BY ANNETTE JOHN-HALL OF THE INQURER Well, now. Talk about black-on-black crime. I’m not referring to the city’s exploding homicide total, now at an abysmal 139, by the way. I’m talking about Chaka Fattah’s drive-by in the debate Monday night, the underhanded and unseemly shot he took at Michael Nutter in an attempt to undermine his candidacy for mayor.
Defending charges from opponents that his proposal to stop and frisk those suspected of carrying illegal weapons was a racist tactic, Nutter insisted his plan wasn’t about race. “It’s about criminals. As a person who’s been black for 49 years, I think I know a little about racial profiling.”
Though the subject then changed, Fattah was ready and loaded when he got his chance to speak, chiding Nutter, “I’m sorry the councilman has to remind himself he’s an African American.”
It’s one thing for the ludicrous Milton Street to sling “Watermelon Man” slurs, but for a seven-term U.S. congressman to stoop so low is astoundingly stupid. Fattah ought to be ashamed of himself. You could almost see this coming. For the past few weeks, Fattah has been inching up to this, target practicing here and there, accusing Nutter of not caring about the poor and the city’s neighborhoods, but making little headway.
Still, Fattah’s uncharacteristic race-baiting and backstabbing for black votes is a new low. Makes you wonder why Fattah has enlisted presidential hopeful Barack Obama – no stranger to “black enough” accusations – to help him raise funds. Nutter may look like a geek and appeal to white liberals, but so far he’s the only black leader to call the uncontrolled killing in the city exactly what it is.
After an especially bloody April weekend that ended with 10 slayings, Nutter called the carnage “one of the worst human tragedies the city has ever seen. The bell should be tolling at 12 o’clock,” he said, “for the black genocide that has been taking place in this city.”
That’s right. Black genocide. Because that’s what it is.
No other black leader – not Mayor Street, not Police Commissioner Sylvester Johnson, and, no, not even U.S. Rep. Fattah – has had the courage to speak the truth. It took a strong black man in the form of the wonkish Nutter to use such a call-to-action term to describe an epidemic that threatens to take out a generation of African American men.
INQUIRER: The Weak Hand Plays The Race Card