There has been much written about the racial rhetoric that has permeated political discourse since President Obama took office, and the media often highlights the racially inflammatory language used by some of his opponents. But racially charged language targeting black Republicans rarely receives much coverage, further fueling conservative suspicion of the mainstream media.
Late last month, Gloreatha Scurry-Smith, a congressional candidate in Florida’s Fifth district, found that one of her campaign signs had been vandalized. Smith says she initially wasn’t surprised that one of her billboards had been defaced, but was taken aback when she saw that her face had been spray painted white on a towering 8-foot by 4-foot campaign billboard.
Though she emphasized she does not know the culprit’s motivation, Smith did say that she interpreted it as an attack on her status as a rather prominent black Republican.
“As a black conservative often times you are thought of as an Uncle Tom or perhaps a traitor to your own race,” Smith told The Daily Beast. “I didn’t want to deal with that since we have such serious issues in our district that are way more important than this sign.”
Smith, who goes by “Glo,” says she almost didn’t tell people about the incident. She waited for days, praying for guidance with her family. Eventually, Smith and her husband decided it was worth going public on social media in case other signs had been similarly defaced.
But once the incident was made public on June 29, only conservative and local outlets seemed to really treat it like major news. By comparison, a Nebraska parade float that featured an outhouse marked “Obama Presidential Library” drew international press attention last week due to its perceived racial connotations.
So is this merely a matter of a lesser-known candidate in a little-covered political race drawing less attention than attacks on the most watched political figure in the world, or is there something else at play?
According to former Republican National Committee Chair Michael Steele, who is African-American, the media do not seem particularly interested in covering perceived racial slights when the victim is a black conservative.
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