New York Congressional Candidate David Yassky Getting Criticism

for His Position that the Second Amendment Doesn't Secure an Individual Right: No, wait, that would be a substantive criticism.

Instead, he's being faulted for being "not ... of our color" (Al Sharpton, with the "our" referring to Sharpton and the mostly black electorate in the district), a "colonizer" (Major Owens, the retiring Congressman from that district), and "a white individual" (City Councilman Al Vann). Plus, Sharpton linked Yassky to Nicholas Minucci, who's accused of attacking a black man with a baseball bat while shouting a racial slur ("From this to the Minucci case to Yassky thinking he's going to run for that seat -- do they think we're just going to sit this out?"). The only connection between Yassky and Minucci appears to be that they're both white.

Here's Al Sharpton's letter defending himself:

Despite Andrea Peyser's protestations to the contrary, I and other black leaders have repeatedly stated that our objection to David Yassky's congressional candidacy in the 11th district of Brooklyn has nothing to do with his skin color or religion ("Election 'Slur' Spur," June 10).

Rather, our problem with his running in the 11th is that he made an opportunistic political calculation to move out of his own district and move into a district with four black candidates under the assumption that they'd split the vote, providing him with an inroad to victory.

That's a clear undermining of the spirit of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

Further, population estimates from the Census Bureau reveal that blacks still don't have equal representation in New York City's congressional delegation.

I firmly believe that in a supposedly progressive state like New York, that's a problem that must be remedied, not further exacerbated. However, being for proportional representation makes me neither anti-white nor anti-Jewish.

I'm not sure how Sharpton's claim that this "has nothing to do with his skin color or religion" is consistent with Sharpton's other quoted statements. More importantly, how is it consistent with Sharpton's "being for proportional representation"? True proportional representation would mean that there'd be 2 Jewish Senators and 9 Jewish Congressmen (plus, while you're at it, almost never a Jewish Justice), since Jews are 2% of the population. It also would mean that some candidates should be opposed because of their "skin color or religion," since if one group is overrepresented, backers of "proportional representation" would presumably have to oppose candidates of that group in order to cure that overrepresentation.

The good news:

July 13, 2006 - Don't Keep White Candidate Out Of Black District, New Yorkers Tell Quinnipiac University Poll ....

By a 61 - 23 percent margin, New York City voters oppose a move by black politicians to prevent a white candidate from winning a Congressional race in a Brooklyn district that has been represented by black members of Congress since 1968, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today. White voters oppose this move 68 - 16 percent while black voters oppose it 53 - 31 percent and Hispanic voters oppose it 54 - 28 percent.

By an even larger 77 - 12 percent margin, voters would oppose a group of white politicians trying to prevent a black candidate from winning in a historically white legislative district. There is little difference among white, black or Hispanic voters, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University poll finds.

When asked if they prefer having a candidate of their own race, New York City voters say no 54 - 19 percent. White voters say no 59 - 10 percent, while black voters say no 45 - 30 percent and Hispanic voters say no 56 - 25 percent....

Or is it such good news? True, about 77% of white voters and 53% of black voters would oppose trying to prevent a candidate of the opposite race from winning in a "historically [white / black]" district. On the other hand, 10% of white voters and 31% of black voters say they would support it. So Sharpton's, Owens', and Vann's sentiments are unfortunately hardly isolated.