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Despicable racist ad has no place in politics

By Scott Tibbs, June 30, 2011

A political action committee in California stirred up a great deal of controversy with an advertisement against Janice Hahn, who is running for Congress in a special election. It is not unusual for ads by outside groups to be controversial, but the content of this ad had brought extra well-deserved criticism.

The ad is shockingly racist. The video is not safe for work, so beware opening it.

It is one thing to criticize someone's policy positions and point out the result of those policies. It is another to use openly racist images to frighten people into voting for you - in this case, young black men playing over-the-top stereotypical "gangstas" who will terrorize your neighborhood.

The only thing Turn Right USA managed to do is discredit themselves and take the focus off their message. Instead of having a discussion about Hahn's policies, the focus is on Turn Right's offensive racist message. It was a politically stupid move that only created sympathy for Hahn and forced her opponent to discuss Turn Right instead of his own message and criticisms of her.

And really, we should be beyond this kind of filth by this point. Do we really need to use the black male boogeyman as a political prop in 2011? No, we don't. This is the same crap we have seen for over a century, with black men portrayed as savages (or worse) who threaten the peaceful white community with their vicious crimes. Racism has no place in politics and Turn Right USA should be ashamed of themselves for playing to our worst instincts.

Finally, it is this kind of irresponsible fear mongering that makes a rational discussion on crime policy much more difficult. There are legitimate questions about whether incarceration is actually effective, especially the huge number of people we lock up for nonviolent crimes thanks to the War on Drugs.