Black Twitter? GOOD
On a freezing Martin Luther King Jr. Day in Des Moines, Iowa, the Black and Brown Presidential Forum was held. It is the oldest minority presidential forum and has been held since the early 1990s. The event was put on by Vice News in the Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center in the downtown area. Upon arriving, the crowd was outside of the entrance doors. It was incredibly full and would take 45 minutes to get in. After checking our coats and getting all checked in, we walked up the escalator to the hall.
I walked in apparently a little late, for the pre-program had already started. After getting the seating situation figured out, the event started to begin. The moderator informed us that Deval Patrick, for whatever reason, would not be in attendance. He then cracked jokes about how hard it was to find people of color in the entire state of Iowa. The moderator asked for the audience to give him an idea of where they were from/where they went to school/what non-profit they were there on behalf of. A large portion of those asking questions were there on behalf of a black maternal mortality organization. The man sitting next to me was an attorney from West Des Moines and asked a question about what the candidate would do to effectively combat racism under their administration.
The most unique and light-hearted part of this forum was the short answer portion. The two moderators on the stage would alternate asking the candidate as many questions that could be answered in one to two words in 60 seconds. Most of the candidates did not shine during this portion of the event, for they are talkative and love to explain their answers.
My favorite quotes from the evening came from this special. The first one that stuck with me was when the moderator asked Mayor Pete Buttigieg what he would bring to a potluck, to which he immediately replied, “Is it a breakfast potluck?” The audience moaned and laughed. He already stuck out for how white he is and this did not help. Next, the moderator asked Elizabeth Warren what she thought of “black twitter” and she replied, “Good!” This, of course, did not answer the question, but the audience found it to be funny and enjoyed it. Lastly, the moderator asked Amy Klobuchar the last time she smoked weed and she told him that it was back in her college days. The audience erupted, for no one was expecting Amy Klobuchar to admit that she had ever smoked marijuana.
Vice News organized the event in a way that I have never seen before. It felt young, intimate, and exciting. Although we were not allowed to leave our seats for four hours, it was worth the backache. It was done well and gave us a different perspective on the majority of the presidential hopefuls.