Pete Buttigieg’s appeal is very much tied to race

“I welcome the challenge of connecting with black voters in America who don’t yet know me—and before I share what’s in my plans, let me talk about what’s in my heart and why this is so important. As mayor of a city that is racially diverse and largely low-income, for eight years, I have lived and breathed the successes and struggles of a community where far too many people live with the consequences of racial inequity that has built up over centuries but been compounded by policies and decisions from within living memory.”

Mayor Pete Buttigieg said this during last week’s presidential debates and if you’ve ever wondered why he hasn’t connected with Black voters, that quote should explain it all. Let’s go through it.

First of all, if you want to connect with people, maybe taking it as a personal challenge isn’t the way to accomplish that. I mean, if you’re a politician, the reason for connecting with people—especially voters—especially Black voters, should be because you actually want to help us, not because you’re the type of dude to welcome challenges. For Pete, the best place to start should be asking himself why it’s such a challenge in the first place.

That brings me to the next part of this quote, “…let me talk about what’s in my heart and why this is so important.” The fact is that Pete has a whole lot of problems when it comes to race. The discussion can be about that truth or the discussion can be about what he claims is in his heart. One discussion is about facts and can lead to an actual solution. The other can only lead wherever he wants because it is about something only he can know. This is not an argument meant to persuade Black people. We know better. It is meant to comfort white people.

It is uncomfortable to know that the racism that works through you is about action and systemic momentum. It’s uncomfortable to know that for racism to stop you have to take action to help reverse that systemic momentum. It’s uncomfortable to know that you will have to confront your friends and family. It’s much more comfortable to think of racism as something you get to define, perpetually excluding yourself. It’s much more comfortable to think that everything will be OK as long as you yourself never become whatever you define as evil. It’s the most comforting, privileged, irresponsible and easiest thing in the world to believe that your claim of what’s in your heart should take any kind of priority.

Politically, it’s kind of his only move, though. If I were some craven asshole running a campaign and knew that my candidate had only ever worked against Black people, I might tell him to say the same thing. I might say, “Look, Pete. You’ve fucked over a lot of Black people in South Bend, so we’re gonna paint you as a good guy with a good heart who’s just out there trying to do the right thing. We might even take advantage of the racist stereotype of Black homophobia and then the Blacks will just look like homophobes who don’t have the good sense to support a good man with a good heart! Remember, we just have to get the nomination. The Blacks will come around eventually!”

That seems cynical, but so is the rest of that quote. I don’t know how many mayors you’ve met, but I’ve met a few and not a single one has ever “lived and breathed” the “struggles of a community.” Contrasting his financials with the racial wealth gap of his city shows us how much his argument struggles to live and breathe.

Buttigieg is not the first Democrat to stand on a national stage and claim to support Black causes while having a nearly exclusive history otherwise. But he is the first to do it in the Trump era. With the desperation of white Democrats to have anyone but Trump in office combined with his dismissal of his own place “in living memory,” Buttigieg scares me.

If this piece or this blog resonates with you, please consider a one-time “tip” or become a monthly “patron”…this space runs on love and reader support. Want more BGIM? Consider booking me to speak with your group or organization.

Comments will close on this post in 60-90 days; earlier if there are spam attacks or other nonsense.

9 thoughts on “Pete Buttigieg’s appeal is very much tied to race”

  1. CK- The nerve!! Possible health issues with a member of Shay’s family are none of your business! Why do you feel so entitled to know what’s going on with her child? Why were you looking at her home? You won’t even write your name on a comment but you expect to know all about someone else’s life? You sound like a scary stalker! And calling Shay “greedy” because she wants to get paid *for her work*? Do you work for free? I sure don’t. Why do you expect her to? Also, I don’t know what Maine is like, but $50-75k is not a lot of money anywhere I’ve ever lived, especially when raising a family.

  2. I don’t expect that you’ll post this. I was wondering why you can’t talk about the crisis with your daughter? It’s not hard to read between the lines that she has either an emotional or physical health issue. You’ve mentioned needing “a bucket of money” on Twitter, regarding what’s happened, and also “hiring you to talk. “I think that people might be more willing to help you out, if you’d open up more about your personal life. Otherwise, you just sound greedy. You must make between $50,000 – $75,000 per year, yet you give the impression that you’re still struggling. Obviously, you’re not. You have a nice new home, and ample property in upscale Saco, Maine. I’ve seen your “family home” before when we lived in Maine, so I’m speaking from experience.

    • Given that my child is a minor, who happens to be a teenager, discussing her issues in public is not appropriate. Period. If I felt that I needed to go the crowdfunding route, I would and in that case, there would be transparency. As someone whose work life is public, my family has explicitly asked that I keep our personal family business private. I am not sure why that is hard to understand. Those close to me or who know me personally are very aware of what we are facing.

      I am regularly bombarded with people asking for free work from me, asking people to hire me, especially as I deal with a matter that does require steady cash is not unrealistic. I regularly book 10+ speaking engagements a year, across the country. So mentioning that I am booking is hardly greedy. Neither is mentioning the fact that I do offer anti-racism coaching, which I have been doing for several months now.

    • You’re a piece of shit who’s mad that you saw a Black person not living in poverty. Go fuck a cousin or something, stalker.

    • Demanding that Shay explain her family situation, guessing at her salary, and then mentioning you know what her house looks like?

      That’s not at all creepy and gross.

      I’m sure that one day personality transplants will be available. In the meantime, so sorry you have to live with your shitty, weird, racist one, CK. Have a blessed day.

  3. thank you for breaking it down. brown and black people can know that yt people lying cause their lips moving but if we listen to the words without keeping this in mind, we can be fooled. at least i can. appreciate this.

Comments are closed.