Recently, during a news conference on the city`s trash woes, she said that Harrisburg`s recycling would not be open to "some scumbag from Perry County".
It touched off an explosion. The story, Mayor Linda Thompson`s `scumbag` comment causes firestorm, by Emily Previti, PennLive.com, March 28, 2013, has a sidebar that looks like this:
Some background: Harrisburg is half-black, and Perry County is almost all-white. Unlike other neighboring white counties, Perry has a redneck reputation—and in fact, you will see trailer homes, cars on blocks, Confederate flags, and enough camouflage to cover a mountain.
Thompson`s comment was racial. She meant to poke a stick in the eye of working-class whites. Never mind that her constituency of, ah, non-working blacks has no cause to throw stones. It`s the new hierarchy—crime-committing, welfare-collecting blacks may be low, but they`re one rung above poor whites.
The episode revealed a few data points in America`s shifting racial landscape. For one, reaction from Perry county was swift and overwhelming. A few protestors even came down with signs. Politicians from county commissioners to congressmen denounced the remark.
At the same time, we witnessed the increasing boldness of the black politician`s anti-whiteness. Whether it`s trash or guns, it comes down to race for blacks. When will whites cross the line between an implicit and an explicit response?