An Open Letter to the Virginia Blogosphere

Both Vivian Paige and Conaway Haskins make a plea — one that deserves to be read by all:

As two black bloggers in the Virginia political blogosphere, we bring a unique perspective to the conversation regarding race that swirls around us. Each of our families have been in Virginia for more than 150 years, so we are well acquainted with the both with Virginia’s sordid past and its slow, steady move towards inclusion that has occurred in our lifetimes.

It comes as no surprise to us, then, that both candidates have used racial epithets in the past. To argue otherwise is to deny the realities of life in Virginia and our country. Inquiries into such behavior serve to shine light on those incidents and provide an opportunity for discerning whether they hold such sentiments today. It is not an irrelevant conversation, nor is it the only thing that matters in determining who should be the next junior senator from Virginia.

Some have used this inquiry as an opportunity to throw around racial epithets themselves. We contend that doing so is reflective of the lack of racial sensitivity that both candidates have indicated that they had in the past. Further, we contend that this desensitizes the readers to the real issues of race that are still with us. We find such behavior unacceptable and implore our colleagues to refrain from engaging in such behavior. While campaigns are willing to exploit the issue of race (and its companion issues of ethnicity and gender), the Virginia political blogosphere should not be so eager to do so. (emphasis added)

To call for a complete end to such a discussion would be not only naive but hypocritical of us, and we are not proposing that. What we do ask is that the level of discourse be raised a notch, always mindful of the possible effects of such polarizing rhetoric not only through November 7, but beyond.

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