Biracial Cool: Bill de Blasio’s Fresh Electoral Asset
“I’m Bill de Blasio, and I’m not a boring white guy.”
How’s that for a political opener? This is how the New York mayor-elect describes himself. At an August fundraiser for the Young Progressives for de Blasio, his daughter Chiara introduced him to the crowd, making an appeal for a new kind of inclusive city politics. Flanked by her entire family, she remarked, “If we’re gonna bring new ideas to the table and create a world, a society … where everyone has a chance, we need to start listening to everybody’s ideas.”
What are these bold and inventive ideas of the new mayor? Some of them follow a traditional Democratic nesting doll scheme: good government followed by more jobs succeeded by affordable housing topped off by better schools. Add in reason, compassion, equality, and whoomp! There it is—a consummate progressive platform. But the de Blasio campaign offered another idea that most campaigns can’t: the racially integrated family.
Like it or not, it works.
De Blasio is white. His wife, Chirlane McCray, is black. Their two children, Dante and Chiara, are biracial. Their campaign literature relentlessly spotlighted the effortless interracial cool of Brooklyn bohemia—that wonderful, eucalyptus-scented world of woody brownstones, aromatic teas, and gloriously integrated Cheerios breakfasts. His website features his family and marriage first, ahead of “Issues.” At his rallies, his wife and children are the feature rather than the curtain call. His mailings ask recipients to “Meet the BROOKLYN FAMILY who’s fighting to change New York.” They picture the smiling family, drinking orange juice and playing Trivial Pursuit. [Read more]