Racist email reflects us

Register
Jan 10, 2014
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

Comments

Stop It

What a load of crap. If I had to hyphenate my heritage it would be hunky,all of western europe,native american..I didn't start this stuff but I gotta deal with it. I was in the hospital two weeks ago and they asked my race. I said I refuse to answer. "They" then said "they" needed it for "their" records. I told them to look at me and take a guess.

No, I had nothing to do with that crap, but I certainly have heard talk like that. Bill Cosby hates it when he hears it. AND Gay? it used to mean happy until homosexuals claimed it for their own and now despise hearing the words, "that is ssooo gay"

make up your own mind...and you can call me a$$-hole if you so desire. You won't be the first and I'm certain you won't be the last. I really don't care

grumpy

^ LIKE

YoMamma

It wouldn't have made the paper if it was a redneck joke! But god forbid you make a black joke!!! Sad thing is it was the truth!

deertracker

What was so true?

OSUBuckeye59

I'm with 'Stop It'...when I'm asked my race I always reply with "human". When asked my ethnic background I always reply with "international". The questioner then always says, "You look Caucasian", to which I ask, "Oh really? And where then can I find the Caucasian homeland you're saying I come from?"

I've traced my family tree back enough to know that I have at least two native american ancestors, along with German, Welsh and Scandinavian ancestors. I have no idea if the native american ancestors really came from, say, the Russian peninsula or maybe Mexico or farther south. And of course I don't know where the German, Welsh and Scandinavian ancestors came from. Considering how big the Roman Empire once was, for all I know my ancestors from Germany & Wales could possibly be traced back to Italy.

But since nobody is ever going to look at me and say, "You know, I SWEAR you could be a double for Eddie Murphy" or Ichiro Suzuki or Gandhi or Tony Bennett or Antonio Banderas or Chou En Lai, then of course the assumption will always be I'm Caucasian.

I'm extremely blessed to have been working with folks from all ethnic backgrounds for the past 25 years in an international company with well over 100,000 employees. On a daily basis I converse with folks from India, Japan, Germany, France, Korea, Taiwan & China. Every once in a great while one of my peers might make fun of their own ethnicity, but it's never meant to be demeaning or derogatory. Or I'll make fun of myself, as in I'll do something really silly, to which I then remark, "Well, I AM BLONDE, you know!".

But I do think it's terribly sad and frustrating that councilman Carleton found the email funny, and also then forwarded it. The email, to me, wasn't funny. It was derogatory. Strike #1. And then Carleton forwarded it. Strike #2. When confronted, Carleton still didn't understand the email as being offensive. Strike #3.

mikesee

The sad thing about it Damon is that's how a lot of today's young talk! If you are so insulted about how people make "racist" remarks regarding the language why don't you lead a campaign to help today's youth speak properly.

deertracker

You are wrong. That is NOT how young people talk. That is how slaves spoke due to the fact that they were not allowed to get an education. I speak very well and so do my kids and their friends. I used to make a point to correct any kids that were in my company and always explained to them the importance of speaking properly. Just because you see a comedy skit or a random person that does not speak well does not mean we all talk that way.

mikesee

I did not specifically say YOU spoke that way. Watch the evening news, any channel, and when they interview inner city kids that's just how they speak. Matter of fact one channel was promoting Obama's newest program to help inner city people. They interviewed 3 young adults and each spoke worse than the other. It was embarrassing to watch.

SamAdams

Believe it or not, I agree with Mr. Newell, at least when he muses about the so-called "hyphenated" American. But Mr. Newell needs to ALSO understand that it's primarily the African-American community that insist on being referred to as African-American. The same holds true for most OTHER hyphenated groups.

Me? I follow OSUBuckeye59. When asked my race, I say, "Human." (I should point out, however, that most government entities are NOT amused when I classify myself as such, so try it yourself with some caution.)

As for these "racist jokes" so many people talk about, well, if you take them SERIOUSLY, of COURSE they're not funny! But they're NOT serious. They're JOKES! There are redneck jokes, fat jokes, short jokes, nerd jokes, lawyer jokes, blonde jokes, and "your mama" jokes, too. Are we now not permitted ANY kind of humor if it makes fun of ANYthing, stereotype or not? Is the new rule that, if it offends ANYone, it's offensive?

Fine. YOU live by those rules. I won't. I won't in part because I CAN'T. NOBODY can! So many people are so hyper-sensitive these days that they'll take offense at pretty much anything. In fact, if I find anything offensive, it's their over-the-top political correctness and the inevitable coercive muzzles that result!

deertracker

Wrong again! Blacks are just fine with being called Black Americans. Most Blacks know little about Africa and Africans don't necessarily claim Blacks in America as Africans. Two different cultures. Might I point out that most of the time the outrage from jokes like this or other racist comments don't even come from the black community.

