Seattle City Council President M. Lorena González chose to sling mud at her opponent in the race for mayor, former council member Bruce Harrell, but the mud has splattered back in her face.
In a progressive town like Seattle where only progressives of various shades end up running against each other on the ballot, González apparently felt the need to differentiate herself from Harrell by alleging he is not sufficiently progressive enough to hold the top job at City Hall. She attempted to do that with a TV ad attacking Harrell’s reluctance to push for the resignation of Mayor Ed Murray in 2017 when the mayor was caught up in a sex-abuse scandal.
Pushing the point way over the line, the ad featured a white female rape survivor saying Harrell could not be trusted on sexual-abuse and harassment concerns. That is a pretty extreme assertion if it is based entirely on the politically complicated Murray scandal, but what got blowback was the optics of having a white rape victim slamming Harrell, who is Black and Asian American.
A group of Black community leaders held a news conference to condemn the ad as racist, an insensitive invocation of stereotypes about Black men as a threat to white women. After first defending the ad, González has now withdrawn the hit piece. She did not actually apologize; she just said she wished they had used a Black woman instead.
In this little woke war, Harrell may have taken a minor hit, but González did far more harm to herself.
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