Mayoral candidate in Florida tells demonstrators to ‘go back to Africa’ during heated debate

Paul Congemi
Paul Congemi. Screenshot via Twitter

A mayoral candidate in Florida has unleashed on activists and his opponent during a heated debate in St. Petersburg, Florida. The candidate, Paul Congemi, told them they should “go back to Africa” if they don’t like it in America.

The exchange between Congemi, his opponent Jesse Nevel, and people connected to the Uhuru Solidarity Movement followed a discussion over reparations — the idea that African-Americans in the US should be compensated for the nation’s legacy of slavery and racial inequality.

Congemi and Nevel, who are both white men, disagree on the subject, which led to Congemi’s outburst.

“Mr. Nevel, you and your people talk about reparations, the reparations that you talk about, Mr. Nevel, your people already got your reparations. Your reparations came in the form of a man named Barack Obama,” Congemi said.

“My advice to you, if you don’t like it here in America, planes leave every hour from Tampa airport. Go back to Africa. Go back to Africa. Go back!”

Though Nevel is white, he has previously expressed support for reparations and the Uhuru Solidarity Movement, according to The Washington Post. His campaign slogan in the St. Petersburg race is “Unity Through Reparations.”

Congemi bristled at that element of Nevel’s platform on Wednesday, calling him a “self-hating white man.” The Post said Congemi is a former Democrat who became a Republican after President Barack Obama declared his support for same-sex marriage. He is considered a longshot candidate in the race.