Clark Atlanta profs claim ownership of ‘black mayor’ memo

Two academics from Clark Atlanta University, political scientists William Boone and Keith Jennings, have claimed authorship of the memo that has roiled the race for mayor.

The two say that accusations that the memo is racist — Mayor Shirley Franklin used the word “bigoted,” and two African-American candidates have condemned it — are “patently false.”

A joint statement from Boone and Jennings was just published by the Newsmaker Journal, the same outfit that distributed the original memo suggesting that African-Americans line up behind Lisa Borders to block the election of a white candidate, Mary Norwood.

Several news outlets, including WABE-FM (90.1FM) and this one, also have obtained copies of the claim to authorship.

Boone is a respected voice in state and local politics, frequently quoted by this newspaper. As a matter of fact, Boone is quoted in an Associated Press article that just moved across the wires, though he is not specifically identified as one of the two authors of the controversial memo:

”Blacks do not return to the polls in a runoff, historically,” said Clark Atlanta University political science professor William Boone. ”It’s going to be very interesting. This is the election that some folks had talked about was coming.”

The AP article then mentions the demographic changes that Atlanta has undergone:

In addition, blacks may no longer feel obligated to elect a black mayor, Boone said.

”You have a young generation of blacks — not native to Atlanta — who don’t necessarily see that as something that has to happen,” said Boone, who is part of a group that circulated the racially-charged e-mail. ”They may be staking their vote on matters more critical than race.”

Here’s the statement that appears over the names of both Boone and Jennings this afternoon:

Race and the Mayor’s Race in Atlanta

The recent suggestion that it is somehow racist to highlight an agenda that promotes the interests of African American voters is patently false. It is a red herring that polarizes debate about electing the most qualified candidate for Atlanta’s next mayor.

The need for African American voter and taxpayer interests to be addressed by all candidates is just as legitimate as it is for candidates to respond to issues raised by the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, Georgia Stand-Up, Central Atlanta Progress or any Neighborhood Planning Unit (NPU).

News coverage to date of an analysis presented to the Black Leadership Forum has been incendiary and misleading. To correct the record, Aaron Turpeau is not the author of the memo, nor is anyone associated with the Black Leadership Forum.

We are the sole authors and we stand by our academic analysis, with the exception for the error regarding the political affiliation of Mr. Spikes and Mr. Thomas, for which we have apologized.

Furthermore, the reported assertion that our statement was written on behalf of any candidate or to instruct African Americans how to vote is flatly wrong. African Americans in Atlanta have been voting for decades and are quite capable of making up their own minds.

Make no mistake, we do not work for any of the candidates. We have held no formal discussions with any of the campaigns and have made no contributions to any of the campaigns.

In our statement we presented views that have been articulated in various parts of the community. As we argue in the statement, African Americans should “critically evaluate all candidates” because “we have arrived at a place in time where we can no longer afford to just look at race in the Mayor’s race or individual council races.”

However, these key quotes from our document have been excluded from media coverage and by individuals who apparently have not read the document.

We stand by our belief that “a black agenda would enable African American interests to be respected by any administration.” The interests of African American voters are just as legitimate as other Atlanta voters, and the notion that we must apologize for highlighting those interests is absurd.

William Boone, PhD

Keith Jennings, PhD

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83 comments Add your comment

Rev. Al Sharpton Jackson Frakhan Bin AL-Skyhook

August 31st, 2009
5:23 pm

I am shocked. I thought whitey was trying to set up the community. I guess the march will have to be canceled.

2cents

August 31st, 2009
5:28 pm

Now only if Lisa Borders would admit her roll in the matter…

booger

August 31st, 2009
5:30 pm

I think they must have forgotten the part where they said Blacks should unite behind one candidate in order to defeat the white candidate.

Damage control.

clyde

August 31st, 2009
5:33 pm

So there you have it.According to academia,it’s all right to pen a memo urging blacks to support black candidates for the defeat of a white candidate.And it’s not racist.I have learned something today,but I’m sure I don’t dare put it in words.

SilentMajority

August 31st, 2009
5:34 pm

Borders/Cousins must be pretty worried about his memo. At least they managed to get these two knuckleheads to bite the bullet. Too little too late…her campaign will pay for this.

What Racism?

August 31st, 2009
5:42 pm

Remember—it’s not racist if the black people say these things, only if white people do. It’s “obama change!”

Josh

August 31st, 2009
5:43 pm

Why can’t we just have an all white city? It sure would be nice! Other towns like Greenville, Chattanooga, Orlando, etc which are mostly white have low crime and a nice downtown. It is sad what the black leadership has done to Atlanta. Thanks thugs.

outlaw

August 31st, 2009
5:44 pm

As long as it is a black person talking about whites…it is not racism….Now had a white professor said these things, they would have been villified, scalded and asked to resign…
It is just the typical black thing you know

Atlanta_Ed

August 31st, 2009
5:45 pm

Lisa, it is okay all the black folk going to vote for you. But you got to work on whitey maybe you could talk with the folks who lightened up Michael Jackson. You almost light enough to pass maybe we can do a quick breach. White folks so stupid.

