[The campaigns of the two candidates in Georgia in the July 24
runoff for the Republican nomination, Casey Cagle and Brian Kemp, are
replete with openly racist attacks and blatantly xenophobic rhetoric,
particularly targeted at Latinx immigrants. ] [https://portside.org/] 



 Sara Patenaude & Azadeh Shahshahani 
 July 18, 2018

	* [https://portside.org/node/17748/printable/print]

 _ The campaigns of the two candidates in Georgia in the July 24
runoff for the Republican nomination, Casey Cagle and Brian Kemp, are
replete with openly racist attacks and blatantly xenophobic rhetoric,
particularly targeted at Latinx immigrants. _ 

 The campaigns of the two candidates in the current runoff for the
Republican nomination, Brian Kemp and Casey Cagle, are replete with
openly racist attacks and blatantly xenophobic rhetoric, particularly
targeted at Latinx immigrants., 


In a historic first, former Georgia House Minority Leader Stacey
Abrams secured
the Democratic Party’s nomination for governor this summer, becoming
the first Black woman candidate for governor of any state. Meanwhile,
the Republican candidates vying for their party’s nomination appear
to be more focused on who is the most racist, rather than who can best
govern the state. These politicians, campaigning on hate, would do
well to heed lessons from the 1906 election and subsequent riots,
which demonstrated how rhetoric could quickly turn deadly. History has
shown us that inciting hate leads to violence, and these candidates
owe it to the American people to be better than their predecessors.

The campaigns of the two candidates in the July 24 runoff for the
Republican nomination, Casey Cagle and Brian Kemp, are replete with
openly racist attacks and blatantly xenophobic rhetoric, particularly
targeted at Latinx immigrants. Their rhetoric is doubling down on the
strategies deployed in the run-up to the primary, when candidates
seemed to be in a competition to “out-racist” each other. First,
Kemp presented a campaign ad
[https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2018/05/10/brian-kemp-illegals-ad/600212002/] promising
to round up immigrants in his personal pickup truck. Then another
candidate, Michael Williams, used the threat of vigilante kidnapping
by driving a “deportation bus” through immigrant-friendly areas
throughout the state presumably to rouse his base. Casey Cagle, the
state’s lieutenant governor and leading GOP candidate, has taken it
even further.

As lieutenant governor, Cagle has used a state immigration board
[http://www.jurist.org/hotline/2012/08/azadeh-shahshahani-hb87-immigration.php] to
challenge the City of Decatur for formalizing a police policy
limiting unconstitutional collaboration
[https://rewire.news/article/2017/07/25/trumps-anti-immigrant-policy-suffers-big-legal-blow/] with
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). To date, seven localities
[https://projectsouth.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/GA-Non-Detainer-Policies-update.pdf] in
Georgia have implemented policies limiting their collaboration with
ICE in order to protect the constitutional rights of their residents
and serve as welcoming spaces for community members, even as the state
legislature has prohibited “sanctuary” cities. Cagle and other GOP
candidates have attacked these localities relentlessly, but
Cagle’s baseless complaint against Decatur
[https://theintercept.com/2018/06/18/casey-cagle-georgia-sanctuary-immigration-enforcement-review-board/] joins
in the current national trend of purposely misleading the public
[https://rewire.news/article/2017/03/22/ice-report-so-called-safety-threats-misleading-best/] to
use unsubstantiated safety concerns
[https://rewire.news/article/2017/09/29/ice-raids-grab-undocumented-person-not-just-criminals/] about
undocumented migrants for political gain.

Still, even Casey Cagle seems to acknowledge the outrageous nature of
these primaries, saying
[https://politics.myajc.com/news/state--regional-govt--politics/recording-cagle-called-gop-race-contest-the-craziest/Ui6T7sEFTE13r51PraQ7CK/] in
a recently released, secret recording: “This primary felt like it
was who had the biggest gun, who had the biggest truck, and who could
be the craziest.”

Georgia has been here before. In 1906, two men were vying for the
governor’s mansion in the Democratic primary. At that time, the
conservative Democratic Party had a firm hold over the state; winning
effectively assured victory in the general election. Both candidates
were publishers of major Atlanta newspapers—Hoke Smith of
the _Atlanta Journal_ and Clark Howell of the _Atlanta
Constitution_—and both knew their audiences well. The city was home
to a growing Black population, where Black-owned businesses were
thriving and a small number of African American men were exercising
their right to vote. White Georgians were becoming increasingly
anxious with what they saw as racial intermingling—though
segregation was still strict, with separate drinking fountains,
waiting rooms, and elevators, Black areas abutted white, especially in
the seedy dives of the central business district. White politicians,
in particular, knew that increased Black electoral power would
eventually lead to calls for rights in other arenas as well, a
situation they desperately wished to avoid.

