47th Annual Conference | April 19 – 22, 2017 | Minneapolis, MN USA | Hyatt Regency Minneapolis Hotel | #UAA2017 | urbanaffairsassociation.org | urbanaffairsassociation.org/conference/

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Friday, April 21 • 3:30pm - 4:00pm
FR3.30.19 Of Suspicious Minds? Race, Scandal, and the DC Mayoralty

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Local governments have had a long and storied tradition of corruption and, over time, black mayors have been the disproportionate targets of the federal dragnet. Yet, despite the attention given to public corruption, the racial politics of political scandals has received limited scholarly attention. This is a precarious omission given the schematic linking of race and the untoward behavior of elected officials, especially in American cities. The extent and persistence of corruption and other ethical transgressions raise a number of important questions, including whether, for example, there racial differences in political ethics – i.e., the “practice of making moral judgments…” about elected officials accused of impropriety? And, if so, why? Using survey data from the Washington Post, I examine these questions in view of how D.C. residents responded to the ethics cases of two mayors – i.e., the drug arrest of Marion Barry and the corruption case against Vincent Gray. I show that there is an important racial difference in how black and white voters responded to each incident, and highlight that blacks’ suspicion of racial harassment of both black mayors played an important role in influencing their political judgments.

Nyron Crawford, Temple University


Friday April 21, 2017 3:30pm - 4:00pm CDT
Mirage (2nd Floor--foyer area)