Clarke on Racial Carpetbagging

Each time we start to wonder if we’re not over-scrutinizing the race angle in the congressional contest in the 11th district, the candidates do something to reassure us we’re not just imagining things.

Here’s Yvette Clarke on today’s candidate forum on WNYC:

On the issue of Mr. Yassky’s candidacy, do you consider him a racial carpetbagger?

“Yes I do. There is no doubt that David Yassky made a racial calculation when he saw that there were so many candidates, black candidates, in the race. He looked at the… data with respect to the demographic. He then decided to uproot his family and move into uproot his family and decide to move into the district to run. No doubt he has aspirations to serve in Congress but why couldn’t he run in the district in which he resided?”

– Josh Benson

UPDATE: More on Clarke and race: The Clarke campaign response to recent criticism from Al Sharpton about — follow this — Yvette’s mother and Amadou Diallo.

After the jump.

August 1, 2006, Brooklyn NY — Congressional Candidate Yvette D. Clarke issued a statement today in response to the claims by Reverend Al Sharpton that “Una Clarke didn’t support us on Diallo,” and “Yvette claims it has nothing to do with her, but she was her mother’s campaign manager,” as reported in the July 28, 2006 New York Daily News:

I am my own woman and my own candidate. We have all been taught to dream of a time when we will be judged by the content of our character, and few work as hard to see that dream fulfilled as Rev. Sharpton has. Therefore, it is both disappointing and unacceptable that he chose to base his judgment of me upon the actions of another, even when that other person is my own mother, of whom I am extremely proud.

While I respect the work and activism of Rev. Sharpton, I disagree with the statement attributed to him in reference to my candidacy in the 11th Congressional district, and I am compelled to set the record straight on this issue. My mother’s actions stemming from her outrage over the killing of Amadou Diallo were hers to take, and the way that her actions were depicted by Rev. Sharpton is not only hurtful, but also inaccurate. In fact, my mother has a photo of her and Rev. Sharpton at a One Police Plaza rally, and she has a letter from Ms. Diallo thanking her as well. Simply put, we were there for the Diallo family and the community.

For my part, and for the record, on February 4, 1999, at the time of Mr. Diallo’s murder, I was employed at the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corp. (BOEDC). I became my mother’s campaign manager at the end of June 1999, several months after all of this occurred. I participated in numerous rallies on Wheeler Avenue in support of the collective outrage we all felt and even greeted Reverend Sharpton at some of them; and I worked with then Borough President Fernando Ferrer’s office to address the ongoing tension that was mounting over Mr. Diallo’s death.

However, and most important, my campaign and this race are about my qualifications to be the next United States Representative, my record and my service to the public. I will always take a stand for honesty and integrity, even when it conflicts with those I respect.

I am running for Congress because I represent the best interests of the entire 11th Congressional District and I will work with all of my constituents to deliver results, as my record in the City Council demonstrates.