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*** UPDATED x1 - Mark Kirk and Anita Alvarez used the same photo *** The ugliest race in Illinois

Wednesday, Mar 12, 2014

* The Sun-Times goes into great detail about House Democratic mailers which attack Will Guzzardi, who’s running against Rep. Toni Berrios. For example

This week, voters in the district received the latest in a series of ads alleging that Guzzardi favors going easy on sex offenders.

The new mailer adds an odd racial twist to this line of attack. It features a photo of a young white woman with manly hands clasping her bare shoulders. You can’t see the face of the person whose hands they are, but they’re obviously not the hands of a white person.

* Another example

Gov. Pat Quinn professes neutrality, but a high-ranking Quinn appointee, former 1st Ward Ald. Manny Flores, appears in Toni Berrios campaign literature, urging people to “join me in voting” for her.

It would be interesting to ask Flores how he plans to vote for Toni Berrios since he moved from the Northwest Side, to the northwest suburbs, after quitting the City Council and joining the Quinn administration. Flores has been registered to vote in Park Ridge, miles from the 39th Illinois House District, since 2012.

* But they totally accept Guzzardi’s explanation about one of those attacks without question

The attacks are based on an article that Guzzardi wrote for his college newspaper in 2006. He says the comment was taken out of context, doesn’t reflect his campaign’s stance and is an attempt by the incumbent to play off voter fears.

* Guzzardi links to the column on his own website

In short, in this digital age of infinite proliferation of data, expungement is a fantasy. The blank slate it once offered to those convicted of minor offenses is more like the old whiteboard on my dorm room door: though you might try to wipe it clean, there will always be some traces of what used to be written there.

If there were ever an issue for which civil rights groups on campus should get up in arms, this is it. Just like denying ex-convicts voting rights or sex offender tracking and registration, this is an instance of societal double jeopardy. These offenders have made an agreement with the justice system about the recompense they owe society for their transgression; having paid it, they should be able to return to society as members in good standing. Instead, they are dogged by their conviction for the rest of their lives.

Emphasis added to show this wasn’t “taken out of context.” He wrote what he wrote.

* To be clear, Guzzardi has been running away as fast as he can from that column. And it was, after all, a college newspaper column for crying out loud. The Fraternal Order of Police, Chicago Lodge #7 has endorsed him, which pretty much blows that “soft on predators” attack out of the water.

But the sex offender stuff was clearly not taken out of context.

* However, the Sun-Times does have a valid point about the mailer adding an “odd racial twist.” Here it is…

Ugly.

Just ugly.

*** UPDATE *** From a commenter

So Mark Kirk is somehow not trying to appeal to the worst, most racist elements of human nature when he used the exact same photo, right?

The commenter is correct. Go have a look.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


105 Comments
  1. - Will Caskey - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 10:49 am:

    I feel like the title should be bestowed in each IL cycle going forward.


  2. - Will Caskey - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 10:51 am:

    BTW here are scans of all the mailers from both sides and third parties:

    https://www.facebook.com/will.caskey/media_set?set=a.10202031551684062.1073741832.1044396471&type=3


  3. - downstate hack - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 10:51 am:

    Ugly is absolutely right. An unbelievably offensive ad.


  4. - East Side Eddie - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 10:54 am:

    Not sure the “soft on predators” thing plays well in the target demographic.


  5. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 10:54 am:

    === Ugly is absolutely right. An unbelievably offensive ad. ===

    I think that’s the point.


  6. - Not Rich - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 10:56 am:

    hey carole burnett: welcome to chicago politics


  7. - phocion - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 10:56 am:

    The photo in the ad is clearly an appeal to the worst racist impulses. Berrios may get a frosty welcome next time she sees black caucus members. And I kind of doubt Toni Preckwinkle would much approve, either. Shame on the campaign for running it.


  8. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 10:57 am:

    === Not sure the “soft on predators” thing plays well in the target demographic. ===

    Are you sure? What demographic would actually support being soft on predators?


  9. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 10:58 am:

    === Berrios may get a frosty welcome next time she sees black caucus members ===

    Why? The person in the mailer is clearly not African American.


  10. - Will Caskey - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 10:59 am:

    Standard disclosures: I live in the district and am a consultant to Joe Berrios, although I am not engaged in this race.

    Rich is right: on the technical merits the allegation is accurate. However it is not how I would typically present such an attack.

    Effective attacks are not only about accuracy. Context and credibility matter, and shocking or extreme allegations can often turn off voters even if they are absolutely true.

    In this case I would personally draw attention to the aspect of Guzzardi’s column that said misdemeanors should be kept secret. In Illinois that would include first time domestic violence, drunk driving and many other unpleasant crimes.

    His protest that he wrote it in “college” or “while a teenager” is patently ridiculous. Guzzardi is more than okay attacking Berrios for events that happened in 2006.

    He wrote an extremely stupid column in college (which was not that long ago), and now he gets to wear it whether he likes it or not, style and nuance notwithstanding.


