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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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