Punishment unlikely

“Sometimes people can’t understand a joke. I got friends that are black. I have friends of all races”
Andy Ouriel
Jan 26, 2014


A Norwalk city councilman who admitted to forwarding a racially insensitive email to others isn’t likely to face any political repercussions.

Bob Carleton, a councilman serving Norwalk for almost 20 years, is seemingly safe from any punishment after sending an email containing offensive and disparaging remarks about blacks, women and Hispanics.

“As far as council taking formal action to remove or discipline him, there is nothing that allows council to do that,” council president Steve Euton said. “There’s nothing we can do”

Voters could recall Carleton, but that’s an unlikely scenario, Euton said.

“Most people believe that it’s inappropriate behavior, but people have not contacted me to remove him from office” Euton said.

In December, Carleton, who obtained the email from someone else, forwarded the racially charged email to city officials and others. The Register obtained the email through a public records request.

After verifying Carleton’s email through Norwalk’s law department, the Register called Carleton, who previously said he regretted forwarding the message after receiving it from someone else.

“I see it as humorous,” Carleton told the Register in early January. “I guess in hindsight, it can be interpreted as racist, but that was not my intent.

“It doesn’t mean I’m racist,” Carleton said. “Sometimes people can’t understand a joke. I got friends that are black. I have friends of all races”

In interviews with the Register, city officials and community members expressed disappointment and outrage about Carleton’s email.

“This is an individual using the premise of a joke to actually pass on what he truly believes,” said Jim Jackson, president of the NAACP’s chapter in Sandusky. “That’s sad, and even more so that he’s a public official. A lot of times, when individuals pass something like this off as a joke, they actually believe the contents of the joke”



I wonder what the NCAAP thought of Richard Pryor in his heyday?

Or the rappers using exactly this kind of wording or worse?


Should blacks use this wording? No we should not.

But to use that as a justification for racist communication I believe says a lot about your own prejudices, starryeyes, and about your understanding of civil rights in today's world. I have been APPALLED at the comments for this series of stories. People should be outraged that this man represents them in public office. Instead, outdated philosophies rooted in hate and prejudice rule this area of the country.


If you read any of starryeyes post whenever it comes to minorities whether negative or positive they love to show how much hatred they have for others


Truth hurts.

You can't have it both ways.

mimi's word

Gosh if only we could laugh a little at ourselves instead of every toss and turn be rooted in anger and hate. I also don't see this as a joke about any such race but a jab at all the extra "benefits" some people seem to see other races being extended. If the African-Hispanic was not added here it would be the same story agianst urban living in general. mr. white how many gay, fat or blonde jokes have you ever laughed at?

From the Grave

THIS area? When was the last time you were in Mississippi?


They called Richard on it. If that what you was wondering and he called his own use of the n!**a wrong. So what's your point its clear you have a severe dislike for blacks but what rapper had you heard using this same wording.

Sailor Sam

I have been following this story and am amazed at the degree of unabashed institutional racism that his email and subsequent interviews and comments expose.

Sailor Sam

Thank-you Reggie! Institutional racism "is the extent to which racism is embedded in the dominant organizations and power structure of society..." (Wade 1993, p. 543). When the councilman says it doesn't make him a racist I think, "Yeah, it kinda' does actually."

Steve P

I have black friends in the criminal justice system that everyday tolerate the "Uncle Tom" remarks from other blacks, a few years ago my wife was verbally assaulted for no other reason by numerous young black men for being in the "wrong" neighborhood. Racism and being a being a bigot comes in all colors.

JMOP's picture

I understand what your wife went through.
I was at a gas station in Columbus, about 6 black kids age ranging from 6-13 years old, were riding their bikes in the lot. They circled around me calling me Casper, cracker, ghost all while laughing. My friend was terrified waiting in the car. I wasn't, I was ticked, because there were adults (all were black also) pumping gas, looking at the kids doing this. Not one word from the adults. I was thinking if this situation was reversed, it would have been corrected by a bystander, but most likely of all, it wouldn't of happened in the first place. At least I never encountered it in my life.

Dr. Information

Until the black community gets as outraged toward the black movie stars, rappers and the people they know personally who use the N word multiple times on a daily basis, nothing will change.

The Big Dog's back

So before Black rappers, what caused the racism?

Kobayashi Maru

White people?


The rappers are allowed to use the word. That's different. Duh.


Normally every government elected body has some process for censuring a member. While it's true the council can't remove him or punish him by a fine or loss of pay, the council should be able to move to censure him on the record at a council meeting.

A motion to censure would have to be made by a council member with discussion on the record. The council would then take a vote on the matter. Such legislative action would at least demonstrate to the community that Norwalk council doesn't approve of this type of behavior.


Get off the rappers. Their lyrics have changed a lot over the years. White people should not be surprised when they are the victims of racism. What goes around comes around. The joke was in poor taste for a man or anyone in his position. For the younger generation, the n word has a new meaning. Used as a term of endearment it is acceptable to some. It's really not just about the word anyway. You can't justify the past behavior by pointing out present behavior by some. Nice try, wrong guy!

The Big Dog's back

Hey, he has "Black friends".


Imagine that!!!!!!!


Yeah Bob....Ilene stated how you constantly opposed her on council. You got" miffed" when "that" tax abatement didn't waltz through either. See Bob people 50& under do know.


