Laughing Instead of Crying

Yet another non-racist politician gets caught sending out not-racist email jokes about the OG-Commander-in-Chief. And, of course, the First ShawtyLady (via TNC):

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.

In all, the Sun-Star obtained seven e-mails that Frago sent from October 2008 to February 2009 from an anonymous source.


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."

Shit like this is why Dave Chappelle really needs to come out of retirement. It's going to be a while before it's all floated to the surface and been skimmed off.

I think from now on, though, I'm going to start referring to Joe Biden as the Deputy Spade.

UPDATE: Rather fantastic discussion going on in the comments to TNC's post on this, linked above. This comment, after some people expressed alarm at the notion that 35-40% of white Americans "don't like Al Sharptonblack people", from TNC needs highlighting:

I'll give you a better equivalent. Are you offended by the notion that 35 to 40 percent of men are sexist? Are 65 percent? 85 percent? 100 percent? Are you offended by the notion that 70 percent of people are homophobic? 90 percent? 99 percent? None of these scenarios actually offend me. Why would they? I may debate the number, but that's different than actually being offended--or even disappointed--by the assertion.

But the difference between those -isms and all your others lies in this statement:

I was raised to believe that racists are the lowest of the low, the scum of the freakin' earth.

I would suggest that, if you believe this, you will likely be offended at least once a week by this blog. And frankly, it's good that you are. The problem with this statement is what lies beneath--the ="lowest of the low" sounds like a qualitative judgment to you, but it's actually a quantitative one too. In terms of morality, the "lowest of the low" connotes the marginalized, the dregs of humanity, the trolls under the bridge.

This definition of racism is very reason why, when people are accused of it, their friends say things like, "No, he's a really good person." or "No, he has black friends." The notion being that racists are monsters who hide somewhere, and come out at night to menace the population.

Racists are not "the lowest of the low"--indeed they are often the most respectable of the respected. Every week we hear about a civil servant caught mailing e-mails--like the one above--to coworkers. These people aren't "the lowest of the low." Pat Buchanan is racist. He's also holds a plum spot at one of the biggest media outfits in the world. The reason why he holds that spot is because so many people who work with him find him utterly charming. He may well be a great father. He may be a great husband, and an exceedingly loyal friend. But he's a racist, too.

The world would be a much easier place if racist were, as you put it, "the scum of the earth." They aren't. Like homophobes and sexists, they can be our best friends. That's why we're still fighting this fight. That's why it's so hard to root out. Because it tend to pop up in people we love.

I welcome you to be offended at me. I welcome you to be disappointed in me. But I'd encourage you to consider the point. I'd encourage to follow, and join in, on our Civil War threads. Understanding that Robert E. Lee, was the most upright of human beings, and yet on his way to Gettysburg he kidnapped free black people and sold them into slavery will tell you a lot about racism. It will tell you even more about people.

It's good that you were offended. I don't mean to be an ass. But half of what animates me is the belief that people who believe that racism exists strictly amongst the "scum of the earth" need a wake-up call.

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