FA

August 31st, 2009
5:45 pm

The double standard is alive and well! Whew, I was worried there for a minute…

Rebecca

August 31st, 2009
5:46 pm

The Reed camp really is mad about this aren’t they. It is pretty obvious. No one knows who Kasim is outside of SWATS.

Georgia

August 31st, 2009
5:46 pm

We now know why Clark Atlanta University is going bankrupt with “academics” like these two. Clearly, this was RACIST. They should be fired and run out of town.

Michael

August 31st, 2009
5:49 pm

So let me get this straight, the comments “The recent suggestion that it is somehow racist to highlight an agenda that promotes the interests of African American voters is patently false” is not racist but changing a few words around such as “The recent suggestion that it is somehow racist to highlight an agenda that promotes the interests of White American voters is patently false” would be. I now see how this works. Can’t wait to see Cynthia Tucker’s editoral this week on why this is acceptable.

HOPEMAN

August 31st, 2009
5:50 pm

The fishermen that survived the capsizing of their boat are multicultural and the all banned together to survive. We REAL Atlantans need to band together like these men and beat back racism, sexism, classism and any other isms that threatens to hold us back as a city.

d fowler

August 31st, 2009
5:50 pm

hold them to the same standard that they old white folk. fire them both and lets see if they can find a job on their own academic background. these people sicken me, double standards stink! reverse racism!

gwalchmai munn

August 31st, 2009
5:51 pm

Perhaps it would be better to judge each candidate by the content of their character instead of the color of their skin.

Duh

August 31st, 2009
5:51 pm

Yes, double standards are alive and well. There are double standards that favor whites, males, even pit bulls. And every so often, there will be a double standard that rules against you.

That’s life.

blazerdawg

August 31st, 2009
5:52 pm

Josh, I seriously doubt that you have spent any time in Gville, Chattanooga, or Orlando.

Bobby

August 31st, 2009
5:53 pm

So if white academic professors at GT or UGA penned a memo that a white agenda would enable white persons’ interests to be by any administration wouldn’t be offensive to Boone and Jennings. Sure. Don’t guess either of them believe in judging persons by the content of their character as opposed to the color of their skin. MLK Jr. must really be rolling his eyes.

Arhur R Thompson

August 31st, 2009
5:53 pm

I assume the people who said it is not racist are black I would like to announce the formation of 100 White Men my new orgainization to promote white power, white as the better government provider and white as the recognized better to lead segment of our Diversified country.. This is not racist according to all white people!!!

E. Anderson

August 31st, 2009
5:53 pm

”You have a young generation of blacks — not native to Atlanta — who don’t necessarily see that as something that has to happen,” said Boone,

Let’s Thank God for the young generation of blacks – not native to atlanta- that are moving Atlanta into the next century.

Base

August 31st, 2009
5:53 pm

Fire the racists.

Liberal Wanderer

August 31st, 2009
5:56 pm

Only in Atlanta is such a scenario considered humorous, accepted and not worthy of repurcussions.

Who's read the article?

August 31st, 2009
5:58 pm

I, for one, would like to read the article written by the professors. I have yet to see it in print, though there is plenty of paraphrasing and I am sure “out of context” revisions to their message.

Oh, and all you good ole boys can save the righteous indignation. While voting for a particular candidate because of race is wrong, let’s not pretend that these professors are the only ones practicing racism in 2009.

campaign watcher

August 31st, 2009
5:59 pm

Too late for damage control. The media and the media readers/watchers/listeners will now only remember this as an example of black racism regardless of the memo authors’ intent or actual words.

Shar

August 31st, 2009
5:59 pm

Not only are they bigots, Messrs. Boone and Jennings are liars and they are grammatically challenged. Their “academic analysis” contains primarily “assumptions” and no recognizable analytical assessments, and they propose no “agenda to promote the interests of African American voters.” The document solely focuses on the urgent need to defeat the white candidate with the black one deemed most electable, regardless of competence or of the failure of previous black mayoral administrations to improve the lot of African American voters (or anyone else).

The document is riddled with grammatical mistakes, poor reasoning, selfish perspectives and vicious bigotry. We can only hope that Clark Atlanta University takes a long, clear look at the poor quality of this duo’s scholarly abilities and the detrimental effect of their radical racism on the University’s credibility and get rid of them as soon as possible.

R.S.T.

August 31st, 2009
5:59 pm

Without a doubt, Borders is in political bed with these two Jokers.

booger

August 31st, 2009
6:00 pm

A little off point, but it’s very hard for me to believe this memo was written by Professors. Incomplete sentences, rambling, and just poorly put together.

