Hometown Democracy leader says she’s sorry for ‘step & fetch it’ e-mailby George Bennett | June 7th, 2010
Hometown Democracy Chairwoman Lesley Blackner says she didn’t know the phrase “step & fetch it” carried negative racial connotations when she used it in an e-mail to a Volusia County official last month.
Hometown Democracy is behind Amendment 4, a statewide ballot question that would require local governments to get voter approval before making any amendment to a comprehensive land use plan. In a May 13 e-mail to the director of the Volusia Council of Governments, Blackner wrote “I’m only too aware of your step & fetch it for the Chamber of Commerce crowd opposing Amendment 4.”
Both Blackner and the person to whom she addressed the e-mail are white.
The phrase is generally associated with black actor Lincoln Theodore Monroe Andrew Perry, a Key West native who used the stage name Stepin Fetchit in portraying shuffling, mumbling, servile movie characters in the 1930s and ’40s.
Former South Bay Mayor Clarence Anthony, an Amendment 4 opponent who is black, issued a statement today blasting Blackner for using “a term that is historically synonymous with degrading, racist stereotypes.”
Blackner, 50, said “I’ve used the phrase for years and had no idea anybody thought it had any racial overtones. If Mr. Anthony is offended, I’m sorry….I tell you what, I won’t use that term any more.”