Monday, May 10, 2010

Dan Fanelli's racism, and Alan Grayson's common sense

On the heels of this racist mess of an ad from Alabama would-be Governor Tim James comes this incredibly racist ad from Congressional candidate Dan Fanelli, who is running against Florida eighth district Congressman Alan Greyson (who is surprisingly awesome for a major-party politician):

Transcript: I’m Dan Fanelli with a little bit of common sense for you. Does this [motions toward older thin white man in a white shirt and tie] look like a terrorist, or this? [motions to a heavily muscled young man of color in a black shirt] It’s time to stop this political correctness nonsense and the invasion of our privacy. Let’s face it. If a good-looking, ripped guy without much hair flies an airplane into the Twin Towers, I’d have no problem getting pulled out of line at the airport. I’m Dan Fanelli, and I approved this message.

An older white man is totally fine to get on a plane. A younger Arab-American man is not. There is no other reason other than race that Fanelli thinks people of Arab descent are terrorists – because terrorism is very far from unique to the Middle East. These are racist scare tactics at their worst and most blatant, posing as “humor”. I’m not sure what privacy has to do with it – I guess he is saying that white folks deserve it at the airport, but people of color don’t?

This is what the recent changes to Arizona law have brought to political discourse. It is now officially okay to advocate racism – straight up, blatant, racism, there is no other word for it – in order to get elected.

He is saying that if you get him to Congress, he will make sure that white men are given legal privileges over folks of Arab descent.

He is saying that equal treatment under the law – as provided for in the 14th Amendment to the Constitution – is silly.

He is saying that the security theater is more important than the rights of American citizens whose skin is not white.

He is saying that racism is common sense. He is saying that preferential treatment for one race should be just a simple fact.

I'm editing to include the Council on American-Islamic Relations' reply to this advertisement:

The Council on American-Islamic Relations is calling on national Republican leaders to repudiate the ad. From their release (via the Washington Post blog):

"These outrageously racist and Islamophobic political appeals indicate that Mr. Fanelli falsely believes his constituents are as bigoted and intolerant as he obviously is," said CAIR Legislative Director Corey Saylor. "Local, state and national GOP leaders must speak out strongly against such racist and un-American campaign tactics."

Saylor said a number of recent terror incidents -- including the suicide plane attack on an IRS facility in Texas, the shooting of Pentagon guards and the alleged Christian militia plot to kill police officers -- disprove the crude stereotypes promoted by Fanelli's ads.

He said the anti-Islam hostility generated by the ads could result in ordinary Florida Muslims being targets for discrimination or even hate crimes.

Fanelli is arguing that voters should choose him over Congressman Alan Greyson, a Democrat who is in his first term, because of Greyson’s unwillingness to promulgate racial profiling. Grayson's reticence to perpetuate legal racism makes him a “bum” (which is, by the way, a rather classist slur.)

I talked to Greyson’s press secretary on the phone and through e-mail earlier today. He alerted me to Fanelli's regular participation in Tea Party demonstrations, and offers this rebuke from Grayson's campaign ads:
Scratch a teabagger, find a racist.
As Grayson points out, Fanelli's ad and involvement in the Tea Party movement are unapologetic. His pride in racism is indicative of the kind of rhetorical racist nonsense that's endemic to the Tea Party movement. As Monica of TransGriot puts it:
[T]hey have views and have acted in ways that put them in alignment with people who like to wear white pointed hoods on the weekends or play domestic terrorist soldier while spouting pseudo christian rhetoric or anti government slogans.
After reading Greyson’s response, I read up on his record. He’s pro-choice, voted for the Lily Ledbetter Pay Act, supports hate crime laws, and has fought tooth and nail for a more equitable health care system – he was the one who said “The Republican health care plan is this: 'Don't get sick, and if you do get sick, die quickly.”. He started a website remember those who died because they lacked health insurance. He has also continued to press for a public healthcare option, refusing to be content with Obama’s compromise.

I doubt he has a perfect record, and if you let me know about his more problematic attitudes and actions, I’ll be happy to edit this post to include them. But he’s working harder for people than many Democrats, and he’s got a lot more common sense about racism than his opponent.

Today, I donated $5 to Grayson’s campaign. I rarely give money to political candidates, and I don't live in Florida, but I think fighting racism in public discourse and supporting worthwhile candidates is worth a little pocket change. If you feel the same way, click on over here.

(I also wrote to Fanelli's campaign to register my disgust. The contact email is:

via Latin in America


  1. Wow. Things like this make me continually astonished that I've actually moved to Florida, and am a registered voter here. (Not in his district, sadly/thankfully, but it's still very close to home in a way that it just wasn't when I lived in crazy liberal Berkeley, CA.)

  2. I want to know more about the actors hired to be the 'terrorists'. How do they feel about it? Were they one second away from punching his idiot lights out the whole time? I mean--in the longer version of the ad, he has a guy trussed up in rope with a 'turban' on and duct tape over his mouth. Duct tape? Really?

    I mean, it's no secret that pretty much the only roles available to middle-eastern or middle-eastern 'looking' actors are roles as terrorists. But this isn't just fiction--it's part of a campaign to elect a...person...who would rob them of their basic civil rights without hesitation. Did they see it that way, or was it the same as those other roles? Did they take it out of desperation for a job? Did he pay them a lot (I'm geussing no)? Or do they not really care? Are they so used to being treated as not just Other, but Evil Muderous Other, that this seems tame in comparison? Did they even know what the job really was? Did Fanelli's staff fully inform them before they agreed to the job?

    I feel like there's a lot behind the scenes on this one. You know, other than racism and a desperate need to accrue power through fear and hate mongering.

  3. About the actors: A good number of Americans and Israelis speak Arabic fluently, so they don't have to be Arabs to speak Arabic. As for the Ad, Dan is jumping on the Tea party wagon to make this country a New Nazi state, which is of course a danger to a good number of minorities, but above all a danger to America and the world--I'm shocked, yet not surprised that that this racist bandit is running for office, representing the 8th. district that has a huge Hispanic population, as if he's running to purify the district of the undesirables, of course according to his illogical thinking process. To counter his argument, simply ask was Tomothy Mcveigh of Oklahoma Arab, and did have brown skin, and where were you Mr. Dan at the time?... when you should have advocated, according to your flawed logic that people who looked like Timothy should have been profiled. Well, it's not up to him now; it's up the citizens of the district to show this racist where he belongs and send him not to washington, but to Poland's Nazi camps so he can see for himself what hatred cause people to do to innocent others that they preceive as threat or an inferior race unworthy of equal rights--and note here that everything the Nazis did was signed by officials who were simply defending Germany!!!!A lesson in history here, we're the USA and we're a country of laws and equal protection, and if Dan isn't happy about that, tell him to pack and leave if he's unwilling to accept our constitution and ideals for what they are, not what they should be.


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