Thursday, February 26, 2009

Racist Republican Stupidity, Part ...

(Photoillustration: courtesy of Keyanus Price, Orange County Register site)

Yet again, a conservative politician has stepped on his reproductive tackle by sending out a blatantly racist image drawing a connection between Barack Obama and watermelons.

Los Alamitos, CA (Orange County) Mayor Dean Grose sent the email to African-American city volunteer and businesswomen Keyanus Price:

"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."

The Orange County Register first reported the e-mail on its Web site Tuesday night.

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, who became mayor in December, said he sent an apology e-mail to Price and her boss and also left her a voicemail apology.

Regardless, Price said it will be difficult for the two to work together.

"Now I am like - wow, is this really how he feels?" Price said.

To be fair, Grose is not identified as Republican by the LWV, his own campaign website, or the Orange County Register election summary page. However, the latter source identifies his role model as:

Ronald Reagan, because of his ability to bring people together to resolve issues, his ability to accomplish things at an international level, and his conservative, fiscally sound management style

which certainly suggests (as does his residence in OC) a Republican leaning, at least.

Grose's office had a watermelon smashed on the doorstep yesterday morning, but because the building wasn't damaged, it wasn't considered vandalism

Grose issued a written apology to the City Council, Keyanus Price, and her boss:

I am deeply embarrassed in receiving your email, and for any harm or hurt that it may have caused. It was poor judgement on my part and was never intended to be offensive to Ms. Price, your company or anyone in the African American Community. I have exchanged emails with Ms. Price in the past.

I can fully understand your concerns and comments. Please be advised that I have left a voice mail for Ms. Price and will also be sending her a separate email with my apology. You can be assured that I will not allow this to happen again. I in no way was representing the City of Los Alamitos, or my role as a council member in sending this out and it went via my private business email. That doesn't justify the fact that it was sent, however, we gratefully appreciate the contributions that your company makes to our community and I wish to publically apologize to anyone within the firm or organization that may have been offended.

I am truly sorry.

Dean Grose

This is better than most racist GOP apologies. It doesn't include the phrase "anyone who may have been offended" or "if you were offended", but it does assure us that the image "was never intended to be offensive to Ms. Price, your company or anyone in the African American Community". That may just be that Grose (or his handlers) has taken a lesson from earlier racist GOP screwups (or maybe Rupert Murdoch).

(Photo: City of Los Alamitos Mayor Dean Grose, Los Alamitos web site)

If you want to contact Mayor Grose, here's his Facebook page. The Los Alamitos city page is here, with phone numbers and address at the bottom. And to save you the trouble of poking around the website, here's the email address they list:

h/t to Steven Barnes, who says:

My Conservative Republican friends: you have GOT to speak up about this, or lose your party. Right now, if is looking like your Big Tent is made out of a white sheet.