Thursday, January 15, 2009

El Gambito

Today's 5:00 drivetime broadcast on 92Q (WQQK-FM 92.1) with Michael Baisden included a commercial from Eric Crafton's English Only group encouraging listeners to vote for the referendum on January 22. It is beyond irony that Crafton's commercial spot--running on a station whose target is the "adult" African American demographic--is most likely funded by an outside group with connections to 1950's white citizens councils and the Ku Klux Klan.

Part of the reason Eric Crafton may not be willing to reveal his contributors as he was required by law to do today is that if target black audiences hear of English Only's racist financial connections behind the commercial, they may not turn out to vote with Crafton or they may backlash against him. I am rather curious to know whether 92Q ever inquires into the source of funds they receive from advertisers. Would it make a difference to their sales department if they took money donated to Crafton's group by John Tanton, who has raised money from racists who despise African Americans?

92Q's unscientific online poll is currently showing English Only favored by 92Q's demographic 58% to 42%. That may or may not say anything about actual African American voter turnout on January 22, but it is not good news. Eric Crafton seems to be running a gambit of getting African Americans to vote or he would not be spending his campaign contributions on 92Q. I think he is betting on a sense of competitiveness that the African American community feels with Nashville's growing Hispanic community. At the ethnic level, English Only is tactical divide and conquer.

Whether that competitive feeling mobilizes African Americans will make or break English Only. I hope that we see demographic polling data soon after polls close next week and I hope they prove me wrong, but I have to believe that if the African American community (most of which voted to put the first African American in the White House) largely votes with Nashville's conservative white community, English Only wins, as does a troubling vestige of racism in Nashville.

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