Harlem and other predominantly black neighborhoods, they don’t care how David Paterson becomes governor. They just care that he is taking over the state’s top job.
The unexpected ascension of Paterson, the lieutenant governor, longtime lawmaker and heir to a Harlem political dynasty, has fueled a surge of black pride amid the demise of Gov. Eliot Spitzer.
The 53-year-old Paterson will be sworn in Monday as New York’s first black and legally blind governor, succeeding Spitzer, who announced his resignation this week after getting caught in a federal prostitution investigation.
To Leonardo Reynolds, a 19-year-old community college student from Syracuse, Paterson’s political rise has been inspiring, especially when paired with Illinois Sen. Barack Obama’s tight race with Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination.
“I think there’s still a lot of racism around, but having black leaders in these positions will help change things,” Reynolds said.*
While Paterson’s success has been a source of pride for the black community — and many others, including the blind — it has also heightened expectations.
Jonneil Boatwright, a single mother with three children, said she hoped Paterson would bring attention to the problems that continue to plague poor urban blacks — gang violence, drugs and unemployment.
“It will only be good for black people if he helps fix some of the problems we have to live with every day,” said Boatwright, a nurse from Syracuse. “As governor, he can set priorities. I want my kids educated. I don’t want to see them dead on crack, or killed in some gang fight.”
*We can’t help but note the irony here…according to the politically correct mavens it is a sign of “racism” to be proud of another person’s accomplishments in terms of race. Which means “there’s still a lot of racism” in the black sector. — Ed.