DAILYKENN.com -- Racism is running amok in Birdgeport, Pennsylvania; a city with a population that is 80 percent white.
Those white people elected a black mayor.
The black mayor seems to imagine himself immersed in white racism.
That, of course, creates a dilemma: If the white town folk are so racist, why would they elect a black mayor?
The answer may be quite simple: We tend to find what we're looking for. And if what we are looking for is white privilege and racism, we see it everywhere.
Mayor Mark Barbee is 29-year-old and openly homosexual.
More recently Barbee has voiced concern over death threats that, according to Borough Council President John Pizza, are bogus.
"There were no threats against Mark or any council members, sir. The threat was no threat. It was a concern that a certain individual might be close to the edge," said Pizza, noting that he "did not keep that information from anyone. There are too many lunatics in the world." (source: phillyvoice.com)The mayor sees racism where none exists. He hears death threats where none exist. Maybe the mayor is psychotic. Or he may simple be incompetent and using false allegations as a convenient though unconvincing cover.
From post-gazette.com ▼ ERIN MCCARTHY The Philadelphia Inquirer
“Race is a very polarizing issue, and a lot of people tend to lean out when you even say the word,” said Mr. Barbee, 29. “But this is a conversation that we as a town have to have.”
Others say racism was not a pervasive issue in town — until Mr. Barbee brought it up.
“Bridgeport was always all-inclusive,” said Borough Council President John Pizza, 74, a lifelong resident. “We never picked on anybody. … To me, that was the charm.”
Mr. Barbee’s critics say their complaints have nothing to do with the mayor’s race or sexual orientation. They say they simply disagree with him on policy and approach.
“There were a couple people who said some ugly things,” said resident Jeffrey Spiron, 41. “Now it just seems to be all about his race. And it’s hard to say that in this kind of climate. You almost can’t challenge someone’s capabilities in this kind of climate.”
Mr. Barbee said: “The national political climate is absolutely accountable for what is happening. I think Bridgeport is often a microcosm of what’s going on nationally.”
Pizza agreed. “I think what is going on with the national politics is also affecting our town — and any small town,” he said. “I feel the (national) leadership we have today is promoting a division, and they’re not afraid of the fact that they’re promoting a division.”
In Bridgeport, the discord began in the spring when Mr. Barbee proposed an anti-discrimination ordinance, already adopted by other Montgomery County towns. The measure passed the council 4-3 but not before stirring up contentions about race, the mayor said.
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