  11. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 11:01 am:

    ===Why? The person in the mailer is clearly not African American.===

    Yikes, get a clue.

    If you can’t understand the subtle messages of mail, then it might be best you stay - Anonymous -.


  12. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 11:04 am:

    I see Jesse Helms’ old ad crew has picked up some business with the Cook County Democratic Party chairman.


  13. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 11:04 am:

    === If you can’t understand the subtle messages of mail, then it might be best you stay - Anonymous ===

    Since you have a greater understanding than I do, maybe you can explain it to me Willy.


  14. - OneMan - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 11:04 am:

    Yep, sending a message….


  15. - A guy... - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 11:04 am:

    Need a word “uglier” than “ugly” to describe this. Wouldn’t even touch the paper.


  16. - ikeepitreal - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 11:05 am:

    anonymous, i have always loved your comments on this blog, especially if i want the point of view from the madigan staff. i think Steve Brown has found his successor.


  17. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 11:05 am:

    I’m not sure how the Sun-Times concludes the man standing in the background is not white. His hands are clearly grimy, his arms are clearly tan, but he clearly is not black.

    By “not white”, do they mean “Hispanic” or “Latino”? Because the majority of Latinos in the U.S. are “white”, contrary to popular conflagration. If they want to write he is Latino, then say so instead of implying it…but it is tough to conclude from the piece.

    The piece may be over-the-top for other reasons, but may not matter really…according to on-the-ground reports, folks stopped reading their mail five days ago. A contrast piece talking about Berrios’ efforts to keep kids safe, might have made sense…or they might have done that piece already and it just was ignored by S-T.

    As far as Ugliest Campaign contest, I think that has to go to Sandack v. Matune. You’d have to go back to the pink mailers against Granberg a decade ago to find something as homophobic as what is being sent on Matune’s behalf.


  18. - Huh? - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 11:06 am:

    “The photo in the ad is clearly an appeal to the worst racist impulses.”

    “… but they’re obviously not the hands of a white person.”

    I disagree that the hands are not attached to a white person. To me, the hands look like somebody tried to apply make up to make the hands look dirty. Look at the sides of the fingers and the area to the left of the right thumb. Looks like white skin to me.

    I will agree that at first glance, the implication is dirty politics, but I don’t think it is racist politics.


  19. - Dan Bureaucrat - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 11:08 am:

    Too bad Guzzardi doesn’t stand by his statement. It’s really just about being able to start a new life. A lot of people would agree with him.

    The hands look like they belong to a mechanic. Very strange.


  20. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 11:08 am:

    Now we know where - Anonymous - stands.

    I feel bad for you for being either so ignorant of something in front of you, or so callous that this picture has no impact.


  21. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 11:09 am:

    I don’t think this is the - Anonymous - that we are use to…


  22. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 11:11 am:

    === I feel bad for you for being either so ignorant of something in front of you, or so callous that this picture has no impact. ===

    So can you explain the racial message that you believe this mailer is trying to portray? I’m seriously just trying to get your take.


  23. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 11:11 am:

    –I’m not sure how the Sun-Times concludes the man standing in the background is not white. His hands are clearly grimy, his arms are clearly tan, but he clearly is not black.–

    You can’t be serious.


  24. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 11:12 am:

    Do.Not.Feed.Trolls.


  25. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 11:13 am:

    === anonymous, i have always loved your comments on this blog ===

    Thank you. Its the first time anyone has ever said that to me. I am working on a memoir - I’m hoping that you will read it. The title is “An Anonymous Life”


  26. - East Side Eddie - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 11:14 am:

    Anonymous,

    Not about to start this debate, but statutory rape is more prevalent in some communities than others. I think this is probably what the heart of Guzzardi’s editorial was about. The non-violent offenders wanting to put their past behind them.

    There are better things to go negative on Guzzardi about….i.e. Not being from the neighborhood.


  27. - Rahm'sMiddleFinger - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 11:15 am:

    YDD- You’re joking, right?


  28. - ikeepitreal - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 11:20 am:

    ===He wrote an extremely stupid column in college (which was not that long ago)===

    good point Will, however it was 8 years does seem a long time for me. as for toni berrios, 8 years ago she was 28 years old and already a member of the ILGA.


  29. - Mac from South Philly - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 11:21 am:

    So Mark Kirk is somehow not trying to appeal to the worst, most racist elements of human nature when he used the exact same photo, right?

    http://politics.suntimes.com/article/washington/kirk-introduce-bill-cracking-down-sex-trafficking-websites/mon-03102014-842pm


  30. - Will Caskey - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 11:21 am:

    East Side Eddie: Literally no one cares about carpetbagger attacks.

    This isn’t the 1970s. City residents are much more mobile and less anchored to their particular neighborhoods.

    Heck I’m a huge Berrios supporter and I moved herein 2009.


