Rantz: Racism flies at Seattle protest as man mocks Kshama Sawant’s accent
An anti-racist protester himself committed a deplorable act of racism against Socialist Seattle City Councilwoman Kshama Sawant, mocking her accent. Earlier, Sawant flirted with racist rhetoric by implying people-of-color on the Council were sellouts.
After the racist incident, an argument broke out over the appropriateness of the bigoted move. The incident occurred as protesters, mostly peaceful, surrounded the East Precinct of Seattle to discuss their “demands” from the city.
Not only was this moment breathtakingly ironic, it was absolutely odious.
Kshama Sawant’s racist claim, first
Sawant was speaking to the group of protesters late Monday evening, first delivering a traditional stump speech attacking capitalism, the police, and establishment politicians, including Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan.
It was at times angry, as she shouted without a mask to the crowd. There was no social distancing at all.
At one moment, however, Sawant herself delved into murky, racist waters. Calling the police contract approved by the Council “racist”, she implied her council colleagues were sellouts.
“The City Council, at that time, was majority people of color, like me,” she said. “And yet I was the only ‘no’ vote on that contract. We have to remember that what built the movement is not people who are in power that may look like you or me, but it’s people who have shown through their actions that they are in solidarity with ordinary people and the marginalized community.”
She’s referring to Councilmembers Teresa Mosqueda, Debora Juarez, Lorenza Gonzalez, and Bruce Harrell. While reasonable people should be disgusted by this, Sawant retweeted the video asking it go viral.
Anti-racist then becomes the actual racist
As Sawant took questions from the crowd, one man grabbed the microphone for a long soliloquy demanding Sawant support the abolition of the Seattle Police Department. Sawant said she didn’t have a “one word answer” to whether she would get rid of policing, but given she supports a 50% reduction in budget, she obviously doesn’t back abolition.
The man wasn’t happy and he mocked Sawant’s Indian accent. It was disgusting. Sawant looked especially angry. He would later claim he didn’t intend it to be offensive.
What’s worse, while many booed him, some in the audience actually defended the man’s blatant racism at an anti-racist rally to address policing.
“They can both speak, they’re peace,” a young protester told a man who booed the racism. They exchange some vulgarities.
Watch the video here (warning: language)
Racism begets racism
The racist moments were disgusting. Sawant using race to imply anyone is a sellout is egregious. A man mocking the accent of Sawant while at an anti-racist protest is equally outrageous. And neither moments were necessary.
If Sawant has an issue with how the Council voted on a contract, explain why it was wrong. Calling a contract “racist” and then using identity politics to attack your colleagues is mean-spirited and counter productive.
Don’t like Sawant’s message on police reform? Fight the substance on her argument. Believe me, there’s a lot fundamentally wrong with her position. There’s no need to stoop to racist mocking.
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