Yesterday, my colleague Amanda pointed out the significant difference in the way Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D.-Ga.) looked before and after she ditched her braids for a traditional "afro," as an explanation for why U.S. Capitol Police may have had trouble recognizing her.
A television station in Atlanta has the original statement McKinney had planned to post on her website, but later swapped for another. In defense of her new hairstyle, the congresswoman says in the statement that even though she’s had braids for 11 years, that shouldn’t have made it difficult for a police officer to identify her.
Now, not wanting to give McKinney more space on this blog than her zany antics deserve, here’s a blip from her statement, because she definitely says it better than I do:
"It is true that I have changed my hairstyle. It is true that at the time I was not wearing my pin…Do I have to contact the police every time I change my hairstyle? How do we account for the fact that when I wore my braids every day for 11 years, I still faced this problem, primarily from certain white police officers."
In sharing her side of what happened last week, McKinney "forgets" to mention the bit about slapping a police offer in the chest with her cell phone:
"I was rushing to my meeting when a white police officer yelled to me. He approached me, bodyblocked me, physically touching me. I used my arm to get him off of me. I told him not to touch me several times. He asked for my ID and I showed it to him. He then let me go and I proceeded to my meeting and I assume that the Police Officer resumed his duties."
In closing, another plug for the new ‘do:
"It is, however, a shame that while I conduct the country’s business, I have to stop and call the police to tell them that I’ve changed my hairstyle so that I’m not harassed at work."
Keep squawking, McKinney, the Republicans on Capitol Hill are lapping it up.
In fact, yesterday two Republican congressmen introduced a resolution in the House to commend Capitol Police for their heroic and dedicated service. Rep. Patrick McHenry (N.C.) was quoted by the Washington Times as saying:
"The 1,700 officers of the Capitol Police force risk their lives every day protecting constituents, staff and members of Congress. The right thing to do is to commend these men and women. They deserve a pat on the back, which is more appropriate than what they’ve gotten lately."