Wisconsin election officials are preventing Ieshuh Griffin from using the above phrase below her name on the ballot. Ms. Griffin is running for the state Assembly and, you’ll be surprised to hear this, she’s running as independent. Quoth the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinal: “Unlike candidates from the established Democratic and Republican parties, independents are allowed a five-word statement of purpose on the ballot to explain to voters what their candidacy is about.”
The state’s Government Accountability Board apparently has at least three members who either have a sense of humor or an admirable dedication to the First Amendment or both as the board voted 3-2 in favor of the phrase. Unfortunately, it takes four votes to approve and so the voting this fall will be far less colorful.
Ms. Griffin defended her slogan by saying: “"I’m not making a derogatory statement toward an ethnic group. I’m stating what I’m not. It’s my constitutional right to freedom of speech." Had the phrase been allowed it certainly would have posed a challenge for any truth-in-advertising requirements. How, exactly, would one prove whether or not you are the whiteman’s bitch?
It’s probably no surprise to you to learn that Ms. Griffin is African-American, as retiring Rep. Annette "Polly" Williams, whose seat Ms. Griffin is running for. Rep. Williams said that some of her constituents were offended by the phrase. Not so board member Thomas Barland, who voted to allow Griffin to make the statement. "She says a lot in five words. It wasn’t pornographic. It wasn’t obscene, and I didn’t interpret it as racial." Like the other five members of the board, Mr. Barland is a retired judge who is not African-American. Which would seem to make him the perfect person to judge whether someone is or isn’t a bitch for his particular ethnic group.
I had briefly read this article also. I don’t have it in my news feeds any more but I thought some of the comments were very revealing. I enjoyed the double standard.
I thought the best comment came from an audience member at the hearing (and I’m paraphrasing) “If a white candidate made some reference to ‘whiteman’ then everyone would be all upset about the racial overtones in the slogan.
What wasn’t in the article and needs to be shared are the phrases of her independent opponents for this seat:
Whitey: “Whiteman who can Bitchslap well”
Asian: “Yellowpoeple power in NUMBDRS!”
Hispanic: “No Paperwork required! Viva Mexico!”
2nd Black: “I will be YOUR bitch!”
After seeing some of these other independent candidate slogans I’m beginning to see why the judges were so receptive to Ieshuh Griffin.