  31. - Objective Dem - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 11:24 am:

    I think YDD and Huh? are making an interesting point related to the race of the “attacker.” The hands look like a black person’s hands unless you look closely, than they look like dirty hands of a white person.

    My sense is the people who created the ad were conscious that they could face criticism for the race baiting, so they used dirty hands. Now they can deny they were race-baiting even though they are.


  32. - Will Caskey - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 11:27 am:

    ikeepitreal: The relative age makes no difference to me, be it 8 years or 20 years. If you want to get philosophical about it Guzzardi has not displayed any significant additional understanding of the law or how it works since then: for example, his mailer in the subscriber section/the album I posted claiming SB2193 relaxed restrictions on concealed weapons when in fact it did the opposite.


  33. - North Shore Joe - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 11:28 am:

    Wow. Point proven, Mac from South Philly.

    I was erring on the side of Not-a-Black-guy too.

    In fact, the very point of the picture might be to obscure the ethnicity of the dude.


  34. - OneMan - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 11:29 am:

    == So Mark Kirk is somehow not trying to appeal to the worst, most racist elements of human nature when he used the exact same photo, right? ==

    Well, looking at that photo, I see one vital thing missing, the second person. At most I see about two finger tips.

    But nice try.


  35. - East Side Eddie - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 11:29 am:

    Will Caskey,

    Where did you move from in ‘09?


  36. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 11:30 am:

    Are there hands in the Kirk/Alvarez photo? I can’t tell.


  37. - Carl Nyberg - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 11:31 am:

    It’s nice that Mark Kirk and Anita Alvarez have hooked-up for a press conference.

    They are the two most arrogant politicians I have encountered on the campaign trail. They shamelessly just deny reality that is inconvenient to their narrative. They have no problem looking someone in the eye and just saying, “You don’t know what you’re talking about. I’m a [prosecutor/Navy reservist], I know.”


  38. - Timmeh - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 11:31 am:

    Mac: Do you have a better picture of Kirk using it? It looks like the picture blacked out most of person behind the girl. It’s definitely the same picture, but with the black and white and the way it’s cropped on that posterboard, I don’t see anything wrong with it. I’d say that the people who made that presentation were aware that it could be construed as racist and purposely blacked out or cropped away the man.


  39. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 11:32 am:

    ===Are there hands in the Kirk/Alvarez photo? I can’t tell.===

    Exactly. In the mailer, there are “hands”, no doubt.


  40. - A guy... - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 11:35 am:

    To the update; Despicable X 3.


  41. - Will Caskey - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 11:35 am:

    East Side Eddie: I lived in River North previously, though I’m not sure how that’s relevant.


  42. - Stuff happens - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 11:36 am:

    Google Image Search shows the photo was used in October 2012 by the Preda Foundation and seems to be a standard, stock photo in anti- child predation campaigns by UNICEF, etc. The first use I could find was in June 2012.

    There are other photos in the series as well.


  43. - ikeepitreal - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 11:38 am:

    look will, im not saying that Guzzardi isn’t full of you know what. all im saying is that the attack on the sexual predator issue is low, a reach and distasteful. actually i think i just described illinois politics at best.


  44. - Dog Whistler - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 11:38 am:

    Maybe you have to be a racist to see the racism? I see dirty hands. I really couldn’t tell you the race. Oh well. Color me clueless.


  45. - Spagnost - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 11:38 am:

    I agree that Will Guzzardi wrote those words that are in the article but I still don’t believe that the article implies he is in favor of relaxing sex offender registry laws. For instance, I’m 100% in favor of the sexual offender registry laws and also would freely admit that it is an instance of societal double jeopardy. Just because I acknowledge what it obviously is doesn’t mean I’m any less in favor of it. It just means I am aware of what it means for those people when they are released back into the public; they are rightfully so in my opinion, still judged for their actions for the rest of their lives. Guzzardi was, in the article, clearly referring to websites that run background checks and do not properly upkeep by removing records that have been expunged, the article was not about Sexual Offenders but those registries were mentioned as a comparative double jeopardy situation. That being said, if you ever plan to run for office and like to voice your opinions, don’t write one that can easily be spun into saying that you’re in favor of relaxing sex offender registry laws,even if it’s not what you meant.


  46. - Carl Nyberg - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 11:38 am:

    Has anyone researched how sex offender registries are used?

    Is it outside the mainstream to question whether criminal convictions should make one unemployable in the future?

    Is there research that shows sex offender registries reduce sex crimes?

    If sex offender registries don’t reduce sex crimes, why do we have them?

    Are there people on sex offender registries who committed offenses that are not child molestation?

    If the logic of sex offender registries is to protect children, would it make sense to limit sex offender registries to people who committed offense against children?


  47. - Stuff happens - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 11:39 am:

    If we’re going to be that sensitive, titling this page ‘The ugliest race in Illinois’ could be misconstrued by those who think a cigar isn’t really a cigar.


