The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Anya Silverman-Stoloff,

UltraViolet Condemns Debate Topic "Race and Violence in our Cities"

Says This Framework Perpetuates Racist Narrative in the Midst of Police Violence, Needs to be Changed Immediately


Yesterday, Fox News' Chris Wallace, moderator for the first presidential debate on Tuesday September 29th, publicized the list of debate topics, which included "race and violence in our cities."

In reaction, Bridget Todd, Communications Director for UltraViolet, a leading national women's advocacy group, explained:

"You know the pervasiveness of white supremacy runs deep if in 2020, at a time when the majority of Americans support the demands of the Black Lives Matter movement, the Commission on Presidential Debates can't even put out a list of topics without advancing anti-Black messaging and dog whistles that play right into Trump's racist narrative.

"This false framework, not surprising from a Fox News host, perpetuates racist right-wing disinformation, equates Blackness with violence, and ignores the realities of police violence and white supremacist terrorism.

"This is unacceptable. We cannot let anti-Blackness be the framework for our national debates.

"The Commission on Presidential Debates should never have approved this frame and must apologize and take immediate action to change it.

"This highlights how important it is to have the voices of women, Black people and people of color involved in our national conservations. In response to demands by gender equity and justice organizations including UltraViolet, TV networks and the DNC agreed to have at least one woman of color moderate each Democratic primary debate. The Commission on Presidential Debates needs to make that same commitment."

Last month, UltraViolet, in conjunction with ACRONYM, Color Of Change PAC, Disinfo Defense League, EMILY's List WOMEN VOTE!, NARAL Pro-Choice America, Planned Parenthood Votes, SumOfUs, Women's March, Strategic Victory Fund, GQR Digital, and #ShePersisted., launched "Reporting in an Era of Disinformation: Fairness Guide for Covering Women and People of Color in Politics," a new guide for reporting on the 2020 general election.

The guide makes specific recommendations designed to help journalists and platforms identify and avoid unintentional sexist and racist bias or disinformation when interviewing, writing, or moderating content about race and gender in politics.


UltraViolet is a powerful and rapidly growing community of people mobilized to fight sexism and create a more inclusive world that accurately represents all women, from politics and government to media and pop culture.