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COON-GATE: Arkansas Politician Fails At Social Media... And Risks His Seat due to Racist Facebook Slurs

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Pine Bluff Alderman Bill Brumett sits alone in City Council Chambers
(Image by John James, Jr.)
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PINE BLUFF, AR--Located in the heart of the Arkansas River Delta, Pine Bluff was once home to former Arkansas Governor and Republican presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee (AR-R). Steeped in history, Pine Bluff hosted First Lady, Michelle Obama as the commencement speaker for the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, a Historically Black College and University. However, an unlikely local politician is making national news--but not in a good way. Alderman Bill Brumett moderates a Facebook page that condones racist language and racial slurs. Mr. Brumett even did a television interview with a woman who called First Lady, Michelle Obama a "bald headed ape."

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Senior City Councilman Bill Brumett caused a local ruckus when he called Jimmy Cunningham a "Coon" on social media. The Pine Bluff Commercial Editorial Staff described the incident as a "tempest in a teapot." However, Pulitzer Prize winning writer Paul Greenberg called for his resignation in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, the paper of record with the largest circulation in Arkansas.

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"This is 2015, you can't call a brother a coon and get away with it."--Reverend Alvin Smith (St. John AME)

In this day and age, every public official must be careful and responsible when using social media. For example, former Illinois Congressman Aaron Schock (IL-R) just Facebooked himself out of Congress; and he may have Instagramed himself into a Federal indictment. Likewise, I predict that Bill Brumett has talked and Facebooked himself into a recall election.

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Brumett claimed that the incident was a big mistake, essentially some form of typo. Incredulously, David Charles, NAACP State President, questioned Brumett's public statement where he admitted that he was angry with Mr. Cunningham for misspelling Brumett's name, and that he deliberately misspelled Mr. Cunningham's name in return--i.e., "Cooninham", but now it was just an accident? This harkens back to the 1950s where southern segregationist would "accidently" say Martin Luther Coon when referring to the slain Civil Rights leader, Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Michael McCray is a public interest advocate who combats racism and corruption in the government and other institutions which deprive individuals of their basic civil rights, human rights and constitutional liberties. McCray is co-chair of the (more...)
 

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