Politics are tricky business. Whilst running for office, a candidate has to carefully measure each and every word they say, lest they end up like that guy from Ohio who screamed his speech as loud as possible. Usually, people wait until after they’re elected to make a total joke of themselves, so it’s of the utmost importance to be vigilant when talking on the campaign trail.
Seems like Chris Dudley — former brick-laying NBA big man and current Oregon gubernatorial candidate — found that out the hard way. From Politico:
When Republican gubernatorial nominee Chris Dudley addressed the Oregon Association of Minority Entrepreneurs’ monthly “Coffee & Issues” breakfast on Sept. 24, he reprised a comment he’d made at an earlier interview with the Urban League of Portland.
“I heard him say he ‘understood what it was like to be a minority because he had played in the NBA,” recalls state Rep. Lew Frederick (D-Portland), the only African-American man in the Oregon Legislature.
Yeah, probably not the best thing to say as a white male who graduated from Yale who’s hoping to win over voters, even if the NBA is 82 percent black. That’s just one of those zings you leave in the pocket, I’d say.
As you can imagine, it didn’t sit too well with Frederick, who is an actual minority.
“He certainly wasn’t being denied a job or housing or health care,” says Frederick, who acknowledges he supports Dudley’s Democratic opponent, former Gov. John Kitzhaber. “He has no idea what it’s like to be denied a loan as a minority small businessman, and he’s never had problems getting an equal education. For goodness’ sake, he’s a Yale grad.”
Yep, there’s that Yale thing. Kind of came back to bite Ol’ Dudders in the tush. So you know what that means — apology time!
Dudley’s spokesman, Jake Suski, acknowledges Dudley made the comment but says he made it light-heartedly and did not intend to make an analogy between his own experience and the experiences of minorities.
“He wasn’t seriously making the comparison,” Suski says. “In no way was it an attempt to minimize the challenges that members of the minority community face.”
Serious or not — and it seems very, very not serious — it’s probably just better to not say you understand what it’s like to be a minority when you’re a huge white guy who has made more than $38 million playing basketball for a living. I’m no political campaign expert, but I’d surmise that’s one of the first things they teach you at Political Campaign University.
Let’s just chalk this one up as a brick for Chris. He’s used to it.
(via The Awl)