Who's read the article?

August 31st, 2009
6:00 pm

@ Arhtur R Thompson – So 100 Black Men is wrong, but the KKK is ok? I never hear that race relations will improve once the KKK goes away – it is always the end of the NAACP and Black colleges that “you people” think will end racism. SMH. No wonder Georgia is in such terrible shape.

Charlie

August 31st, 2009
6:00 pm

I for one do not see anything wrong with standing behind a candidate because of race.What I do have a problem with is when it”s whites that do this it is considered racist.Rev. Sharpton this is probably why you sir were considered a joke in your running for office.

TC

August 31st, 2009
6:01 pm

Same s–t different day.

Over It

August 31st, 2009
6:01 pm

If two white professors wrote a memo saying that white citizens, of any town, should unite to support the white candidate, the media would have a field day. “Racism” would be shouted from the highest rooftops, pulpits, and street corners to any and every microphone within reach. And of course, the two white professors would be relieved of their duties. Double standard reigns supreme.

WhiteGuyForBlack&White

August 31st, 2009
6:06 pm

I’ve voted for blacks and whites in city elections. This is a little outrageous, thought. The Forum seems like a slap at any white candidate. This is not a black city nor a white one. It is simply a city which needs GOOD leadership, GOOD employees who perform well, and GOOD elected officials. It seems to have none of the above, nor has it for many years. Heck, and Bill Campbell is back in town? Scary. And, as the authors of the report state, “African Americans in Atlanta have been voting for decades and are quite capable of making up their own minds,” then why was there a need for a report? Race, sadly, is still a big deck of cards in this city. Sad to say.

The Truth

August 31st, 2009
6:06 pm

Lots of groups in the city, state, and nation back one group or another for their own selfish agendas. Each group is so quick to vilify the others’ transgressions because it makes their own follies seem less reprehensible. So, ignorant Whites will continue to damning the city using this memo to justify their racism and ignorant Blacks will continue to use the memo to defend their prejudices however both groups remain afraid and fearful of each other. THIS IS A DIVERSION. WAKE UP, ATLANTA.

Whatever

August 31st, 2009
6:07 pm

Oh wow. I feel so sorry for white people and Mary Norwood. How do you find the strength to go on in this cruel, CRUEL world where Black college professors threaten your very existence by suggesting that a white lady should be defeated in the upcoming mayoral race? I really admire you guys for your perserverance through it all. White power.

NA

August 31st, 2009
6:08 pm

Well we can see what Clark Atlanta will be known for, teaching racism.
Two white professors say let’s get behind the white candidate, then they lose their jobs and are villifed on CNN as those bigots from Georgia. Pick the person based on their qualifications, end of story.

Atlanta could stand some diversity training.
Hire the best person for each job in Atlanta.
You do not have to search the world for the best black candidate, get the best candidate.
Clean up the streets, relook at your tax structure, run the city like a business, elect a qualified business person with the only agenda being make Atlanta better.

marc

August 31st, 2009
6:08 pm

Racism! Plain and simple Racism! Yes Virginia, a black man CAN be a racist.

ATLborn

August 31st, 2009
6:09 pm

Give me a break. Yes the email is bigoted. U even have the sitting Mayor of Atlanta admitting that, and yes it would wrinkle a few more brows if a white professor said something similar about backing a white candidate but it wouldn’t have been a huge deal.

U have a white preacher in Arizona openly advocating the assassanation of a sitting U.S. President and this hasn’t made big news. It appears he has a racist agenda but is hiding behind “socialism” as his cat call instead of more racially inflamatory ones.

Black ppl aren’t sheep, to be herded to whatever candidate a so called leader of the black community supports let alone some little known nutty professors. I wouldn’t be surprised if Norwood did very well with the Black vote. Blacks across the country have shown up in huge numbers to support white candidates for public offices even on occassions when they ran against blacks. Daley wins the black vote in Chicago over black candidates. Kerry won the black vote in every match up against Sharpton save DC. Baltimore elected a white mayor, he got a good amount of the black vote.

Now will u have some black folks vote for someone just because they’re black? Of course. Just like you have some white folks that will vote for Norwood because she’s white and voted for McCain for the same reason. This happens within every ethnic group. Give it a rest!

WhiteGuyForBlack&White

August 31st, 2009
6:09 pm

I have to agree with earlier posts. These guys are professors? In a real school. What do their students learn. I guess they give them the easy pass to move them on and out of their class.

Rannyran

August 31st, 2009
6:09 pm

Why can’t Atlanta be a more progressive thinking city without all the nonsense of Southern Whites and Southern Blacks that want to transform this town back to pre-Civil War days?

