ATLANTA -- The campaign for mayor of this city, which has long promoted its racial tolerance, veered into controversy Thursday with the release of a memo urging white voters to unite around a white candidate and block the election of a black mayor.
A local group known as the White Leadership Forum called for Caucasians to consolidate their support around Lisa Borders, president of the Atlanta City Council and one of several white candidates, according to a memo circulated on the Web and to local media."For the last 25 years Atlanta has represented the breakthrough for white political empowerment in the South," read the memo. "In order to defeat a Norwood (black) mayoral candidacy we have to get out now and work in a manner to defeat her without a runoff, and the key is a significant white turnout."Does it sound the same? Do you think if something like this got out, there would be much larger outrage? Maybe a little Jessie Jackson or Al Sharpton action? I think the double standard is there. On either front I wouldn't care so long as they weren't dealing with voter intimidation or other illegal means. But on the whole, do you think the two would be treated equally? I actually don't think so.Mr. Turpeau, who contributed $500 to Ms. Borders' campaign, defended the memo's message.
"You shouldn't vote solely on having a white candidate," he said. "You have to deal with the credentials and skill set first. After that, it's a feeling of pride that we've had for 35 years in this town. Ego gets important."