One of the songs of the summer: “Be Real” by Kid Ink.
It’s memorable for its hook: “Let’s just be honest; let’s just be real.”
If only Fernandina Beach Republican Representative Janet Adkins, currently chair of the Duval Delegation, could follow that hip hop banger’s advice in her dealings with media.
She certainly was willing to be real when she thought she was talking without media around, as happened during a private conference at a Republican Party of Florida confab.
Her subject? The importance of making sure as many prisons as possible are stuffed with disenfranchised African Americans, crammed into the redrawn Congressional District 5, which is currently called home by Corrine Brown.
Politico recorded her saying such gems as “you draw [Brown’s seat] in such a fashion so perhaps, a majority, or maybe not a majority, but a number of them will live in the prisons, thereby not being able to vote.”
“You take a look at how many minorities are in the prisons within that newly drawn proposed Congressional District 5, how many of them live in the prisons,” Adkins continued. “That is why Corrine Brown is so against an east-west. … Her concern is they live in prisons and can’t vote.”
Of course, those comments were never intended to be heard by people outside the decision-making matrix of the Republican Party. Adkins, not exactly the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree, wanted to make sure reporters weren’t listening. Thus, she asked …
“Let me give you inside ball game. Are there any reporters in here?” she said. “Any reporters? OK. So, inside ball game.”
But, alas, a reporter was in the room.
Reporters were also in the room at the Duval Delegation meeting last Thursday at City Hall. For whatever reason, real talk wasn’t forthcoming from Adkins then.
“My comments were made in an effort to explain the proposed lines,” she said, and “reflected the debate.”
When asked why she wasn’t able to be as candid with the media as she was in private, or whether it was honest to pretend that disenfranchised prisoners should count as part of the “voting age population,” Adkins dodged the question before cutting the press gaggle short.
She had “another meeting” to get to, even though the Delegation meeting was slated to run until 4 p.m. and it was barely 2 p.m.
We can be quite sure that it wasn’t with the NAACP or the Black Chamber of Commerce. And, if there hadn’t been mics around, she might have said something interesting.
Adkins is about to be termed out of the State Legislature, but she has another job in mind. She’s running for the $160K job of Nassau County School Superintendent “as a conservative Republican” with a thirst for “change and reform,” she said in a statement earlier this summer.
One can only imagine the “change and reform” she will bring to Nassau County schools, from the water fountains onward. No worries: She will win. She has the money. And this scandal doesn’t matter to anyone but city folk.
It’s been almost a year since a NE Florida Republican got caught by Politico talking as stupidly as Adkins was. Recall that in November 2014, then-Duval GOP Secretary Kim Crenier, manning the @JaxGOP Twitter account, seemed downright exuberant as tear gas flooded the streets of Ferguson. @JaxGOP excitedly tweeted: “No true bill! May God bless and protect Officer Darren Wilson and his family. Facts are facts.”
Crenier also Tweeted about knocking the “thugs” over with fire hoses, because “they probably need a shower anyway,” and about “President Race Baiter,” under her own account.
After considerable consternation, Crenier disappeared from party leadership, and so did GOP Chair Rick Hartley, who tried to hide her identity, and who had his own history of saying stupid shit like, “I didn’t realize thuggish was a racial slur.”
So, NE Florida Republicans and race. A checkered history.
Of course, some have no problem with Adkins’ comments. Check any local TV station’s Facebook posts about Adkins. The comments, by and large, will run the gamut, from “Go Gata” to “27/6” to bringing up some scandal or misstatement from a decade or two before.
Corrine Brown, you see, is an acceptable target. She talks like she does. And she
always seems to kick these people’s asses when it counts.
Congresswoman Brown seems to offend white folks, including many so-called liberals with whom you might have an IPA or listen to indie rock, in some kind of way. As such, she is a convenient target for the soft power brand of racialist thought that Adkins’ comments to her fellow Republicans embody.
What kind of school superintendent do you think Adkins will make?