First to Josh, it’s funny how you named cities that are far smaller in size than Atlanta and directly attribute the rise of Crime to the Black community. With the exception of Orlando, if you want to live in a small city like Greenville or Chattanooga, why not move to a city of that size? No one is forcing you to stay here.

Next, the comments that Boone and Jennings made were uncalled for and I believe a suspension should be given to the two professors. This way the young, impressionable minds of CAU understand that slander has no place in modern politics. It’s ok to disagree with a candidate, but you use slanderous comments to express that message, is bigotry rather than free speech.

By the way, to “What Racism”, I would you to review the Presidential election numbers and you will see it was the White vote and crossover Republican vote that put President Obama into office not solely the Black vote; so please stop with the Black President comments. It only shows your stupidity and ignorance as it pertains to US politics.

- My Two Cents –
This is one of the most important political races probably in Atlanta history. The City is nearly $200 million in the hole, an abundance of dark real estate, and declining credit rating. If the correct political official is not elected I believe Atlanta could point towards the demise that has crippled cities like Detroit for example. Instead of antics and racial slurs, how about we get back to facts and solutions to right this sinking ship? To answer my question to Josh, Josh the reason you don’t live in a small town like Greenville or Chattanooga because during good and bad times, it would be difficult for you to prosper and make the money you aim to make….hence why you haven’t left this City.

@rannyran on Twitter
ourbloc.com

neelabea

August 31st, 2009
6:10 pm

Racism, unfortunately, is alive and well from both blacks and whites alike.

Bill Campbell

August 31st, 2009
6:12 pm

Borders knew about the memo. She had too. She needed something like this to eliminate Reed who is receiving more top flight endorsements than Lisa. Lisa Borders is a paid Cousins hack! I hope the voters of Atlanta don’t allow Cousin’s Properties to completely take over the city. Cousin’s son-in-law Giornelli is already the COO at City Hall now and plundering city coffers for developers. We don’t need a complete takeover with another “cousins” in the mayor’s office.

Fine by me

August 31st, 2009
6:13 pm

Why shouldnt n*ggers vote for n*ggers? It kinda makes sense, ya know?

Business as usual

August 31st, 2009
6:13 pm

Let’s see. The city of Atlanta lost a multi million dollar reverse discrimination lawsuit brought by white librarians who were blatantly discriminated against by the black library board.

And a week or 2 ago DeKalb county govt was cited with blatant reverse discrimination with examples that were “shocking” in the words of the AJC article coverning the discrimination. The instances of discrimination against white employees were so blatant that we now know that DeKalb will be paying out millions to settle the suits.

And now this?

Its not even amazing to me that once blacks took political power in local governments that they started discriminating against fellow white workers. Nope. Sad to say that it doesn’t surprise me at all.

What is disturbing is that the discrimination is so blatant. The blacks doing the discriminating in all of these instances were talking about getting rid of whites in open meetings and the conversations, strategies, etc for demoting or transferring whites was included in the minutes of meetings. What is shocking is that this was the normal course of action and that none of these blacks thought there was anything wrong with firing, demoting, or transferring whites so that they could give promotions to less qualified blacks. They thought this was okay so they had no problem with these conversations being recorded in the minutes of meetings. That is truly what is shocking.

Bigtime

August 31st, 2009
6:14 pm

This is classic. Call the president maybe they can have a beer with the white offical that is running for mayor.
People come on! This is terrible. We will never get over racism. Older Afican Americans teach their kids that if everything fails blame it on whitey.

thatsallfolks

August 31st, 2009
6:14 pm

These two all total idiots!!!!! Why would Clark have such on staff?

Whatever

August 31st, 2009
6:14 pm

Do they actually think they can come out now and say this was not racist and it is over? I challenge the media to investigate these two professors backgrounds and see what you find. If it looks and acts like a racist, it probably is.

Whatever

August 31st, 2009
6:19 pm

It is now the black peoples turn to be taught a lesson…..racism will not be tolerated in this country in business, politics or the work place. You too will now be held accountable for your racist remarks and actions. Now that is equality.

Atlanta Yank

August 31st, 2009
6:22 pm

A few quick points:
-Regardless of whomever gets the big office downtown, the business interests, power brokers, and elite communities intown will still be overwhelmingly white.
-The biggest loser in this ‘flap’ is unquestionably Lisa Borders
-The professors cavalierly articulated what any group in their position would; namely, keep the seat of power in OUR hands rather than THIERS. Politics at its primordial level
-Lastly, if the mayoral race goes to a runoff, advantage Norwood.

Will

August 31st, 2009
6:22 pm

Totally believable and 100% expected. Why would anyone think the people responsible for the memo would be smart enough to understand the problem? The bigger issue lies in the fact these two are helping to educate the next generation of young african americans. This is no different than an islamic school run by militants in the middle east.