  48. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 11:40 am:

    ===Maybe you have to be a racist to see the racism? I see dirty hands.===

    And THAT, is why you never take the bait of those pretending to take the “high ground”.


  49. - Michelle Flaherty - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 11:40 am:

    Wait, someone seriously reads college columns?


  50. - Pot calling kettle - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 11:43 am:

    Doesn’t matter what the ethnicity of the man in the photo actually is, it is what the viewer is intended to think. The selection says something about the folks who designed and approved the piece.


  51. - Spagnost - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 11:44 am:

    Also the ominous person in the background in my opinion is definitely either Hispanic or black, I don’t see them being straight up white. I don’t know if their hands are grimy or not but either way from their arms I still don’t see them being white.


  52. - OneMan - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 11:45 am:

    I things I don’t type that often…

    I think Carl has a bit of a point, I would be curious what the research shows…

    I will admit however as the father of a daughter I was glad to know the background of the guy who moved in next door (he was convicted of aggravated, not due to force but due to the age difference).


  53. - Noy Noy - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 11:45 am:

    Rich,

    If people want to talk about race, please talk about the SECOND Article Guzzardi wrote in college opposing sex offender registration

    http://www.browndailyherald.com/2006/09/26/community-expectations-for-dps-unclear/

    In this one, he says that since statistics show that, like sex offenders, “Young African-American men are more prone to crime,” then “it’s not a far leap” to go from “from tracking sex offenders to racial profiling”

    So who’s race-baiting? The campaign that uses a picture that depicts a white man with dirty hands, or the candidate who believes young black men are wired for crime, and compares the evil of racial profiling to tracking CONVICTED rapists and pedophiles?


  54. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 11:46 am:

    ===Are there hands in the Kirk/Alvarez photo? ===

    Yep. It’s the same photo.


  55. - Noy Noy - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 11:47 am:

    PS The hands are obviously of a grimy white man. That’s why the reverse side of the ad has oil stains on it.

    https://scontent-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-prn2/v/t34.0-12/10011147_10202209718018109_782409250_n.jpg


  56. - Just Observing - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 11:48 am:

    I too don’t see the racial angle of the piece. It is not, in my mind, evident at all that the man is black. I see the dirty, grimy hands of a man that could be white, hispanic, black, or some combination.


  57. - OneMan - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 11:49 am:

    Yep. It’s the same photo

    But cropped differently it looks like…


  58. - Carl Nyberg - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 11:49 am:

    To build on Spagnost’s point: modifying or eliminating public sex offender registries is not the same as eliminating monitoring anyway.

    One can envision a system with sex offender registries and w/o any monitoring by law enforcement.

    Conversely, one can envision a system with monitoring by law enforcement (like probation officers) w/o a registry.

    They are two separate issues.

    I’m OK with Team Berrios attacking Guzzardi on the sex offender thing, from the partisan point of view of wanting Guzzardi to win.

    I doubt the sex offender angle is going to stick. Although, I did canvas one young man in the 31st Ward who did read the attack and had concerns.

    How plausible is it that a bunch of young people and activists banded together to get a state rep elected who is going to pivot to being an advocate for sex offenders?

    The negative mail is designed to drive down turnout. But the sex offender angle seems likely to polarize the race even more.

    We’ll see if Team Berrios succeeds in driving down turnout. Elections test these theories and hypotheses after all.


  59. - Will Caskey - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 11:49 am:

    Spagnost that is the first actually cogent response/defense I’ve seen offered. Too bad Guzzardi didn’t make it.


  60. - Noy Noy - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 11:49 am:

    Fixed link of reverse of ad

    https://scontent-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-prn2/v/t34.0-12/10011147_10202209718018109_782409250_n.jpg?oh=6a53c31d1b322d0cdb4a9d81b3f77b0b&oe=53224F64


  61. - Just Observing - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 11:53 am:

    The Manny Flores angle is interesting. Most of Manny’s old camp, including his hand-picked successor Proco “Joe” Moreno, are all for Guzzardi. One of Manny’s top former operatives, Jesse Juarez, is a Berrios guy — but Jesse and Manny had a political falling out years ago. Frank Avila, Jr. — another old former Flores strategist is with Berrios, I believe, though.


  62. - BDuty6 - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 11:53 am:

    The thing is, those might be grimy hands of a white guy, but that’s not what you see at first glance. And given that the average lifespan of a card like this is as short as a walk from the mailbox to the garbage can, I doubt anyone will look closely enough to see that its not a black man holding a scared little white girl.
    Ugly subliminal message.


  63. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 11:53 am:

    Some of the spin here is dizzying.

    So black is white and white is….. grimy?


