Are you hearing anything down there about what happened?
It’s starting to circulate. But, obviously, I would imagine RNC are trying to downplay it.
Well, let’s go over exactly what happened. I have an exclusive interview with the person who’s at the heart of this matter, the CNN camera-woman, who is African-American and dear friend of mine. I found out about this event because of the Twit of David Shuster.“GOP attendee ejected for throwing nuts at African American camera woman + saying ‘This is how we feed animals.’” I called up to find out how my girlfriend was doing and if it was her. And she confirmed this. And here’s the thing that I really need everybody down there to know. The RNC sent two officials after it was obvious that peanuts had been thrown at her. There were two older white gentlemen – my friend describes them as “heckling her” – and one said to her while the other laughed, “Here! Want more peanuts! This is what we feed to the animals at the zoo!” The floor where the cameras are set up is a bit recess, so CNN security who incidentally walked by moments later set off to find them. The RNC Security came and asked her, “Were they black or white?” And the thing to me that is a bit interesting is that this convention, unfortunately, was described as “extremely-white and extremely-male”, that there’s not very much diversity. And asking was a black delegate throwing peanuts at an African-American person – that seems really unlikely – even given the benefit of doubt. Is it fair to say?
Absolutely, Jamila. In Twitter they used hash tag called “negro-spotting”. And basically they were alluding to the fact that you’re right, it’s not a lot of diversity, not many people of color. I even spoke with someone who is a black conservative, who is prominent in his republican party and he was alluding to that as “the welcome reception” that hosted thousands of republican delegates. He said at this point later in the evening when he and I met which that his count was 27 of 1000! So surely there were not a lot of black delegates there.
Two people who identified to my friend as RNC officials apologized to her and said, “Oh, that must have been alternates, because our delegates would never have behaved that way.” But these are all people who were given the imprimatur of the Republican Party to come to the National Convention. They’re all credentialed and have badges, which means that they’re authorized to be at the Convention and certainly on the floor.
This situation is very troubling on a number of levels. Obviously, the woman you mentioned was working as a member of the press hoping to give media coverage to this particular event. And she was not only disrespected, but literally assaulted in the course of her performing her job!
The RNC submitted a statement that read “Two attendees tonight exhibited deplorable behavior. Their conduct was inexcusable and unacceptable. This kind of behavior will not be tolerated.” It’s very good to know that an assault won’t be tolerated. CNN is under pressure by a number of bloggers and reporters who disclose more information about this. CNN submitted a statement saying, “Yes, we know, one of our employers was involved in an incident.” But there is unwillingness to call this out as being “a racist attack” at the time that this particular party is being criticized. There’s not enough diversity – gender, race. “These people were ejected.” Of course they were ejected! They assaulted someone. But for the party at large to not say anything, you personally feel that maybe there should have been more than the statement?
Absolutely, Jamila. I think that RNC not only need to issue a formal public apology, I think they should also apologize to CNN and make it clear, not just saying that we ejected these two delegates, but to make it very clear to the delegation in a way that this cannot happen again!