Mayoral candidate tells black residents to 'go back to Africa'

Claudine Rigal
Juillet 20, 2017

Paul Congemi, 60, was at a forum in the Florida city when he addressed his campaign opponent Jesse Nevel, a white activist heading a group that calls for reparations for African-Americans.

"The reparations you talk about, Mr. Neville, your people already got their reparations", Congemi said, sparking laughter. "Your reparations came in the form of a man named Barack Obama".

Though he is facing accusations of racism for his comments, Congemi said Wednesday that he will not drop out of the mayoral race.

Minutes later, Congemi responded, saying "Mr. Nevel you and your people talk about reparations".

It didn't stop his diatribe, though.

"My advice to you if you don't like it here in America, planes leave every hour from from Tampa Airport, go back to Africa", he told Nevel supporters. Go back to Africa. "Go back to Africa", Congemi added.

Following Congemi's rant, Nevel repeated the "non-factor" jab, which can be heard in the clip.

Reparations to the black community for a history of enslavement and oppression may not sound realistic to many Americans, however a United Nations panel made a non-binding declaration a year ago that the USA did owe African-Americans reparations. According to the Tampa Bay Times, someone called the cops, but Congemi told the police not to dare touching him or he'd have them all fired when he inevitably became mayor.

And, earlier this year, he was arrested on charges of felony elder abuse, after allegedly neglecting to take care of his sick mother to the point that she developed sores so bad they exposed her tailbone.

The Uhuru movement, or the African People's Socialist Party, focuses on the theory of African Internationalism and aims to advance the social and economic conditions for Africans throughout the world.

Nevel and Congemi were among six candidates at the forum, which included incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman, former Mayor Rick Baker (2001-2010), Anthony Cates III and Theresa Lassiter.

While Congemi's candidacy is a joke (more on that in a second), the insults highlight the basic roadblocks black people encounter when they ask for simple things like economic fairness.

The Pinellas County primary election is set for August 29.

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