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Milwaukee County Board Candidate Ends Campaign After Saying Suburb Could Become An 'African Shantytown'

Photo: YouTube
Peter Tase

A Milwaukee County candidate running for the Board of Supervisors withdrew his campaign after making what have been called “incredibly racist” comments about crime in a nearby town.

Peter Tase was worried about the crime that was occurring in Glendale, barely 15 minutes apart, but to address the trouble that was occurring, he made some very racially insensitive comments that have drawn enough criticism to make him feel like he needed to resign.

Peter Tase said he worried that Glendale was going to turn into an “African shanty town.”

Tase was running for District 1 County Supervisor before he made the disparaging remarks about a recent crime.

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He recounted a story about a crime that occurred at the store where he worked, to draw parallels to the situation at hand and try to seem relatable.

He said two Black men had shoplifted from the store, making off with some baby goods and that when he went outside to look for police officers, there were none in sight.

Following the story, was this statement: "I don't want this neighborhood to turn into an African shanty town, you know?"

“Shanty town” is a term typically used to describe an impoverished area on the outskirts of a city where the houses are poorly made and maintained, the people are poor, and crime is a common occurrence.

However, the issue has more to do with the failed state of society and has nothing to do with the people themselves.

Assuming that a town nearby was turning into an “African shanty town” is not only incredibly racist but also fails to recognize the bigger issue of why someone would need to resort to stealing in the first place — let alone to take care of their baby in this case.

Peter Tase was criticized for his racist comments.

"It's incredibly racist. Yes. I don't even know what else to say," Tase's opponent, incumbent District 1 County Supervisor Liz Sumner said. "How he makes the jump from someone shoplifting at his store, to the whole community becoming a shanty town is really strange."

On Tuesday, Feb. 1, Peter Tase announced he is withdrawing his candidacy, issuing the following statement to the “North Shore Area."

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“I have made mistakes throughout my life, like all of us; and, I realize some of my recent comments were insensitive, inappropriate and hurtful to many people. For this I am truly sorry,” he said in the statement.

He had hoped to unite the greater North Shore community through projects such as law enforcement, mental health issues, county parks and patriotism, but said he regretted that it was no longer a possibility.

“As an immigrant, I truly love this country and the community in which I live,” he said. “I want to repay America for providing me with a life of freedom and opportunities.”

He immigrated to the United States from Albania and claimed that under 17 years in Albanian communism, he appreciated the freedom that the US brought him.

“People have the freedom to succeed,” he continued, “to make mistakes and to start over recognizing that the American people are forgiving and want everyone to succeed.”

But those same stances are what led him to this controversy in the first place — something that Sumner understood.

"But I do think that if we made investments in social services and providing opportunities and better education for everyone, that we would just naturally see a reduction in the need for any kind of public safety," said Sumner.

Now, Sumner faces one other opponent in the race to represent District 1, which covers far-north Milwaukee and the suburbs of Glendale, Fox Point, Shorewood, River Hills, Bayside and Brown Deer.

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Isaac Serna-Diez is a writer who focuses on entertainment and news, social justice, and politics. Follow him on Twitter here.