  64. - Noy Noy - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 12:00 pm:

    Joe Moreno ticked off Berrios & friends when he ran against (and soundly beat) Jesse Juarez for 1st ward committeeman in 2012. Big part of Moreno supporting Guzzardi likely comes from hoping to weaken Berrios camp in case they tried to go after him in 2015


  65. - Whale watcher - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 12:06 pm:

    How many of you vote in the 39th..?? look everyone knows that Berrios will stoop so low, he needs a parachute to drop from a curb…Guzzarzdi has an eclectic support in bringing on Willie Delgado, FOP, Ald..Arena Ald Moreno etc..and a history of work…Berrios is desperate!!


  66. - Dog Whistler - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 12:12 pm:

    well, the first thing I see are dirty hands. the race never entered my mind. It’s unbelievable to me that someone says “might be grimy hands”. that’s a pretty clear indication to me that someone is reaching for a racial angle. white, black hispanic. it’s really really really obvious the hands are dirty.

    fwiw, i couldn’t give a rip about the race.


  67. - Spagnost - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 12:14 pm:

    The majority of convicted sex offenders have convictions for crimes of a sexual nature; however, some sex offenders have simply violated a law contained in a sexual category. Some of the crimes which usually result in a mandatory sex-offender classification are: a second prostitution conviction, sending or receiving obscene content in the form of SMS text messages (sexting), relationship between young adults and teenagers resulting in corruption of a minor (if the age between them is greater than 1,060 days; if any sexual contact was made by the adult to the minor, child molestation has occurred). - I’m citing Wiki here.

    I 100% support the sex offender registry but I do think if you’re a 15 year old girl and you send a message to your boyfriend that probably shouldn’t land you on the list. So that would be a case of the sex offender registry actually harming someone who just did something stupid when they were young. Again not an argument against sex offender registries just a point that there are some stupid laws on the books that result in people who aren’t rapists/child molesters being on that list.


  68. - Grandson of Man - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 12:48 pm:

    “Team Berrios”

    There’s a friendly rift in my household. I support Berrios and want to reward her for passing some important legislation. As far as her original yea vote for SB 1, that doesn’t anger me so much, because I believe she would vote for a union-backed reform bill if it were advanced. She said she supports the so-called fair tax and a minimum wage increase.

    I spoke briefly a few times with Guzzardi, and he said he backs marijuana reform, the progressive income tax, a financial transaction tax and other stuff I support. If he wins, I feel like I would also win.

    It’s kind of a win-win for me.

    One thing that’s happening is that my mailbox is being filled with mailers, tons of them. A few mailers at a time are enough for me. We were laughing this past weekend with a guest about it.

    Stop.Killing.My.Mailbox.


  69. - Wensicia - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 12:49 pm:

    I don’t think the hands are dirty, I believe they were darkened deliberately to achieve a certain look.


  70. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 12:50 pm:

    Well, that settles it: Toni Berrios, Anita Alverez, Mark Kirk and UNICEF are all racists.

    Sun Times should spend more time policing their blog comments and less time policing direct mail if they want to combat racism.


  71. - Jimbo - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 12:54 pm:

    Spagnost, don’t forget indecent exposure. There are people who’ve peed outdoors on the registry in Missouri. Don’t know about here, but when I checked my old neighborhood in STL for offenders there was a guy on there for public urination.


  72. - Formerly Known As... - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 1:03 pm:

    @Yellow Dog Democrat is completely right.

    To the post: This is what happens when we become too quick to ascribe malicious, racist intent to things.

    Unfortunately, if it were only Mark Kirk who used that mail piece - not Anita Alvarez and UNICEF as well - that likely would have served as additional “proof” in the eyes of some that this was racist due to the simple reason Kirk has an “R” next to his name.

    It is disturbing and disappointing.


  73. - VanillaMan - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 1:04 pm:

    Looks like a whole lot of you are ready to convict people you don’t know over a thought crime.

    I hope you are also against capital punishment or you’d get pitchforks and torches and go after these people who are full of thoughts that made you think your thoughts.


  74. - DuPage - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 1:13 pm:

    Politicians throwing napalm. Expect more of this as election day nears.


  75. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 1:16 pm:

    V man - I thought about it & I think your right!!!


  76. - WhoKnew - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 1:17 pm:

    Preceding “Anonymous” brought to you by WhoKnew!


  77. - Formerly Known As... - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 1:27 pm:

    Adding: this mailer cannot have the hands of a person of the same race on the girl’s shoulders and still communicate the point that Guzzardi’s position poses a threat to your family.

    Placing a white girl with white hands on her shoulder in the picture, a black girl with black hands, an Asian girl with Asian hands, etc., the hands could be interpreted as a parent or relative supporting her and comforting her after an obviously traumatic experience. “Support” and “comfort” directly contradicts the point of this flyer - that Guzzardi’s position poses a threat to your family.

    For this point to be clear, it requires stark opposites in the photo. A black girl with white hands on the shoulders, white girl with black hands on the shoulders, an Asian girl with white or black hands on the shoulders, etc.

    Why did they chose to go with a white girl and black hands instead of another variation? We do not know. But some sort of stark “opposites” was necessary to avoid confusing the point of the flyer.

