One cool thing about the Obama presidency is, far from leading us into a postracial America, it's actually revealing that significant minority of white folks, (35-40 percent? Too optimistic?) who are not racist, but just really really don't like
black people Al Sharpton. Take this latest installment in what is, basically, a weekly drama:
In the past several months Atwater City Councilman Gary Frago has sent at least a half-dozen e-mails to city staff and other prominent community members containing racist jokes aimed at President Barack Obama, his wife and black people in general...
Some compared Obama to O.J. Simpson while others suggested that "nigger rigs" should now be called "presidential solutions."
Perhaps the most overboard e-mail was sent on Jan. 15. It read: "Breaking News Playboy just offered Sarah Palin $1 million to pose nude in the January issue. Michelle Obama got the same offer from National Geographic."
Frago admitted sending the e-mails, but showed no regret. "If they're from me, then I sent them," he said. "I have no disrespect for the president or anybody, they weren't meant in any bad way or harm."
Rieger said the jokes he sent had no racial meaning. "As far as I'm concerned the e-mails need no explanation," he said. "I sent them out, I'm not concerned with it," he said.
Rieger also said he had no idea what Frago's constituents might think of the e-mails. "I'm sure if I was black I'd have a different idea of what was funny," he said. "I got black friends that I would tell these jokes to and they would roll on the floor in laughter."
And of the course the predictable finale:
Rieger said that he is not a racist.
Right. Because there are no racists. Ever. Anywhere.
UPDATE: Link added. Sorry guys.
UPDATE #2: Closing comments. I should have done this two days ago. I try to keep this place, pretty open and candid, with the understanding that we're all going to listen, that we're all going to make an attempt at self-reflection. I don't think there's much of that happening here.
But more to the point, from the notion that racists are a marginalized class, to the sense one can draw conclusions about millions of people based on encounters in one city, to the idea that this post is, itself, racist, there is a considerable amount of willful ignorance below.
Willful ignorance is my line--it is the burden of the willfully ignorant. It is their dirty laundry. This is not where you come to get clean.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.