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NEW: Fung Responds to Supporter’s Racial Tweets about Obama

Thursday, January 23, 2014


Cranston Mayor Allan Fung has issued a statement on recent tweets by campaign volunteer Erika Johansen that said President's Obama's ratings "must be getting lower and lower because he's getting blacker and blacker."

Read Story HERE 

Former State Representative Ray Rickman called the statement "wholly racist," and RI NAACP leader Jim Vincent called them offensive.  "I think it's up to the campaign to decide how to deal with this," said Vincent.  

Fung Statement

"Allan Fung and his campaign disavow these comments. They do not represent anyone responsible for the campaign. Most Rhode Islanders know that the Mayor is the son of Chinese immigrants and this campaign is the League of Nations. It’s a melting pot of anyone and everyone who wants to benefit from Allan’s message of making Rhode Island Open for Business. Just like he’s done in Cranston," said Pat Sweeny, Fung campaign spokesperson.  

The campaign has not responded as to whether Johanson's volunteer support would continue to be welcomed on the campaign.  


Watston Weighs In

Ray Watson with the Mt. Hope Neighborhood Association issued a statement following the Tweet revelation today.  

"First off, let me preface my response by saying I am an independent and do not affiliate with either party.

That being said, what is her definition of "getting blacker"? What elements does she use to measure how "black" someone is and why is it equated with being negative? It sounds to me like a pretty racist statement so I'd like to hear her explain what she meant by it.

Second, why and how does being "blacker" equate to losing voting support? Especially coming from someone representing the GOP. Last I checked, the GOP had lost the last two Presidential elections to the "blacker" candidate.

Absolutely it's inappropriate because it was stated in a context that assumes that being blacker is somehow a negative. How am I, a Black man, supposed to interpret that statement?

I think that Mayor Fung definitely has to remove her from the campaign. Especially if he wants to remain a viable candidate for Governor for oppressed communities and communities of color, in particular the Black community.

I think it depends on how the GOP responds to this situation. As I stated, this seems like a very racist statement. Trying to defend it or explain it away could be construed as supporting racist views, which is going to further deteriorate their relationship with oppressed communities and communities of color in the state, especially the Black community. I would say the same about Mayor Fung as well."

EDITOR'S NOTE: A previous version had incorrectly attributed the quote above to Ray Rickman.  


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The wing-nut rubes like Miss Johansen and the GOP have been capitalizing on white fears. Which helped bring the GOP to the position is occupies today: a fear and loathing machine incapable of offering positive alternatives, choosing -- and it's a matter of choice (which makes this so much worse than if it could be attributed to simple, unaccountable stupidity) -- choosing instead to opt for capitalizing on fear, envy, hatred, bigotry, and ignorance.

And, more the pity, it's all for such short-term gain. Because the demographics are.. thank goodness, running against them.

. And yes, our president is hated by many conservative lemmings because of the color of his skin, they can deny it all they want but I've heard the hate speech enough times to know it is , unfortunately, so

Comment #1 by Sammy Arizona on 2014 01 23

Interesting that this is made in to two articles... why wouldn't Fung's comments be included in the actually article he's talking about.

Comment #2 by Rhodey Rhodes on 2014 01 23

It's true. Look at the fraud Tavares. Everyone knows he is GAY and is covering it up. Investigate that.

Comment #3 by Jackson Teller on 2014 01 24

You know I took a look at the timeline and context. When I first saw this I was ready to jump on the bandwagon of disavow, disavow, disavow. But if you actually read the tweets in context, it appears that she is saying that Obama's approval ratings aren't going down because he's black but because of his actual policies. And the day she tweeted is the same day that Obama said this "There’s no doubt that there’s some folks who just really dislike me because they don’t like the idea of a black president".

Literally, the same day. I suspect if we look at the @foxnation account there may be a comment about that with which she was responding to. My 15 min investigation finds this so I'll keep my ears posted on this story, but it seems as though the tweeter repeated a paraphrase of what the president said and then debunked what he said. Seems to be the opposite of racism imo. Again - i don't have all the facts, but what I have looked at leads me to this conclusion.

Comment #4 by Donn Roach on 2014 01 24

Don, calling her a racist gets a lot more clicks on the website. Ignoring this as the non story that it is would have been what a responsible journalist would have done. Now the tweeter can walk around with a scarlet R on her sweater. Kate Nagle should be ashamed.

Comment #5 by Redd Ratt on 2014 01 24

I posted the following response on the other article. I thought it should be reiterated here.

The comments made on my personal twitter account are solely my own, and are in no way a reflection of the mayor's opinion. First, I want to clarify that I do not work for the Fung campaign in any official capacity whatsoever. These brief comments were taken out of context and the intent behind them is anything but racist. I was responding to a Fox News article in which Obama blamed his own low approval ratings on his race. I was simply weighing in on a story that has been in the national media for a week now. If anything, it was President Obama that first brought up the issue of race. I was arguing that race is NOT a factor in his low ratings, and that policy is the only thing responsible for America's poor perception of him. In 2014, and in his second term as President of the United States, I think it is a shame that Obama feels the need to constantly bring his race into conversations on policy. It is no coincidence that this story came out a day after I posted a comment on the Providence Journal's site insinuating the Block campaign was guilty of dirty politics...

Comment #6 by erika johansen on 2014 01 24

"@fox news: His ratings must be getting lower and lower because he's getting blacker and blacker. That's the only thing that explains it."

How is this not racist? And how is it taken out of context? It's a tweet -- that is the context. Your comments are indeed racist. You should be ashamed of yourself, and your efforts to dodge accountability are pathetic, but typical of racist Republican extremists. Shame on you! and shame on Fung for staying silent.

Comment #7 by Parakeeta Byrd on 2014 01 24

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