    Was it racism? Was it just the cheapest and quickest stock photo they could dig up? Something else?

    It could have been done differently, but a flyer does not a racist make.


  78. - John A Logan - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 1:31 pm:

    Much ado about nothing.


  79. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 1:33 pm:

    “Does not matter what the race/ethnicity of the man in the photo is, it is what the viewer is intended to think.”

    That is just crazy talk.

    No one thought it was racist when UNICEF or Mark Kirk used it.

    But the Democratic Party was supposedly hoping to appeal to the baser instincts of hipsters and Democratic Latino voters?

    LOL

    I get it, really. The sun times really doesn’t like the cook county Democratic Party, Joe Berrios in particular. They couldn’t beat Joe, so they are going after his daughter. That is politics.

    But if you are going to peddle the story that Berrios is stretching the truth about Guzzardi’s record, you ought not to be inventing facts like the race behind a pair of disembodied hands. If you want to print “Guzzardi’s campaign argues the mailer is racist because they believe the hands shown in the ad belong to a Latino”, that is journalism.


  80. - Wumpus - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 1:39 pm:

    Serenity now! The offender either has vitiligo or reverse vitiligo. At worst, maybe some blue collar person should be offended as the person most likely has filthy hands.


  81. - Formerly Known As... - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 2:05 pm:

    In addition to Anita Alvarez, Mark Kirk and UNICEF, that photo has also been used by

    Joshua House “a safe haven for abused, abandoned and neglected children”

    PREDA Foundation “saving children from abuse, prison and exploitation”

    Abolishion “breaking the systems that keep people in sexual slavery”

    and others.

    I do not want to see Toni Berrios win. And Joe Berrios is a major part of the problems destroying our state. But attributing this to overt racism is a bit much, especially if Berrios has no track record of racist behavior.

    Perhaps my friend YDD and his or her Democratic counterparts will remember this lesson the next time someone takes a mailer image or similar isolated incident and tries claiming it suddenly proves an Independent, Green, Republican or Libertarian candidate with no history of bigotry is a racist.

    Now if Guzzardi wants to talk about how Berrios lacks when it comes to reducing the black unemployment rate, graduation rates, and other similar issues, let’s chat. But this? Not so much.


  82. - Walker - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 2:19 pm:

    Hunh? You think this one’s bad? Where have you been the last 25 years, in local Illinois politics?


  83. - Dan Bureaucrat - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 2:34 pm:

    Since the question has been asked:

    Research shows that public sex offender registries are not effective and may actually increase offending. There’s been a real turn in supporting registries, with even victims, child abuse advocates and some law enforcement questioning their efficacy.

    One example is Patty Wetterling who was instrumental in getting the first registry passed, intended for law enforcement only. She is board chair of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and now opposes the Adam Walsh Act.

    http://theparson.net/so/wetterling.htm

    http://www.citypages.com/2013-03-20/news/patty-wetterling-questions-sex-offender-laws/

    http://minnesota.cbslocal.com/2013/03/22/patty-wetterling-discusses-sex-offender-laws/


  84. - Howie - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 2:38 pm:

    The more Guzzardi tries to justify his position the bigger hole he digs himself.. http://bit.ly/GuzzardiTruth


  85. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 2:54 pm:

    @Formerly Known As:

    I don’t need any reminders, but thanks. Most of the folks I disagree with are not racist or even bad people. Reasonable people with different experiences, different info and different points of view often come to different conclusions.

    To your earlier point, racial differences are not necessary to make the piece sinister. Everything from color and lighting to age, costume and pose of the model does that. Video has even more tools.

    Probably one of the most effective, from back in the early days of Capitolfax, was an ad done by John Schmidt. They took video of Glenn Poshard speaking at a union rally, converted to black and white, and slowed down the film speed considerably. Poshard looked like Hitler.

    I wish Rich had a link to that video so people had a sense of what real negative campaigning looks like.


  86. - Pot calling kettle - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 2:58 pm:

    ==“Does not matter what the race/ethnicity of the man in the photo is, it is what the viewer is intended to think.”

    That is just crazy talk.==

    Not crazy when you are doing a close examination of communication. Context matters, intent matters. How the photo is cropped, the framing text, the amount of contrast, color vs balck & white.

    In the photo behind Kirk & Alvarez, the photo is cropped such that only the fingertips are visible and the photo is in black and white. You really cannot see any identifying characteristics of the man in the photo behind Kirk. Why? Perhaps the graphic designer was concerned about the concerns expressed with respect to the version used in the campaign piece. A good graphic designer pays attention to the visual rhetoric of the images used and adjusts the image accordingly.

    The designer of the campaign piece used a wider crop and color. While the ethnicity of the person behind the girl is not clear, it appears, at first glance, to be a black man. And, often that is as far as it goes on a campaign piece, a first glance. It may be that the designer did not pay attention to the implied message, but it does mesh with a pre-exisiting bias and would serve to play upon and reinforce a stereotype.

