Some things are common knowledge. The sky is mostly blue if you don’t live in Los Angeles. Water is wet if you can still find it in Texas. White people — particularly those who espouse conservative beliefs — don’t want to be reminded of their White privilege
I assumed most people who reach a certain arc of adulthood know to carry these truths with them, but in the case Regina V. Ross Roundtree (pictured), that last fun fact is a newly lesson learned following her abrupt firing from the Penny Bacchiochi (pictured above) for lieutenant governor campaign. Roundtree, a paid consultant, was let go of her duties once word got out that she wrote a Facebook post complaining about her employer’s opponent, Heather Bond Somers, making jabs about her and essentially exploiting the perks of White privilege.
The post — now deleted — featured Roundtree claiming:
“People think what they think, but help the party out and don’t plaster your complete sense of privilege. This is an example of what is sometimes phrased as ‘White privilege.’ The way Heather talks. The arrogance and belittlement of Penny’s and her family’s feelings or any other person who has experienced racism. Our feelings or the fact that we may say something is an embarrassment to the party.”
Somers’ campaign manager, Jon Conradi, responded in a statement:
“The Heather Somers campaign calls on Bacchiochi to immediately disavow herself of these divisive comments which have no place in the Republican Party or in public discourse.”
Well, I’m not about to get axed for talking about White privilege, so let’s just keep this party going.
The Somers campaign’s response is — for lack of better phrase — typical “White people s**t.” As in, the Somers campaign can release campaign ads that speak to certain issues that stoke the fears of GOP primary voters — who love Black people about as much as David Duke wants to call Fantasia his soul mate — and dismiss Bacchiochi’s discussion of the problems that come with having an interracial family –Bacchiochi’s husband is Black. But don’t you dare talk about racism and White privilege. No, no, no, that’s divisive and Michael Jackson already told us that it don’t matter if you Black or White so stop bringing up old stuff.
In an editorial, the New Haven Register sided with the now-fired Black GOP staffer, writing:
From what we’ve seen of the nasty three-way Republican race for lieutenant governor so far, Roundtree’s comments are both accurate and well within the bounds of discussing the issue of race and the job for which she was hired — outreach to people of color who feel the Republican party is clueless about their experiences and needs.
Somers’ reaction to the Facebook post on Thursday further proved Roundtree’s point. And the fact Bacchiochi felt she needed to quickly fire her over it shows that Connecticut Republicans remain clueless about conversations of race.
Mind you, Roundtree was hired to help Republicans reach out to minority voters in Connecticut’s cities. We can now confirm how that is of little importance to the Republican Party of Connecticut.
Worse, Somers reportedly complained to the New Haven Register in an editorial board meeting about forcing the integration of public schools. Why? Well, she “wished students in her town would just check ‘other’ when identifying race so it wouldn’t be an issue.” It’s always White people telling people of color to get over a burden they’ve never had to experience. That is White privilege and just because Heather Bond Somers chooses to ignore it doesn’t negate its existence.
Unfortunately, the only person who had to suffer for that reality is Regina V. Ross Roundtree. Somers is not the only person to blame, though. The cowardly campaign Roundtree worked for bears the brunt of the responsibility.
Michael Arceneaux blogs at thecynicalones.com, tweets at @youngsinick, and praises Beyoncé’s name everywhere he goes.