In patterns reminiscent of today, both Smith and Howell “raced to
the right” in their bids for the party nomination. Howell questioned
Smith’s white supremacist credentials, accusing Smith of secretly
cooperating with Black political leaders. For his part, Smith insisted
that Howell was an establishment candidate and not fully committed to
white supremacy. Both men blamed Black people for the problems facing
the state, reacting to racist white sentiment that Black people no
longer knew their place in the racial order of the South. In their
speeches and their newspapers, Smith and Howell used false,
unsubstantiated, and sensationalized accusations of impropriety and
sexual assault by Black men against white women to stoke fear in white
communities that they—and their women—were at imminent risk of
attack. As newspapers explicitly endorsed violence and lynching in
retaliation for supposed violations, Smith called for a new Ku Klux
Klan to rise up and take back control.

Hoke Smith won the primary and sailed easily through the general
election, but the racist rhetoric and white supremacist theories
promoted by these men remained embedded in the state’s collective
psyche. Local newspapers (including the _Atlanta
Journal_ and _Atlanta Constitution_) continued to run stories of
alleged sexual attacks against white women alongside stories
celebrating the lynchings of Black men by vigilante mobs, using
fetishized and lurid details meant to scare and inflame the white
population of the city.

On September 22, 1906, headlines shouted about an “epidemic of
[https://www.jstor.org/stable/2716218?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents] with
unsubstantiated claims of sexual assault by Black men against four
white women. In response, a mob of 10,000 white men and women formed
in downtown Atlanta
[http://www.blackpast.org/aah/atlanta-race-riot-1906]. The mob
terrorized the streets of the central business district, running down
Black men and women, pulling Black people off streetcars, attacking
Black-owned businesses along Decatur and Pryor streets and dragging
their occupants into the road. The mob attacked Black people
indiscriminately, bludgeoning them with iron bars and wagon wheel
spokes, hacking them with knives and hatchets, and shooting them with
pistols and rifles. Dozens of Black people were killed and hundreds
more injured. The crowd then mauled and mutilated the bodies in the
quest for “souvenirs.”

Just as the rhetoric used by Smith and Howell in their campaigns set
the stage for the violence of the Atlanta Race Riot, the racism
espoused today by politicians in the highest seats of government has
made possible the open prejudice and xenophobia being spewed by Cagle
and Kemp. The Republican Party has not only refused to disavow such
racism, but has repeatedly embraced candidates
[https://www.newsweek.com/jeff-sessions-racism-anglo-american-sheriff-803624] seemingly because
of such views
and downplayed any allegations of hate-based actions. On Wednesday,
President Trump announced
[https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1019664477162278918] his
“full and total endorsement” of Kemp.

We must remember that words have consequences. Although the public
response to such rhetoric hasn’t yet reached the same levels of
violence as it did in the early 20th century, recent investigations
into hate-based attacks and crimes show a torrent of incidents
[https://www.revealnews.org/blog/the-hate-report-the-state-of-anti-immigrant-hate-2018/] in
the past two years. In the wake of a horrific policy separating
migrant children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border, racists
have been emboldened by the Trump administration to put their
previously hidden feelings into action, as we’ve seen with the
increasingly public attacks against immigrants
[https://www.cnn.com/2018/07/09/us/mexican-man-beaten-brick-los-angeles/index.html] (and
which we’ve seen time and again against people of color
[https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/11/us/black-white-police.html] and Muslim

We need to remember and recall that ugly history often, especially as
it informs the shameful and racist rhetoric of current GOP candidates.
The rhetoric meant to scapegoat and “other” a group of people for
political aims inevitably leads to violence and tragic consequences,
as we also saw in Charlottesville
It needs to stop.

Racist rhetoric has no place in the Georgia of 2018. Politicians who
rely on it to rile up their base should be exposed, ashamed, and held

_Sara Patenaude has a PhD in History from Georgia State University.
Her scholarly work investigates the intersections of race, public
policy, and city planning in the twentieth century United States. She
is also the cofounder of Hate Free Decatur, a grassroots community
organization committed to addressing issues of racial injustice in
metro Atlanta._ 
_[Azadeh Shahshahani is Legal & Advocacy Director with Project South
and a past president of the National Lawyers Guild. Azadeh has worked
for a number of years in the Southeast to protect the human rights of
immigrants and Muslim, Middle Eastern, and South Asian communities.
She is the author or editor of several human rights reports, including
a 2017 report titled "Imprisoned Justice: Inside Two Georgia Immigrant
Detention Centers," as well as law review articles and book chapters
focused on racial profiling, immigrants' rights, and surveillance of
Muslim-Americans. Azadeh is the recipient of numerous awards,
including the 2017 US Human Rights Network Human Rights Movement
Builder Award. In 2016, Azadeh was chosen by the Mundo Hispanico
Newspaper as an Outstanding Person of the Year for her activism on
behalf of the Latino community and defending the rights of immigrants
in Georgia.]_ 
_Thanks to the authors for sending this to Portside._ 

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	* [https://portside.org/node/17748/printable/print]







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