Your right deer tracker what goes around comes around that's why the blacks were enslaved to begin with and look at how well the current black youth are doing, what a joke! We clothe feed and educate them and they're still crybabies. Hey but what goes around comes around right black folks?


A rather poor way to address affirmative action. I've never thought affirmative action was a good idea. People should be judged by their abilities and talents regardless of their race and not given an advantage because of the color of their skin.

JMOP's picture



Isn't that the reason why we have affirmative action? People were not judged by their abilities and talents. And some still isn't. Its easy to be against something when it benefits you only and not others. I wish we didn't need it but just like the voting act once the supreme court took out the main part states rushed to make it harder to vote for some.


There is nothing in this email that is derogatory. The " N " word was NEVER used nor were there any other distasteful words used to describe the girl. It was filled with poor grammar and terrible spelling. So I guess I'm missing the racism part of this email.


If affirmative action was used as it was originally intended...to prevent discrimination and be treated fairly...then fine. But when minorities are given an advantage simply because of their race, I'm against it. An example of what affirmative action has morphed: http://articles.philly.com/1988-...


A quick litmus test: if you see nothing wrong with Carleton's email, you're racist. Why is it that those who are the most racist seem to have no clue that they are?


Explain the racism.

Sailor Sam

Exactly Coasterfan! Institutional racism is so ingrained in white culture that it is unrecognizable to whites because it is just the way it is and has always been. Those who consider themselves "not racist" see no reason to change or look at institutional racism and see how oppressive it is. I would bet what's left of the farm that JmSchmidt812 is white even if he didn't have a Germanic name.


Actually you would've lost the farm there bud. I'm actually, hold on to your seat, HISPANIC!!! The user name is not real, just as I'm sure your real name isn't sailor. As I'm sure coasterfan also has a real name. I find NOTHING racist about the email. She's described as an African-Hispanic American girl. There was nothing derogatory in the description. I assumed the "girl" was dumb and uneducated. IMO if it were racist it would have had colorful words to describe the "girl"

The Big Dog's back

So being hispanic makes you not a racist? Who knew?


Re: "So being hispanic makes you not a racist?"

Where did he say that being hispanic means he isn't racist? He said he wasn't white. Can you explain how you got not being racist from that? Says a lot about your twisted thought process... or lack thereof, piddle puppy.


I'm not sure where you got that from dumb dog. But try reading what I wrote and find exactly where it says that.

JMOP's picture

@ Sailor Sam
So, you are a racist, or you don't see yourself as racist? Cause if you don't think your racist, maybe you just don't recognize it.
Doesn't sound like any whites could win with that argument. So all whites are racist, even if they don't know it?

Sailor Sam

@JMOP-Though I don't intend to have a racist psyche ultimately I do. Racism, attitudes, and values are something I re-assess daily. My wife who is vehemently Christian, has a difficult time being tolerant of other religions (Hinduism, Islam, etc). My argument to her is that were she born in Saudi Arabia, she would undoubtedly be a Muslim and intolerant of Christians etc...you get my point. It's a matter of where and when we are born and raised that have a significant impact on our thinking, values, and attitudes towards others who are different from us. To me, these concepts demand my introspection to see where I fall in the scheme of these issues. I am uncertain as to whether I will ever be able to entirely eradicate subconscious negative sentiments towards others who are culturally or racially different than I am, but I am willing to cross examine them as regards my behaviours and thinking. That's all. Just sayin'.

JMOP's picture

Just so I understand your point, it's not just whites that can be racist, it's everyone who is different?

When Obama made the comment about his white grandmother moving over to the other side of the street because there were a group of black men, my first thought was, maybe it's because they were men, not because they're black. Maybe she was scared of a group of men coming towards her. She might of wanted to stay away from the "cat calls". So am I sexist too?

I believe people judge on experiences, not just what is taught.

Sailor Sam

To an extent "Yes". Certainly the minorities are judging on their experiences with the legacy of White Euro-centrism. Sexism runs deep too. Much in the same vein as racism. Often when a pregnant woman is asked the sex of her baby and she of course says, "It's a boy!" or "It's a girl!", color schemes for nurseries are chosen dependent on the sex, mom and dad envision the cute outfits, what activities they will do with them when they get a little older, and perhaps what occupations they will study for in school. Stuff like that is only the tip of the iceberg. Often there is pre-ordination for boys or girls. Pink for girls and blue for boys. It goes on and on and on and.........ad infinitum. It's also instiutional in nature.

JMOP's picture

Thanks for clarifying.


What I fail to understand is when Bob forwarded the email to a few of his friends the Register tries to label him as a racist. Now some of you are doing the same thing.
The question in my mind is why is Bob a racist for one email to friends, and the Register gets a free pass after printing this same email in the newspaper several times and displaying it for days on their website?

It seems to me the bigger racist here would be the Register.
Where is the outrage from the black community?

Dr. Information

Rappers glorify the treatment of women as used up pieces of trash, use the nig word to describe everything. Glorify shooting cops, white people etc. Until that stops, let the games go on.

The Big Dog's back

Spoken like a registered racist.


I didn't laugh at that joke. I have heard better ones.


"Let the games go on." Naw dealt him with similar to Stackkhouse - attitude.