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In the District, even a race for the often thankless post of neighborhood commissioner can get ridiculously ugly. Take the race for ANC 8C03, where longtime incumbent Mary Cuthbert, who is African American,seems to have called African American challenger Larry Pretlow the N-word. Have trouble picturing it? There’s video.
Pretlow, a 21-year-old youth rights advocate who once proposed an 8:30 p.m. curfew for Ward 8 juveniles, says he ran into Cuthbert yesterday.Pretlow says he and his campaign manager were visiting voter Cynthia McCoy and”ANC Commissioner Mary Cuthbert happens to be sitting on the porch with Mrs. McCoy.” Pretlow says he was there to talk to McCoy but that Cuthbert kept interrupting.
At least 15 seconds of the conversation was recorded. About 12 seconds into the footage, Cuthbert drops the bomb, calling Pretlow a “dumb nigger.”
Pretlow says he’s considering going to the Board of Elections and Ethics about the comment. “It’s unacceptable,” he told Washington City Paper in a phone conversation. “She interfered with the democratic process.”
“I’ve never been called the n-word before,” says Pretlow. “By any race.”
Of course, there are all sorts of cultural and political arguments to be made about how Cuthbert’s identity allows her to use the racial slur with impunity. But if Pretlow was offended, maybe they don’t really mean much. Cuthbert didn’t immediately return a call for comment.