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Turns out voters don't like being pandered to.
Democratic leaders staged a photo op where they wore Kente cloth and kneeled for almost 9 minutes in the capital.
Though the Democrats were most certainly trying to appear "woke," the photo op backfired on them.
Most black voters suggested that this was a "publicity stunt," not solidarity with the movement.
Both House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer were among the Democrats kneeling and wearing Kente cloth.
One of the most pointed criticisms came from bestselling author Obianuju Ekeocha.
Excuse me, dear Democrats. In your tokenism, you didn't wait to find out that this thing that you're hanging around your neck is not just some African uniform — it's actually the kente material. The kente belongs to the Ghanaian people, mainly the Ashanti tribe.
Excuse me, Democrats. Don't treat Africans like we're children. These fabrics and these colorful things that we have within our culture and tradition, they all mean something to us. I know you look at us and you say, 'Oh, Africans are so cute in all of your colorful dresses.' Well, some of those dresses and patterns and colors and fabrics actually do mean something to us.
See Ekeocha's stinging rebuke as well as other criticisms from black voters below:
The criticism was swift and fierce.
Could a backlash against Democrats be building?
Many black voters accused the Democratic leadership of pandering to them and treating them like "tokens."
Today has more details on the growing backlash:
Congressional Democrats wore a traditional African cloth to announce Monday sweeping legislation that aims to increase the accountability of police officers.
The Democrats wore Kente cloth stoles handed out by the Congressional Black Caucus and knelt on the floor of the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center for 8 minutes and 46 seconds — the time former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin’s knee was on the neck of George Floyd — before a press conference announcing the proposed "Justice in Policing Act."
Rep. Karen Bass, the chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, defended the clothing choice to MSNBC.
“The significance of the Kente cloth is our African heritage, and for those of you without that heritage who are acting in solidarity,” Bass said at the news conference. “That is the significance of the Kente cloth. Our origins and respecting our past.”
Their clothing choice was derided on social media by some, with one author, Obianuju Ekeocha, posting a video saying the move was “virtue signaling.”
“I’m sure they put around their necks as some kind of mark or show of unity or solidarity with black people,” Ekeocha said in part. “So, in other words…this colorful fabric they had around their necks as some sort of placating symbol to show that they are not racist and they are together with black people.”
According to the African American Intellectual History Society, Kente cloth is originally from modern-day Ghana and Togo and is traditionally produced by the men of the Akan and Ewe people in a process dating back to 1000 B.C.
Kente cloth, per mythology, was inspired by the “great trickster Ananse the Spider,” who spun a web so beautiful that when two brothers, Nan Koragu and Nana Ameyaw, saw it, they returned to their village of Bonwire, Ghana, and began to weave Kente, the society said in a 2017 post.
It is unclear where the Democrats got the idea to wear the Kente cloth.
Though many voters have expressed frustration and even taken offense at the photo op, the Democrat leadership has not yet issued an apology.
However, you can be certain that if it were President Trump who donned the Kente cloth, then Nancy Pelosi would be demanding his immediate apology!
Even acclaimed director Jordan Peele made fun of the Democrats for their pandering.
He compared them to his horror film Get Out.
According to Fox News:
Director Jordan Peele had some fun at the expense of Democratic lawmakers who wore kente cloth as a tribute to George Floyd.
Top Democrats, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, raised eyebrows on Monday for wearing the Ghana-inspired clothing on Capitol Hill, including during their kneeling ceremony. Critics accused the lawmakers of "virtue signaling" and "cultural appropriation."
"Saturday Night Live" writer Steven Castillo mocked the Democrats with a photoshopped image from Peele's 2017 satirical horror film "Get Out" of two of its characters wearing the kente cloth.
"Democrats today," Castillo captioned the image, which was later shared by Peele to his 1.7 million Twitter followers.
The two characters, played by Bradley Whitford and Catherine Keener, are the two main villains of "Get Out." It is revealed in the climax of the film that their characters kidnap black people with the intention of transplanting their own brains into their hostages' bodies as they deem black physical characteristics superior to the bodies of white people.
Perhaps the Democrats' PR team should do their home next time.
What an embarrasment!