As a follow-up on Cynthia McKinney, a simple point is that her invoking the race angle is doubly damaging - first, it unnecesarily ups that ante in what is at heart a profoundly silly controversy (or perhaps was until /if she slugged a cop,) and second it obscures real controversies containing disturbing racial implications. To whit, the Duke Lacrosse story.
It's enormously unfair, but McKinney's almost offhand assertion of racism give cover to those who want to dismiss the more explosive aspects out of hand as more of the same. As an example of what I'm talking about see this takedown by Sadly, No! (I'm not going to link to the original article, because it is one of the uglier pieces to have seen the light of day. Be warned.)