*Be careful where you point that finger...especially if you’re with somebody black. That’s most likely the lesson resounding in the ears of Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges (D); who has been accused by a local TV station of supporting criminal gangs, after she and a former felon promoting the get-out-the-vote initiative around Election Day posed in a thumbs up picture pointing at each other.
The mayor was accused of flashing a “gang sign” and quoted a law enforcement official claiming that she was “showing solidarity with the gangs.”
Hodges and Navell Gordon, who were volunteers at Neighborhoods Organizing for Changed, were actually trying to maneuver an innocent camera pose; not communicate solidarity with a gang, as video of their interaction reveals.
Numerous historic event make it easy to conclude that the end result would’ve been different if Hodges had been posing with a young white man. Even the media outlet admitted there was no evidence that Gordon belonged to a gang. But those are apparently “the breaks” for a black man with a criminal past; and the news outlet and law enforcement sources saw “flashing a gang sign” as the logical conclusion.
This isn’t the first time African-Americans were accused of supporting criminal activity because of hand gestures they made. Michael Brown, the black teenager shot and killed by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, was portrayed as a thug for showing various hand signs in old photos. And other African-Americans unjustly accused have included anybody from prominent sports figures to unknowing schoolchildren.