Assigning public housing by race? What could be more inimical to the cause of ethnic diversity, much-beloved of liberals? What could be more reactionary than a call for blatant segregation? What could be more overtly racist?
Yet no one has branded Brooklyn city councilwoman Laurie Cumbo a racist. Most likely, this is because she is black and, therefore, gets a pass when she asks with a straight face why there are so many Asians living in housing projects in the Fort Greene section of the borough she represents.
At a council hearing on public housing Thursday, Cumbo asked:
How is it that one specific ethnic group has had the opportunity to move into a development in large numbers?
The reference was to what she called “blocs” of Asians, a claim she doubled down on, telling the New York Post:
There could be some benefit to housing people by culture … I think it needs to be discussed.
Cumbo’s query raised the Irish of other council members, including Margaret Chin, a woman of Asian extraction, who said:
She certainly could’ve chosen her words a bit more carefully. The fact is that there are many Asian-American families … who have applied to live in public housing.
Cumbo issued an apology, but then revealed she had no idea what she had apologized for by explaining that she simply wanted to know if the New York City Housing Authority “uses a cultural preference priority component” in picking tenants, which would explain all those pesky goo— … er, Asians.
Cumbo has demonstrated that she is an equal opportunity bigot, having in the past expressed concerns about the “growing Jewish community.” The IJ Review reports that shortly after being elected to the city council, she blamed the rash of “knock-out game” attacks, prevalent in 2014, on “Jewish landlords.” In a lengthy Facebook post, she wrote:
Many African American/Caribbean residents expressed a genuine concern that as the Jewish community continues to grow, they would be pushed out by their Jewish landlords or by Jewish families looking to purchase homes. I relayed these sentiments at the forum not as an insult to the Jewish community, but rather to offer possible insight as to how young African American/Caribbean teens could conceivably commit a hate crime.
The article goes on to note that in 2011, Cumbo invited former CUNY professor Leonard Jeffries to serve as a featured speaker for an “African Day” event. Jeffries has made a number of anti-Semitic comments, including his comparison of Jews to skunks that “stink up the place” and his claim that “rich Jews” financed the slave trade.
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