Melissa Harris-Perry | November 17, 2012
>> in some parts of rural maine , there were dozens, dozens of black people who came in and voted election day . everybody has the right to vote. but nobody in town knows anybody that's black. how did it happen? i don't know. we're going to find out.
>> it is not hard necessarily to believe that maine republican party chairman charlie webster was surprised by reports of black people turning out en masse by the dozens to vote on election day after all, according to the u.s. census , maine is one of the whitest states in the country. african-americans only the make up 1.3% of the population. so it's probably pretty easy to be a white person in maine and go a whole day, a week, maybe months, maybe years without ever seeing anything other than white folks. but the plural of anecdote is not evidence just because he doesn't see them doesn't mean that they aren't there. in fact, about 17,266 african-americans among, are among maine 's population of 1.3 million. in fact, i've got one of them with me today. a real-life black person from maine . joining me now via skype. shea student boulet writer of the blog black girl in maine . nice to see you.
>> nice to be here. thank you.
>> so shea , tell me what did you think he when you first heard these comments?
>> i was literally on my way into a board meeting and i heard the comments and i was just stunned. one, because there are black people in maine . i live here. i've been here for the past ten years. i'm not a native here. i know plenty of black people who live in maine . i was deeply offended by webster 's comments.
>> i'm not sure that you're in maine because you're joining us via skype with a white background. it's possible that you're just in brooklyn. i'm going to take your word for it. but look, i was just at bays college a couple of years ago. there was sort of an active african-american community there. it seems often in communities where there are small black communities, those communities have to be even more robust because they're small. do you find that to be true in.
>> absolutely. absolutely. i have, i would say, a deep circle of sister friends here in part because as you just said, our population, our numbers are small. so i think it makes our community more integrated in the fact we know each other. when someone moves here, it gets through. people hear about it.
>> there was an apology on this. and in the apology, we heard this same individual who told us there were dozens of black folks he had never seen before, the same individual charlie webster says to us that he was sorry for his black people claim and that he actually has a black friend with whom he plays basketball. i got to say, it seriously sounded like something out of a dave chappelle skit.
>> it really did. when i heard that, i thought really, really? you have a black friend you play basketball with, yet you don't think there are any black people in maine that would show up to vote. that doesn't make sense. it didn't sound like something of a chapelle skit.
>> why the blog.
>> i know your work is in faith based non-profit organization. you're from chicago which makes me feel like we will should get a search and rescue mission to come get.
>> you please, wanted to. i had some family reasons for moving here. and i did hit a period of time where i really wanted to kind of reach out to other people of color . hey, who else is here? in addition to the folks that i already knew. it became an outlet for me to just sort of talk about many different things. i think also to give voice to the fact that there are black people in maine . oddly enough, one of the things that i often get e-mails about are people of color looking to move too maine who want to find out what's it like there, what's the scene like. one of the weirdest questions actually as an african- american woman , it's not weird at all but i'm often asked, are there hair salons? are there churches there? what's in the community for us. i think about the fact when i moved here ten years ago, i would have loved to have gone to a blog to just get that information. instead, it's been sort of like trial and error trying to figure out what's here for me.
>> shea , i appreciate you sunshining us. i sort of got into your blog. i really appreciated some of your comments about poverty and about generosity at this time of year and also really loved your blog on 15 years of marriage. so thank you. for your blog. thank you for your work and thanks to the white folks in maine because they in fact, are the ones who helped to elect president obama . so thanks to shay stewart boulen in saco, maine . we're going to stay on race talk a lit more but we're going to talk about president obama . we done it again. why does it matter? we'll explain when we come back. st