Norwalk city councilman Bob Carleton forwarded a racially inflammatory email to city officials and friends Dec. 12.
His defense: He did not see the email as offensive, rather he considered it a harmless joke.
Carleton’s claim that he was ignorant to the racially volatile nature of his now infamous correspondence seems impossible to believe.
Carleton, a city councilman with almost two decades of service, a man who claims to have friends of every race, a man who would have been in his mid-20s during the height of the civil rights movement, accidentally confusing an obvious insult targeting varying ethnicities as simple humor?
Is it possible that Carleton’s plea of ignorance due to the absence of malice in his foolish attempt to share what he considered to be funny is actually valid?
Let us back away from the picture frame, expand our view to include the wall.
Carleton is only a reflection of our society that morally progressed by passing legislation to overturn segregation while allowing the plateauing of our racial mindset as if we apologized and did not mean it.
Similar to the big brother who lets the little brother hit him back so he’ll stop crying and threatening to tell, Brown v. Board of Education, Gates v. Collier, affirmative action, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act of 1975 brought an end to the civil rights movement before it turned the U.S. into a violent multicultural merger that would have become a true melting pot.
Racism is dead, so they say. But, if you say American you mean white. Any color to your skin and you become hyphenated. Why is that? Why must there be an African-American or a Hispanic-American? Why aren’t the majority known as European-AmericThere is racism in America and it will be there as long as there are different ethnicities. If there was no racism here there would only be one race, human.
Part of what fuels humans to separate humans from other humans is our natural instinct to compete. We were designed for competition, competing for everything from natural resources and regional food supplies, to mates.
Though not many of us live off the land anymore and there are plenty of resources, food, and mates to go around, our urge to separate ourselves from others burns deep. Due to the evolution of civilization, most raw materials and other necessities are acquired through commerce transforming this urge from a primal instinct to a God-given right to conquer, seize and oppress.
This right has led to an unofficial class system that encompasses the world. In every civilized nation on Earth the population has somehow divided itself into at least two classes, the more powerful of which assumes the role of privilege and oppressing the meek into poverty.
Any doubt of this can easily be refuted by taking a look at the world we live in. The caste systems of India and Africa, the position of the Burakumin in Japan, Apartheid in South Africa and the Casta system in Latin America are just a few examples.
Matter of fact, it will be difficult to name a nation on this planet not composed, of at least two classes, of haves and have-nots.
Is there racism in America, yes — and the evidence is our unofficial social class system being stronger than ever today, surviving since European settlers won the first violent scrimmages against Native Americans.
Is Bob Carleton racist? Yes. Does Carleton know he is racist? Yes.
He didn’t share his joke with one of his many black friends.
Is it Carleton’s intention to be racist? No, and that makes crucifying Carleton a waste of wood and stakes.
I’m not saying we should spare Carleton the fallout of his actions. I’m saying he is a product built by the same machine that built us, our children and our grandchildren.
We as a people need to change and show some empathy for our fellow man.
There is a quote that caught my attention recently that is appropriate.
“To cheapen the lives of any group of men, cheapens the lives of all men, even our own” ›— William Pickens, civil rights activist