Last week I wrote about a Florida school board member who used a racist term to describe black conservative women involved with parental rights advocacy group Moms for Liberty. Now, after receiving blowback, she is trying to clean up her remarks. But her response doesn’t quite add up.
The issue started with a video posted on YouTube of a meeting between folks working with the Beaches Activists Movement, a progressive grassroots group based in Atlantic Beach, Florida. The virtual meeting was held to complain about Moms for Liberty for pushing back against the far-leftist ideology being pushed in schools. It is part of the national debate over educators subjecting students to progressive ideas on race, sexuality, and gender identity.
During the meeting, Andersen, who is currently running for re-election in Duval County, brought up a video created by Quisha King, a black conservative education activist who had been working with Moms for Liberty at the time. She also referred to Tia Bess, another volunteer for the organization who also happens to be a black woman with a special needs child. At one point, Andersen said:
“So we know that these folks are absolutely on a phone call speed dial basis with our legislators to move legislation forward in the videos or in the images that Dan shared with you, my opponents and both of them or all of it, she’s pretty high level with local Moms for Liberty. So we have Quisha King – April Carney is my opponent – Tia Bess … and they often will sort of parade her out as a token person because everyone is doing harmful things to children with special needs, and that’s to push that agenda.”
The term “token” is often used by progressives against black conservatives who reject their ideology. The implication is that black people who align with conservative causes are only being used as tokens by white people. To them, black conservatives are useful tools who are unable to think for themselves.
After receiving criticism for her remarks, Beaches Activists removed the video from its YouTube channel. Fortunately, it had already been downloaded:
In response, King recorded her own video, taking issue with Andersen’s comments and arguing that they were racist.
“Elizabeth, I know that you don’t think Black people can think on their own, know what to believe on their own, and critically think on their own,” King said in the video. “That we need white people to come and say something for us.”
“It let me know why you’re for critical race theory,” King continued, “because you want the little kids to grow up and be racist like you.”
The video was viewed over 55,000 times on Twitter.
During a conversation with Florida Politics, Andersen refers to the racism accusation as a “willful misinterpretation” and part of a “desperate, last minute smear campaign” to deflect from the “radical and extreme politics” of April Carney, who is challenging her for her seat.
Andersen attempted to clarify her remarks, saying that she was discussing how “kids with special needs” are used to push a political agenda.
“The movement to take over our School Boards and inject partisan politics into our school board decisions has a long history of exploiting kids with special needs for a political agenda. That was my clear point in the video which in no way mentioned the skin color or race of any parents or children,” she said.
However, there is a problem with Andersen’s rejoinder. In the video, she clearly says, “they will sort of parade her (emphasis added) out as a token person.”
This seems to imply she was talking about Bess’ child being exploited, but there is a problem: Bess’ child is a boy, not a girl. She was clearly referring to Bess herself, not her child.
Even if Andersen’s claims were true, referring to a small child as a “token” isn’t much better, is it?
In response to the allegations of racism, Andersen appeared to deflect by bringing up the riot at the U.S. Capitol building on Jan. 6, 2021:
“This is nothing more than a desperate, last minute smear campaign intended to deflect from my opponent’s radical and extreme politics which have no place on our Duval school board. My years of child advocacy and community action speaks for itself — the real question is my opponent’s dishonesty over her whereabouts on January 6 and what that says about her decision-making.”
At this point, it is difficult to believe Andersen’s claims. Instead of saying she misspoke or apologizing, she chose to offer a rather weak justification for her remarks. But this is par for the course for some on the hard left who engage in the type of racism they claim to abhor. The question is: Does Duval County want someone with these views to make decisions about their children’s education?
Note: Quisha King is in a relationship with this author.