the mayor’s office.
By ERRIN HAINES
The Associated Press
Atlanta Councilwoman Mary Norwood, who is white, is one of the front-runners for the Nov. 3 election, along with City Council President Lisa Borders and state Sen. Kasim Reed, both of whom are black.
All three have bristled at a racially charged e-mail circulated by a black leadership group calling for Norwood’s defeat before a possible runoff. If the black candidates split the African-American vote, Norwood may find herself in a runoff.
“I suspect we will see high levels of racial polarization,” said University of Georgia political science professor Charles Bullock. “This e-mail may have been used to promote turnout, to get higher levels of participation from the black community. But it could also spark higher levels of participation in the white community. It’s a scare tactic.”
Atlanta, which has billed itself as “the city too busy to hate,” elected Maynard Jackson as its first black mayor in 1973. Blacks who had won the right to vote less than a decade earlier rallied behind Jackson, who forced the city’s white business elite to open their doors to minorities and adopted strict affirmative action policies.
His election solidified the voting power of urban blacks, and the city has elected black mayors since. And while blacks have been the majority population and voting bloc in the city for decades, the demographics have changed in recent years.
I moved from Atlanta to Maryland with my parents in 1968 so I wasn’t living in Atlanta when residents there elected the first black mayor. This mayoral race should be very interesting. But to send emails telling black folks who to vote for is ridiculous. I would be offended if some group sent me an email telling me who to vote for.