Kansas Elections Are Getting Messy

Okay, maybe it wasn’t actually race-baiting. By definition, race-baiting is “the making of verbal attacks against members of a racial group.” And this attack was actually toward Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly and made by Republicans – who are more than likely White.

Okay, maybe it wasn’t actually race-baiting. By definition, race-baiting  is “the making of verbal attacks against members of a racial group.” And this attack was actually toward Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly and made by Republicans – who are more than likely White.  

I’d hate to lower the attack to modern slang of “throwing shade,” which the Merriam-Webster dictionary defines as an “expression of contempt for or disgust with someone,” but that definition fails to address the real issue here – that racism is being openly used in Kansas to gain votes!!!

What Am I Talking About?

The PAC-backed television commercial, proudly paid for by the “Republican Governors Association Kansas 2022 PAC, David Rexrode, Chair.” View it at https://bit.ly/3RLbQMG.    

If you’ve heard it, you may have missed the beginning conservative attacks on Kelly’s record.  The ad starts out with, “Laura Kelly promised to fix our schools …”  

From there, the ad goes on to say Kelly is siding with a radical agenda.  

What might that radical agenda be?

  • pushing “sexually explicit lessons, even in kindergarten” and
  • letting “biological boys competing against girls …”  

I’m not sure how you feel about all those issues, but here’s what really got me: 

  • “Gov. Kelly’s hand-picked commission has even said, ‘we have too many White teachers.’”  The ad follows that statement up with, “Look it up,” as a way to reinforce their lie as a truth.  

Well, guess what? I looked it up.

The commission they’re talking about is the Governor’s Committee on Racial Equity and Justice. I know this because of the photo running with the ad.  

In June 2020, at the height of the George Floyd racial reckoning going on around the country, Gov. Kelly appointed a diverse group of professionals to serve on this commission. Among them were at least two superintendents of Kansas school districts and at least two college professors.  

The commission was charged with studying issues of racial equity and justice in Kansas and to find and present policy actions the state can take on to address these issues.

Of course, the commission report does not say there are “too many White teachers.”  However the report does make a point of sharing research that shows the benefit of Black students having at least one Black teacher during their K-3rd Grade years. 

According to the report, “Black students randomly assigned to at least one Black teacher in grades K-3 were 9 percentage points (13%) more likely to graduate from high school and 6 percentage points (19%) more likely to enroll in college than their same-school, same-race peers.”

The report goes on to make 10 recommendations for increasing the diversity of teachers in Kansas.  At the top of their list is implementation of Grow Your Own Teacher Programs and increased flexibility in student-teaching programs for non-traditional students. All of these recommendations make perfect sense for increasing the number of teachers of all races, especially considering the shortage of teachers so many school districts are experiencing.

If you want to read the report, here’s a link to the commission’s recommendations:   https://bit.ly/3RtGZVp

What Really Makes Me Mad

It isn’t that they lied that really has me upset. What really bothers me is the race-baiting, the racism, the racial hate this ad uses, and that: 

  • They felt it was acceptable to bring that level of racism out from behind closed doors, where they’ve been keeping it for years, and into the political mainstream, and 
  • That there must be enough people in Kansas whose vote they feel they can win over with that kind of racism that they would spend their money to go after that vote..

It’s disgusting and I’m disgusted.  

So, I’m going to do something  about it and I’m asking those who feel similarly to join me. I’m going to call the local ABC, NBC, CBS and CW affiliate stations in my area and ask them to remove those advertisements from the air. If you agree with me, please join me by making your own call.      

I’ve watched and listened as election ads have sunk deeper into their web of political mudslinging and lies, but this is a low I can’t ignore.  

Wichita-based stations’ telephone numbers: 

(316) 943-5374     KAKE 

 (316) 265-3333    KSN

 (316) 838-1212    KWCH/KSCW

Bonita Gooch

Since 1996, Bonita has served as as Editor-in-Chief of The Community Voice newspaper. As the owner, she has guided the Wichita-based publication’s growth in reach across the state of Kansas and into...