(The Center Square) A political ad airing on TV and online that is critical of Democrats’ policies is finding different interpretations among Democrats.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot last week criticized a political ad from People Who Play By The Rules PAC airing concerns about the Democrats’ policies on crime and punishment.
Lightfoot said the ad purposely darkened her skin color.
“To use the oldest, racist tropes that there are, to make this scary black woman even blacker, to show scary black men on TV and to say to the suburbs, i.e. to white people, you don’t want this coming to your town,” Lightfoot said.
The ad from People Who Play By The Rules PAC shows imagery from crime in Chicago and a clip of Lightfoot. The ad’s creator said a video effects package was used for the ad and there was no intention to darken Lightfoot’s skin.
“Thanks to [Gov. J.B. Pritzker], the lawlessness of Chicago will soon be the law statewide,” a narrator in the ad says. “That’s why 100 of Illinois’ 102 state’s attorneys oppose Pritzker’s mandatory release of violent criminals. Stop Chicago violence from coming to your town.”
The ad opposes the Pretrial Fairness Act, which will eliminate cash bond beginning Jan. 1. The measure is part of the larger SAFE-T Act that Democrats passed in early 2021. Republicans opposed the measure and say it needs to be repealed or modified.
“Vote no on Pritzker,” the ad says.
Pritzker faces Republican candidate state Sen. Darren Bailey, R-Xenia, who is critical of the SAFE-T Act. Libertarian candidate Schott Schluter is also on the ballot. He previously told The Center Square he is not a fan of cash bail, saying it favors criminal defendants who can afford to get out of jail while leaving the poor to languish pending trial.
Lightfoot said the People Who Play By The Rules PAC ad “is so offensive, it shouldn’t even be part of the discourse.”
State Rep. LaShawn Ford, D-Chicago, told WIND radio host Dan Proft, who is the president of People Who Play By The Rules PAC, that Lightfoot’s position was offensive to darker skinned people like himself.
“You don’t come out against the color of your skin when it could really make that color be offended,” Ford said. “The color that you had her in is just a little shade darker than me.”
Ford said there is debate to be had about the substance of the no cash bail provision, but Lightfoot is bypassing that in exchange for “validating” assumptions that darker skinned people are scary.
“That’s her confirming that because she’s darker, she’s scarier,” Ford said. “She validated, even if you had intentions on making that assumption, she validated that and it’s offensive.”
Profit said in a statement that Lightfoot is the one “playing cynical and racial politics.”
“Pritzker and Lightfoot are playing boogeyman politics because they cannot defend the lawlessness they have unleashed in Chicago and will be unleashing throughout Illinois come January—violence that by the way disproportionately victimizes minorities,” Proft said in a statement.
Lightfoot doubled down on her comments Monday and said she didn’t understand where Ford was coming from.
“I don’t even know what to say in response to that,” Lightfoot said. “If you’re not offended by that, I don’t know what to say to you.”