The United States has gone through decades and decades of intensive national movement towards a broader than before respect for civil rights, and yet still, some individuals remain impressively off base. You might hope that the leader of an entire state would not be able to be described that way, but if you live in Kentucky this week, those hopes would have been dashed.
That state’s Republican governor Matt Bevin posted a short video message to Twitter earlier this week marking his visit to the Nativity Academy, which is an independent school in West Louisville. While at that school, he met with members of the West Louisville Chess Club, a meeting he predicated by saying:
‘I’m going to go in and meet the members of the West Louisville Chess Club — not something you necessarily would have thought of when you think of this section of town.’
Watch it below.
— Governor Matt Bevin (@GovMattBevin) July 10, 2018
Seriously? Has it never occurred to Bevin that even in areas that might not be the prettiest or the highest quality, people engage in social activity? What does he think they do in West Louisville –just shoot guns and hide from guns?
The Chickasaw Neighborhood Association’s secretary Donovan Taylor commented:
‘Bevin… Blacks in west Louisville enjoy chess, tennis, and many other activities not associated with guns and violence. To think less of West Louisville shows your thinking of the residents of the area.’
Remarkably, the governor’s communications office refused to even acknowledge the potential for a misunderstanding, let alone the fact that Bevin’s comments belittle West Louisville as a hotbed of nothing but crime and dehumanize the area’s residents.
Bevin’s communications director Elizabeth Kuhn quipped that it’s “disappointing that some are trying to shift the focus away from the incredible accomplishments of these talented kids.”
To hosts of others, it’s disappointing that Bevin acted so surprised at a school that is mostly African American manages to host a chess club. Imagine his surprise when he learns people in the area do other human activities as well, like go to the movie theater and watch television.
He’s sought to impose his twisted worldview on residents of the area in the past. He proposed “prayer patrols” as a solution to violence in the area last year. In so doing, he symbolized an entire generation of Republican leaders’ insistence to do ANYTHING but address access to guns as a root cause of violence.
Bevin is nearing the end of his first term in office and is eligible to run for re-election next year, but he has not formally announced an intent to do so. In between now and then, midterm elections will sweep the country and could knock many leaders like Bevin out of their positions of power.
He has allies in his ideological positions in officials as high up as the president; the Trump administration has supported plans from Bevin that include the imposition of a work requirement for Medicaid recipients. They’ve also been similarly unhelpful and noncommittal when it comes to addressing issues of violence.
It’ll be the year after Bevin is eligible to run for re-election that we will see if the nation will choose to put that administration back in power for another four years.
Featured Image via Screenshot from the video