In the broad spectrum of humor-based social experiments, the election of Dave Wilson is one of the more hilarious, and somewhat depressing, expressions about the state of race relations in America.
Why is that? Because he’s a white guy who won an election to the Houston Community College System against a black man in a predominantly black voting constituency, based purely on his pretending to be black. Not on the issues. Just on ads that made people believe he was an African-American.
From KHOU Houston:
In one of the biggest political upsets in Houston politics this election season, Wilson — an anti-gay activist and former fringe candidate for mayor — emerged as the surprise winner over 24-year incumbent Bruce Austin. His razor thin margin of victory, only 26 votes, was almost certainly influenced by his racially tinged campaign.
So how did he do it? He printed mailers that simply had black actors on it. That’s it – anyone can do that. It’s not necessarily deceptive. Here’s a view from the video:
He did one other thing. He simply wrote on one of his mailers, “Endorsed by Ron Wilson.” That’s absolutely true – Ron Wilson, his cousin, endorsed him. Now, many people in Houston might have misinterpreted that as a statement of support from a former state representative who bears the same name, and also happens to be African-American.
He put a disclaimer in that same ad that this was his cousin.
With just these two slight misdirections, white guy Dave Wilson was able to win in a predominantly black constituency because they thought he was black. He’s getting some flack for this, and his defeated opponent says he’s asking for a recount, but isn’t it sad that he could win based on just the insinuation that he was the same skin color as his constituents?
Still funny, though.