Wednesday, February 25, 2009

On Race, Mayor Grose Sounds A Lot Like Mayor Bloomberg

The mayor of a small Orange County, California town might not seem to have much in common with the Mayor of the largest city in the United States, but their attitudes about racism are quite similar. Bloomberg might not be dumb enough to do send out racist emails, but Mayor Grose of Los Alamitos needs to either open his mind or learn to be a better politician.

From The Huffington Post:

The mayor of Los Alamitos is coming under fire for an e-mail he sent out that depicts the White House lawn planted with watermelons, under the title "No Easter egg hunt this year."

Local businesswoman and city volunteer Keyanus Price, who is black, said Tuesday she received the e-mail from Mayor Dean Grose's personal account on Sunday and wants a public apology.

"I have had plenty of my share of chicken and watermelon and all those kinds of jokes," Price told The Associated Press. "I honestly don't even understand where he was coming from, sending this to me. As a black person receiving something like this from the city-freakin'-mayor - come on."

There's no need to post the picture, but by all means go to Huffington Post to see the racist image. The response by Mayor Grose gives for this is equally frustrating and outrageous:
Grose confirmed to the AP that he sent the e-mail to Price and said he didn't mean to offend her. He said he was unaware of the racial stereotype that black people like watermelons.

He said he and Price are friends and serve together on a community youth board.

"Bottom line is, we laugh at things and I didn't see this in the same light that she did," Grose told the AP. "I'm sorry. It wasn't sent to offend her personally - or anyone - from the standpoint of the African-American race."

Grose was either raised in a cave, or he's lying. I'll go with the latter choice. It really is sad to see how these stereotypes can not only still exist in our society, but that people think they can get away with sending these emails and get away with it by playing dumb.

Mayor Bloomberg was also playing dumb when he said that it the NY Post cartoon didn't bother him. Like I said, it isn't because I think he's a racist, but a more nuanced idea about the situation should be considered. He is powerful (white) figure and plays his role in the elite strategy of keeping the working class down by dividing them along racial lines and any other schism that the wealthy can find and manipulate. Not only is he the Mayor of New York, he's a wealthy media-mogul billionaire and those billions help keep him separated from the harsh realities of racism that too many Americans experience.

So what do we do about this? Well that's simple, keep talking about it and make as much noise about each of these incidents as possible until we start a real discussion in this country about the issue of race. Until we truly air out our past, we'll never get past it, even in this post-racial era.