A Davenport mayoral candidate rejects claims of racism being directed at him.
Complaints made against Steve Duffy say some of his social media activity is offensive.
Three posts from Duffy’s personal Facebook page are at the center of the complaint.
One praised confederate general Robert E. Lee.
Duffy weighed into the immigration debate when he raised questions about dreamers in another.
A third one is a photo of a white child with made up text criticizing a black man for wearing baggy pants.
Duffy says he’s been on the Hot Rod Power Tour over the last 10 days and never got any of our messages.
Now that he’s home again we arranged to sit down for a conversation.
Duffy denies any of his posts are racially motivated.
“It’s misunderstood. Those are people that don’t really know me,” he says.
Local 4’s Tahera Rahman asked him about the doctored photo critical of a black man with sagging pants.
“That’s the style that’s going on right now and it doesn’t have anything to do with color. My nephew dresses like that and his mother always teases him about it also, as the rest of our family,” Duffy says.
“Even if it is a fad, that picture, the way that it represents it is that it’s a little white child talking to a young black man. So, although in your mind it’s talking about a greater fad, the context of the picture might come off different,” Rahman says.
“And that’s unfortunate that people have that narrow-minded feeling about that,” Duffy responds.
In another post, Duffy asks why dreamers didn’t work to become citizens.
“What’s to say they haven’t applied for citizenship?” asks Rahman.
“I hope they have. I don’t track that,” Duffy says.
“But by posting that…” Rahman questions.
“I didn’t post that, it was on a social media site,” says Duffy.
“But you shared it with that comment,” Rahman says.
“I shared it, why don’t they work and complete their dream?” he says.
Claire Broders has been Duffy’s friend for more than 20 years.
We brought up the issue with her.
She’s quick to defend Duffy and says people don’t understand him.
“Have they ever talked to him? Do they even know him?” she asks.
“Using the same point of, ‘Does he even know…’ What the dreamers went through? Does he even know what the context is of posting something like that in a city that does have a racially diverse group?” Rahman asks.
“But he’s a pretty smart guy and he knows a lot,” Broders says.
We also brought up the third post where Duffy praises confederate general Robert E. Lee for “what he did for the south.”
Duffy defends that, as well.
He says Lee was a respected service member and part of history.
“In recent days they’ve been taking down those statues and I think that’s part of history,” he says.
“You’re talking about slavery and so forth, that’s nothing to praise about, I’m totally against that. I’ve had neighbors of different races and color who are friends of mine and support me in my campaign for mayor,” Duffy says.
None of this is stopping Duffy’s mayoral campaign.
He maintains he’s still right for the job.
“I know if they got to know me and visited with me for a short while, they’d understand my feelings and have faith and be a supporter,” Duffy says.