The NAACP hosts the very first debate of the 2011 general mayoral election of Las Vegas. Carolyn Goodman, wife of the current mayor of Las Vegas, faced off against Chris Giunchigliani, who currently serves as a Clark County Commissioner.
Things got ugly today at the NAACP Las Vegas mayoral debate when the questions started coming in from the community.
Delen Goldberg at the Las Vegas Sun reported the following:
Goodman received the harshest criticism for wearing a Kente cloth scarf featuring African colors. It was widely seen as pandering to the black crowd.
One audience member called her on it.
“Did you wear African garb to pander to us?” the woman asked.
“That is so insulting,” Goodman replied. “This was a gift to me. I wore this to honor you with a gift I was honored with.”
Goodman also invoked the name of City Councilman Ricki Barlow four times, describing him as a friend and ally. Barlow is black, which raised more accusations of pandering, but he also represents the neighborhoods Goodman talked about.
What this report doesn’t describe is the condescending tone Carolyn Goodman had as she snarled at this African American woman. In addition, Delen probably missed what happened inside the room after the debate was over. The member of the audience who asked the African garb question went over to Carolyn Goodman to express regret if her question had come across as offensive, and to reaffirm that it was not her intention. Carolyn Goodman proceeded to put her hand in the woman’s face (talk to the hand) and could only mutter that she was highly offended.
No one can honestly say that Chris Giunchigliani would ever dream of talking to people that way. This is a clear distinction between the two. Earlier she said her door is always open. Apparently not.
The clear message from Carolyn Goodman is that we the people don’t have the right to question her. Was it a legitimate question for a black woman to ask a white politician wearing Kente cloth to a black political event? Me thinks so.
In another of the many condescending statements, Carolyn Goodman, on a point that had nothing to do with parenthood or children, alluded to the fact that she has children, something she has used to contrast herself with Chris Giunchigliani in the past. A number of women in the community have been very offended by this line of negative campaigning from Carolyn Goodman. Is it fair to call a black woman offensive for asking a politician a racially related question, and then point out that another woman has had no children?
To summarize the rest of the debate, Allen Choate from the Las Vegas Review-Journal said it best when he wrote, “She (Chris Giunchigliani) was more prepared with specifics than was Goodman.”
Delen Goldberg summarized the debate well, describing it as Carolyn Goodman “using every opportunity” to criticize Chris Giunchigliani for being a politician, and Chris Giunchigliani using her record and knowledge of government “to substantively answer questions.”