Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Los Alamitos Mayor in New Racist Gaffe

First it was Sean Delonas with the infamous monkey cartoon. The New York Post got a crash lesson in racial stereotypes when comparisons were made to racist jokes in which African Americans are compared to monkeys. Anyone with memories of Jim Crow could provide cases in point from the time of segregation and lynching when African Americans were portrayed as sub human.

Sean Delonas has tremendous artistic gifts and a tastelessness that I look forward to with each issue of the Post. I would not hold one cartoon against him in a career that has been left the road littered with the victims of his artistic lampooning.

The cartoon above has no artistic merit to even put it in the same category as the Delonas cartoon. It leaves no wiggle room. It shows the White House lawn done over as a watermelon patch. The stereotype of a lazy negro in the watermelon patch is an old time racist staple. Anyone who has any familarity with the history of the civil rights movement should know this. The Orange County Register reports as follows.

The mayor has sent an apology for an e-mail sent to a local businesswoman and community volunteer that she says is racist and offensive.

Keyanus Price, an African American, said she was appalled when she received an e-mail from Mayor Dean Grose's personal account that showed a picture of the White House with a watermelon patch imposed as the White House garden.

"I was horrified when I read that e-mail," Price said. "What I'm concerned about is how can this person send an e-mail out like this and think it is OK?"

Being a public official, Price said, made the matter worse.

"He's putting the city into a bad place, and he is a liability," Price wrote in an e-mail.

I have mixed motives in condemning both the Delonas cartoon and the watermelon cartoon sent by the Los Alamitos mayor. My primary motive is that racism has no place in America. No person should feel that his skin is the uniform of an enemy. I have experienced anti white racism on more than one occasion. I am sure my feelings are similar to African American victims of white racism. If racist humour still elicits a laugh in the proverbial smoke filled rooms of Los Alamitos, then maybe there are no African Americans there to take offense. This raises a multitude of additional questions.

My second motive will provide no consolation to those who wish to shield the Obama administration behind a shield of race cards. I believe that Obama's ideas are toxic to our economy. He plans to bleed an already anemic economy with more taxes. He is sending mixed signals to America's allies. He is bloating the government. Then there are lingering questions about his citizenship.

There are millions of Americans who have serious questions for Barack Obama. These questions deserve serious answers. People who snicker about Obama's skin colour contaminate public discourse with irrelevant and inflamatory contributions. They have nothing to offer the movement against bloated government and confiscatory taxation. I don't want legitimate debate about the issues sidelined with talk about racial insults.

We are facing serious issues as a nation. The fundamental differences in outlook that divide our country also have the potential of bridging racial divides with the resonance of good ideas. We are in the process of building political institutions that reflect our nation's diversity and respond to our common challenges.

Maybe some day, Americans will be blase about ethnic humour that is directed against them. This time has not yet arrived. Many Americans of all ethnicities bear the scars of racism directed at them. Sensitivity is still in order. During the serious debate that is certain to take place, we do not need any distractions.


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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have a post about the Delonas cartoon on my blog. Check it out at the URL below: