CommunityPam's House Blend

St. Pete city council candidate attacked for being white, gay


Darden Rice is having to take heat, not only because she is running in a black majority district, but because she is a lesbian. The homo-bigots came out to blast her.

The black AmTaliban comes right out in the open again. I guess the saving grace here is that it can be exposed and discussed, right? The attack on a candidate for city council, Darden Rice because she is white, is not surprising either. She is the only white candidate in a primary where fewer than 4,000 votes could decide the outcome. Black voters account for more than 54 percent of registered voters and nearly 60 percent of residents. (St. Pete Times):

A town hall meeting with City Council candidate Darden Rice turned ugly after some audience members criticized her for being white and a lesbian. The meeting, held at the Enoch Davis Center Tuesday night, attracted about 40 people. Among them was Theresa “Momma Tee” Lassiter, an outspoken city activist.

During the question-and-answer session, Lassiter asked Rice if she was gay. When Rice replied that she was, Lassiter stormed out of the building.

“I answered her question, but she didn’t want to listen to what I had to say,” Rice, 35, an organizer for the Sierra Club who is running for the District 6 council seat, said Wednesday. Lassiter said she didn’t approve of Rice’s answer. “God’s not down with that,” she said.

… Also in the audience at the town hall meeting were several members of the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement. Group members believe a white person is unfit to represent District 6, which includes parts of downtown and Midtown and has a predominantly black population.

Karl Nurse, a Rice supporter who was in the audience, said several Uhurus shouted at Rice because of her race. One person called her family “murderers.”

“This is just straight up racism, and I don’t think we should roll over for it,” Nurse said. “It’s evil. It’s a very offensive argument.”

Just about every community has a self-styled, self-important community “activist” like “Momma Tee” Lassiter, who adds nothing to attempts to problem-solve, spending time showing up at community meetings and exacerbating race relation problems (both real and imagined), stroking their own egos for attention. Heaping the anti-gay nonsense onto the fire is the latest divisive tactic. It’s sad, and leaves all parties feeling defensive and more embattled.

It should be noted that Lassiter has been used in the past by Lockheed Martin to serve as a “community liaison” to conduct a smear and harassing campaign against whistleblowing government workers on behalf of the defense giant. Why does that not surprise me either. Sigh.

Whatever real tensions that exist in St. Pete won’t be addressed until all sides can communicate in a civil manner about hard topics — and misunderstandings that perpetuate the tensions. There is common ground to be found by all people that want to build a community, but it’s not going to happen with flamethrowing like this.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding