Tod Robberson’s racially charged toxic masculinity syndrome

As I sat in my bed on June 10 recuperating from a surgery that many women, especially black women, experience daily, I received an email from Tod Robberson, editorial page editor of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. As I read the email I was once again reminded of the utter disdain and toxic masculinity that Robberson suffers from.

There is a reemergence in the streets of this nation from the anger and frustration that black people are feeling about the continuing systemic racism that has plagued black people since 1619. The country is in the throes of a pandemic that, according to official statistics from the CDC, has killed at least 30,000 black people. That’s 23% of the total fatalities, when black people are only 13.4% of the total U.S. population. In the City of St. Louis, where Robberson and I both live and work, 65% of COVID-19 cases and 63.8% of COVID-19 deaths have been black people, when blacks form only 45.9% of the city’s population.

And yet, amid unprecedented simultaneous crises, Robberson sends an email with loaded questions about a historic contract awarded to a black woman-owned business by St. Louis’ Treasurer’s Office, which I was elected to lead. The email implies that the only reason this person received this contract is because she is “the single largest” donor to my campaign (which is not true) – and that I should have recused myself from voting for the contract.

If that is the measuring stick that Robberson is using, then no elected official in City Hall should be voting on any contracts. These spurious accusations – and the source of this inquiry by Robberson – is not a news story in his paper, but a complaint from Alderman Jeffery Boyd, a candidate for treasurer on the August 4 ballot; Boyd and I are the only Democrats who filed in the primary election.

Before I continue, I would like to provide a few facts about the black female businesswoman Robberson and Boyd are attempting to smear.

Sheila Hudson began working for the Parking Division in 2009 as an employee when then-St. Louis Treasurer Larry Williams decided – upon advice from his financial advisors – to outsource certain functions of the Treasurer’s Office. In 2012, Hudson was given the opportunity to become a subcontractor to Duncan, the company that was awarded an outsourcing contract in 2008 to provide on-street parking maintenance and collection. From 2008 to 2020, she has been a subcontractor – first with Duncan and subsequently with the Xerox corporation. In 2015, Xerox (now Conduent) was awarded a five-year contract to provide collection, meter maintenance and installation of new meters and pay stations. Xerox then subcontracted these services to Hudson. The contract expired in 2020.

When the contract was put out to bid, Hudson submitted and won a portion of the RFP to provide meter maintenance and supervision of the Parking Violations Bureau with a bid that will save the Parking Division more than $500,000 a year after a full year of implementation. I won’t go into the details of how the contract was procured – because the entire procurement process is online and open for everyone to see (https://tinyurl.com/Treasurer-procurement).

Robberson’s attack on Sheila Hudson, at a time when the entire country is focused on an attempt to create racial and economic equity, is both shameless and reckless. Hudson’s rise from an employee to subcontractor to a prime contractor is the American dream the whites-only liberals like Robberson like to write about.

What I will talk about, however, is Robberson’s continued racist and misogynistic attack on black women – specifically his vicious attacks on me and Circuit Attorney Kimberly Gardner.

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