    The photos are the same, but they are not the same in that the designers made significantly different choices in how the photo was used.


  87. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 3:18 pm:

    @Pot Calling Kettle:

    The race of the person appears to you, at first glance, to be black.

    To me, it appeared to be a white guy with dirty hands.

    Campaigns are cranking out a lot of mail. Sometimes they have typos. Sometimes they inadvertently use the same photo for candidates in opposite ends of the state. Any idea that graphic designers are sitting around cropping photos to send a distinct message is not rooted in the reality of the fast tempo of political campaigns, particularly in the closing days.

    Not enough to accuse Berrios and UNICEF of being racists, now we are going after some woman in Springfield we never even met?

    Or is it Mike Madigan, who championed laws requiring videotaping of homicides, expungement of criminal convictions and an end to racial profiling?

    Absurd. On. Its face.


  88. - Pot calling kettle - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 3:35 pm:

    ==Any idea that graphic designers are sitting around cropping photos to send a distinct message is not rooted in the reality of the fast tempo of political campaigns, particularly in the closing days.==

    I disagree. A professionally produced campaign piece is designed to make an impression. The image is as much a part of the message as the printed words.

    While you did not see a black man, many who saw the piece clearly did. (Read the comments above and the original post.) I do not know if the selection of that photo was approved by Berrios, and I am not accusing Berrios of being a racist. I do place responsibility on the designer because it is that person’s job to pay attention to the details and the impression that is created.

    I did note that the designer for UNICEF made VERY DIFFERENT choices in how the photo was presented AND that those choices altered the photo such that only the fingertips of the person behind the girl are visible AND that such a decision removes any suggestion of an appeal to racial stereotyping of the person behind the girl. So, I was clearly NOT suggesting the designer or UNICEF of racial bias; in fact, I was using that designer as an example of someone who was probably being sensitive to the inherent bias in the photo and made adjustments accordingly.


  89. - Noy Noy - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 3:39 pm:

    If all of Madigan’s incumbents win - Andrade, Berrios, Smith, Mitchell, Willis, etc. - which has a fairly decent chance of happening, then how bad will the unions have to lose in the 2015 aldermanic elections to become cemented as the laughingstock of Illinois politics (replacing the current occupant of that throne, the ILGOP)


  90. - Wensicia - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 3:47 pm:

    - Pot calling kettle - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 2:58 pm:

    Excellent point, you are spot on. Otherwise, why darken the photo for effect?


  91. - horse w/ no name - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 4:18 pm:

    Half this district is people of color, the other half is a lot of young whites. I highly doubt their was a racial angle here. The purpose of the photo is the scared girl.


  92. - Roadiepig - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 4:27 pm:

    BDuty6 - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 11:53 am:

    What he said- and it is exactly the goal. Nobody spend more than a few seconds looking a the photo- It is disturbing a first glance. Could be the hand of a white man, but the subliminal effort is to make you think otherwise. Gives them some cover…


  93. - Rod - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 4:30 pm:

    An Alderman for the district encompassing Belmont and Pulaski who went to Brown University and majored in a major in comparative literature and was raised in Chapel Hill, North Carolina the son of New York transplants and big names in the book publishing industry. When Chicago Magazine asked Will why he moved to Chicago in 2011 he began his answer by stating “There’s an unpretentiousness about Chicago.”

    Here is a bet go into the bar at the corner of Belmont and Pulaski (it is called the Belford Tavern) and have a beer then tell the Greek bartender he has a certain unpretentiousness about him. See what happens.


  94. - DuPage Dave - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 4:36 pm:

    On bigstockphoto.com the picture is labeled “Dirty hands on a girl’s shoulders”.


  95. - Oh Come On! - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 4:44 pm:

    @Rod:

    I believe the man is running for State Representative, which, to Chicagoans, is a lower rung on the political ladder.

    Joe Berrios used to work as a doorman at the University Club in Chicago where he was seeking tips. Since that time he has advanced himself, but he still always has his hand out.


  96. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 5:18 pm:

    Great point Pot.

    UNICEF only cares about child victims who are white.

    Clearly, every design decision that they make is viewed through the racial political lens of Illinois Democratic politics, and they intentionally chose a white child because UNICEF only cares about white children.

    The man was erased by UNICEF for design purposes to create more white space, but to focus our attention on the white victim.


  97. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 5:40 pm:

    DuPage Dan!

    Stop it with your stubborn facts!

    Pictures dont portray what they clearly portray, even when they are titled that way, they are actually have subliminal meaning with ominous links to an international conspiracy involving the UN, black helicopters and Angelina Jolie.

    Will Guzzardi’s words dont mean what they clearly mean. They were taken “out of context.” Although it is unclear whether the context was “George Costanza Day” at his alma mater, when everybody does the opposite of what they normally do, or some other unexplained context.

