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If you were scrolling through Twitter on Tuesday morning, you may have seen a few topics trending: #TuesdayThoughts, #TuesdayMotivation, and one completely unrelated to the day of the week: "Pete Buttigieg Is A Lying MF."
The topic was trending due to an opinion piece titled "Pete Buttigieg Is A Lying MF" written by The Root senior writer Michael Harriot. In it, Harriot addressed a resurfaced video of Buttigieg from 2011, in which the presidential candidate said many minority children from low-income neighborhoods don't know people who demonstrate the value of education, implying that seeing more role models would help them to succeed. At the time, Buttigieg was was running for mayor of South Bend, Ind.
"Kids need to see evidence that education is going to work for them," he said at the time. "You’re motivated because you believe that at the end of your education, there is a reward; there’s a stable life; there’s a job. And there are a lot of kids—especially [in] the lower-income, minority neighborhoods, who literally just haven’t seen it work. There isn’t someone who they know personally who testifies to the value of education."
“Kids” from “lower income, minority neighborhoods” don’t have “someone they know personally who testifies to the value of education.” - Pete Buttigieg, 2011 South Bend Mayoral Candidate #MayorPete #PeteForAmerica #Pete2020 #Buttigieg2020 #Buttigieg pic.twitter.com/sd1bZDLoG8
— Resist Programming 🛰 (@RzstProgramming) November 24, 2019
Harriot held nothing back in his assessment of the mayor's words. "I want to be clear: Pete Buttigieg is a lying motherf—ker. This is not a misunderstanding. This is not a misstatement. Pete Buttigieg went to the best educational institutions America has to offer and he — more than anyone on the goddamned planet — knows that everything he just said is a baldfaced lie," he wrote, pointing to Buttigieg's Harvard education.
The piece goes on to describe the way odds are stacked against black and minority students: "Majority-minority schools receive $23 billion less in funding than majority-white schools, according to a recent study by EdBuild. Black students in Indiana, the state where Buttigieg serves as mayor, and across the country, are disciplined more harshly than white students."
"Mayor Pete’s bullsh—ery is not just wrong, it is proof," Harriot wrote. "It proves men like him are more willing to perpetuate the fantastic narrative of negro neighborhoods needing more role models and briefcase-carriers than make the people in power stare into the sun and see the blinding light of racism."
The piece was published on Monday evening, and by Tuesday morning, it had gone viral as people called Harriot's piece a must-read.
I have had to redraft this tweet 3x because #MayorPete well-meaning ignorance is so upsetting. I went to an all Black elementary school. Underfunded & all that. The problem isn’t with us. Its with people who think it is. https://t.co/e2JI64R59U
— Maya Wiley (@mayawiley) November 26, 2019
A necessary and incisive discussion on the failings of not only Pete Buttigieg, but also of the United States of America’s disparate allocation of resources along racial lines.
Supremacy wears many masks.
Written by @michaelharriot https://t.co/9F8ylvSSyu
— Blair Amadeus Imani (@BlairImani) November 26, 2019
“Pete Buttigieg doesn’t want to change anything. He just wants to be SOMEthing.” WHEW.
Stop what you’re doing and read this. @michaelharriot is a Griot in the truest sense of the word. Kudos to @TheRoot for publishing this.
Pete Buttigieg Is a Lying MF https://t.co/hpm4JCqodB
— April is #StillWithKap (@ReignOfApril) November 26, 2019
This is a remarkable essay. If you're a Buttigieg supporter, I would encourage you to read this for the feedback. As white Americans, our lazy misperceptions of communities of color result in negligence, erasure, and violence.
Pete Buttigieg Is a Lying MF https://t.co/6EWmgd8vyK
— Charlotte Clymer🏳️🌈 (@cmclymer) November 26, 2019
The piece came amid ongoing reports that the South Bend mayor has had trouble polling with black voters. A recent Quinnipiac University poll found him at 0% with black voters in South Carolina. In an interview with CNN about the poll, Buttigieg said he "recognize[s] and welcome[s] the work we have ahead."
"That same poll you mentioned showed that the majority of black voters in South Carolina say they don't have an opinion of me right now. That means we've got work to do, but we're doing the work," he said. "We're making investments both on the air and on the ground... What we do know is that when black voters hear the agenda that I have for black America and what motivates me to deal with these issues, the response is supportive, it is powerful, and I believe that that is going to carry us to success in South Carolina and across the country."
Buttigieg has not yet addressed the op-ed.