Florida Mayoral Candidate Paul Congemi dismissed calls for reparations and told Black people to go back to Africa.
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Let us repeat that: A 60-year-old man, who is running for mayor in St. Petersburg, Florida, told Black people to go back to Africa. According to The Washington Post, Congemi unapologetically made the inflammatory statements during a forum on Tuesday as he addressed a opponent, Jesse Nevel, and his supporters.
For reference, Nevel is actually a White man, who has made the issue of reparations part of his platform. His campaign is supported by the Uhuru Solidarity Movement, which believes that paying reparations to the descendants of slaves are good first step in healing the nation’s racial divide.
In Congemi’s opinion, Black Americans got their reparations paid in full when Barack Obama was elected President of the United States in 2008. Apparently, the highest political office is equivalent to centuries worth of unpaid wages. Who knew?
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“Mr. Nevel, you and your people talk about reparations,” he said, mentioning Jesse Nevel, a white campaign opponent who heads a group calling for reparations for African-Americans. “The reparations that you talk about, Mr. Nevel, your people already got your reparations. Your reparations came in the form of a man named Barack Obama.”
And Congemi told the crowd gathered at Tuesday’s forum he believes that Black people who don’t love the United States, should leave. He said, “My advice to you, if you don’t like it here in America, planes leave every hour from Tampa airport. Go back to Africa. Go back to Africa. Go back!”
— Evan Axelbank Fox13 (@EvanAxelbank) July 19, 2017
Congemi told The Washington Post that he doesn’t feel that way about all Black people, though. He insists that he has “nothing against African-Americans who are doing their best here in America.”
Surprisingly, this was Congemi’s first run-in with Nevel. “I had never met Jesse Nevel until last night,” Congemi said. “It’s obvious he is a self-hating white man.” He also accused Nevel and the Uhuru Solidarity Movement of having no solutions.
For his part, Nevel acknowledged that Congemi’s statements “reflects a segment of my community. I’ve met plenty of other people who feel that way. That’s why I feel that it’s important for those of us in the white community to take a public stand with reparations.”
Last year, the United Nations also asserted that the United States owes reparations to African-Americans due to the nation’s history of “enslavement, racial subordination and segregation, racial terrorism and racial inequality.”
Congemi had been a democrat before President Obama stated his support of same-sex marriage. Now, he’s a Republican supporter of Donald Trump.