    At the end of the day, even the Guzzardi camp can’t defend the central argument they make via the Sun Times “they’re obviously not the hands of a white person.”

    Much easier to blame the UN than admit this one blew up in your face, I suppose.


  98. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 6:16 pm:

    Favorite part of the Team Guzzardi argument:

    Madigan is running a subtle direct mail campaign against Guzzardi.

    LOL. Right.

    Look, Guzzardi tells us we see black hands and some people, maybe even “many people” are going to see black hands. If i told you that a cloud looks like an elephant, many people would see that too. That is how the brain works.


  99. - Formerly Known As... - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 6:22 pm:

    @YDD - food for thought. fwiw, I see that my comment wasn’t nearly as clear as it could have been in one regard. My intent was not to be critical of you at all, if it came across as such, but certain elements in the Democratic party who are sometimes too quick to cry racism. Just as there are certain elements of the Republican party who are sometimes too quick to deny racism.

    In this case, it seems we agree that what is politically expedient is not supported by the facts. In this case, the facts do not support Guzzardi’s cry of “racism”.

    Unless, of course, UNICEF and Joshua House became racist overnight.


  100. - Pot calling kettle - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 6:23 pm:

    YDD: I was going to comment on the race of the victim, but was sticking to a single point. It is an interesting choice given that most victims of trafficking are non-white. In selecting this photo, they (UNICEF & designers) were probably looking to appeal to a white audience to support a cause which is not likely to directly impact them. The goal is to strike an emotional cord that resonates with the viewer. If they wanted to depict a typical victim, they would not use a white girl. My point is the same: professional graphic designers choose their imagery and how it is framed very carefully.

    My spouse is a graphic designer and studies visual culture and rhetoric. We dissect this type of stuff all the time. There is more depth to these ad designs than most people realize. Sometimes it is simply a reflection of cultural norms and bias, but often it is the product of careful choice with specific goals in mind.


  101. - Precinct Captain - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 7:49 pm:

    Yellow Dog Democrat, you seem to have extremely juvenile idea of what racism is, how racist imagery works, and even use of imagery in different contexts. Implicit association is powerful.

    Others here seem to have a bizarre idea that anti-black racism isn’t a point of alliance between people of Latino ethnicity and whites, when, in many instances, it actually is.

    Also bizarre is the idea that an area of hipsters and young people is somehow racism-free. Another crock of crap.


  102. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 9:06 pm:

    Interesting. Well, at least there’s some solace in my hanging onto the “Anonymous” handle for as long as I had and Willy’s constantly “suggesting” that I find another even though Rich and I had come to an agreement at one point regarding its use: Willy will always now seem to jump to the conclusion that it’s me–especially when comments are grounded in something negative.

    Don’t worry, Willy. The fact that this post probably will not be published because it’s coming from me (while, however, others are allowed to use the handle) is an indication that you won. I no longer post here, save this one, which I attempted so that you could revel in your obvious victory.

    Congrats! :)


  103. - Pot calling kettle - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 9:24 pm:

    FKA: As I wrote above, the photos are the same, but they are not the same in that the designers made significantly different choices in how the photo was used and presented.

    Comparing and contrasting the UNICEF poster and the Berrios campaign pieces can be very instructive. Both use the white girl to relate to their intended audiences. The UNICEF piece is intended to elicit sympathy for the victims and action on their behalf so the man is essentially cropped out of the photo. To be effective, the image needs to evoke a niece or daughter, and for a predominantly white audience, the image needs to be of a white girl.

    The Berrios piece is intended to inspire fear of the perpetrator who Guzzardi will supposedly unleash on the community; the hands and arms are clearly visible and the skin is dark, which fits well with already held ideas about who poses a threat (a stereotype reinforced constantly by the media - both news and entertainment). To be effective, the Berrios piece needs to evoke that fear in the few seconds between the moment it gets to the top of the mail pile and the moment it ends up in the trash. To do so, the image has to go straight to core fears.

    That’s the last comment I’ll subject the blog readers to on this one. If you want to go really deep, I’ll show the two ads to my spouse…


  104. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Mar 12, 14 @ 9:39 pm:

    @Pot -

    If your wife was a graphic designer for the Democratic Party, I suppose we could accuse her of race baiting then.

    But let’s face it, political direct mail in Illinois just ain’t that sophisticated. And if this was a brilliant racist ploy, this is probably one of the last districts you would use it in. Not so brilliant.

    If either Guzzardi or the Sun-Times think that voters of the district are racist, I am pretty sure it is news to the rest of us. Certainly news to Berrios, who despite disagreeing with Guzzardi on whether sex offenders should required to be registered, actually did vote in favor of a bipartisan measure to expand Illinois expungement law to include nonviolent offenses like pot possession.


  105. - john Damico for mayor - Thursday, Mar 13, 14 @ 12:49 am:

    Many black folks have very white skin. Look at michael Jackson. Just saying. Calm down PC hypocrite.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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