Politics

White congressional candidate wants to participate in forum, but is told she can’t because she’s not black

Because Liz Carter is white, she’s banned from debating Democrat Rep. Hank Johnson and the other black candidates running for his Georgia congressional seat at a candidate forum in Atlanta tonight.

The forum, moderated by Newsmakers Live, is solely for the black Republicans and Democrats running for Johnson’s 4th Congressional District seat, Carter took to the Internet to say.

Carter, a Republican, expressed her disappointment on Twitter Wednesday, asking, “What happened to diversity?”

“We called them, we asked to participate,” said Carter’s campaign manager, Cheryl Prater. But she said Newsmaker Live’s event moderator, Maynard Eaton, told the campaign that because Carter is white, she’s only allowed to sit in the audience and not participate.

Newsmakers Live is a black media organization, which according to its website has a “global urbane perspective” and publishes a weekly journal and video show that “embodies a unique ‘infotainment’ concept that specializes in intense interviewing of prominent personalities and political figures.” Its website includes videos titled, “Are Black Babies An Endangered Species,” and “Moving African-American Businesses to the Next Level.”

Maynard, the editor-in-chief of Newsmakers Live, did not immediately respond to a request for comment by e-mail. But a flier advertising the event’s guests only shows the photos of the three black Democrats and one black Republican running for the seat: Hank Johnson,Vernon Jones and Connie Stokes, all Democrats, and Republican candidate Cory Ruth.

“By inviting this black Republican, they’ve made it racial,” said Prater. There are a couple other white candidates who were not invited to the program, Prater said.

Carter, she said, has worked to garner black support in the heavily black district and was endorsed by the College Republicans at Atlanta’s predominantly black Morehouse College.

Tonight the candidate will at least make an attempt to get on stage. “We’re showing up,” Prater said.

This reliably Democratic district congressional district has been the subject of embarrassment over the years, as firebrand conspiracist Cynthia McKinney once held the seat. Among Johnson’s gaffes, he became an Internet sensation this year by suggesting, on camera during a congressional hearing, that the island of Guam could “tip over and capsize” due to overpopulation.

Georgia’s primary is on July 20.

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