James Meeks is a senator in the Illinois senate representing the 15th district. He’s been in that seat since 2002, but now he’s interested in becoming mayor of Chicago. According to the Chicago Sun Times, he was interviewed about his run for Mayor and said he was not interested in being defined as “the black candidate.” He went on to say, “If that group thinks I am the best person, good. But I don’t want to be their candidate.”
Clearly, being the “black candidate” is not a good thing. President Obama also danced that fine line of being black folks’ Presidential candidate. In the world of politics, every candidate is chosen by a group of people, supposedly by interests not race. In Meeks’ case he is only interested in being chosen by the 20,000 (no matter what ethnicity) petition signatures he has already accumulated and everyone else who is interested in supporting him. The consensus of black folks is instrumental to the candidate though and he’s in a hurry up and wait situation because the black community has not yet chosen a candidate.
But Meeks is certain he’s going to run no matter how long it takes the black community to come up with a contender. The big news on the block right now is Rahm Emanuel’s choice to leave Obama’s team and run for Mayor. And of course with his political ties Emanuel comes into the race with a major advantage.
Other candidates in political competition do not experience the “process” that African American candidates must succumb to in order to run the race. It’s a hold up, but do black voters deserve someone who isn’t interested in representing them or should we suck it up and understand that the black candidates are for the people…all of them? Read more here about the race in Chicago and how it’s heating up.