SamAdams

How am I wrong, here, Deertracker? If the self-identified African-Americans wish to be called African-Americans, how is that changed by other black men and women who prefer to be called Black, Black Americans, or just Americans?

Again, All that I'm saying is that those SELF-IDENTIFIED groups are the ones who insist on the hyphenations. And the politically correct meeting of those demands is DIVIDING us, nothing more or less. If you were born in this country, or have become a citizen, then you're an American. Period. What does race have to do with ANYthing?

I've never suggested that anybody be ashamed of their ethnic heritage. But there's no reason to be proud of skin color, either! You were born with it, and deserve neither credit nor blame any more than you should be blamed (or lauded) for your height or your hair color.

Only racists believe skin color to be important, you know...

Nemesis

The joke isn't even really about race. It's about the affirmative action. The hypothetical writer is simply constructed to represent a worst case scenario of racial set asides. That happens to involve a minority because that's to whom such set asides and score boosts are given.

"He didn’t share his joke with one of his many black friends."

Maybe he didn't, but I've been told a version of the same joke by a black friend. Go figure.

Stop It

Btw, "they" "guessed" me as Hispanic American and asked if it was right. I don't fill out a census let alone answer such BS. I just said, "your guess is as good as mine. If that is what you want to put down, go for it." She said, "I was trying to get what you think you are, but now since we have this Hispanic dislike out there, that's what I'm writing down." I then said, "Merci beaucoup, mon cheri."

I am Heinz-57 all the way around..I claim no nationality but american. I was born here.

SamAdams

Hah. A Census worker guessed my ethnicity, too. She said, "Well, you LOOK ________!" I just smiled and said, "Really? Okay." She left it blank.

The Census constitutionally mandates that you tell the government how many people are living in your house. Okay. It does NOT constitutionally mandate you tell the government how many bathrooms you have, whether or not you have trouble going up or down stairs (a real Census question, by the way), or how far you drive to work.

NOTE: All of that information that you give out, the information that's supposed to be used ONLY by the government, and ONLY anonymously and confidentially? Well, you can now download an app for your smartphone that shows Census data for whatever neighborhood you happen to be using your smartphone in at the time. Awesome.

Pragmatic

YoMamma: It’s “your truth”. It isn’t everybody’s truth.

He was making fun of a black female (I will use skin color rather than upset anyone with using the term “race”).

I know plenty of African-American women who speak appropriately. Conversely, I know many people of other races (and skin color) who speak poor English. I’ve lived in several areas across our Country and I’ve heard people of various races and skin colors speak properly and speak poorly.

Racist, sexist, etc…jokes are sent across E-mail daily all around the world. Most of them never make the news. However, when an elected official does it, it is newsworthy. If he were making fun of disabled children…BUT, it was JUST a joke, would it still be funny? Not to most folks who have empathy. If he was making fun of older people being useless in the workforce…but, it was just a joke, is it really funny?

Human beings are patterned thinkers. Our thoughts…eventually become our actions. Our thoughts drive our behavior. When a person in a leadership position postulates certain ideologies (even in jest), people think they live their life like that. What happens? Discrimination in the workplace can occur…people like this are a liability to companies. Not to mention, to some us, they are a liability to growth, change, and well….to humanity.

People can have fun…make jokes…laughter truly is the universal language. But, it is possible to have fun and make others laugh and do it intelligently, with couth, and not make other Americans feel as though they are unworthy. People like that obviously veer away from the whole mantra in America of “United we Stand”. Either we are united…or we aren’t. I guess that doesn’t depend on being American. Apparently, it depends on skin color. It bothers me greatly that this person in a leadership position didn’t think he did anything wrong.

deertracker

Great comment!

BDupler

And the Register reprinted the email in a desperate and disgusting means of gathering more web traffic. So who is worse, the person who wrote it, or the group that republishes it and profits from it?

Babo

The SR.

reggiewhite92

You could make this claim about any controversial news story. Really, it's journalists' duty to shed light on immoral public officials. Nothing sensationalistic about posting this.

YoMamma

We are pusifying America!

Babo

Posted in error.

jibber jabber

REALLY, I mean REALLY, upset over a word, come on, how slow are we going here. It is below childish level, maybe infant area. WHAT I learned Sticks and Stones may break my bones, BUT names will never hurt me.
I SEE racists words above like, White people white person, Black people, cracker, cracker head, YEE of little minds, please grow up, did I forget the N word. Plz do a double grow up.

reggiewhite92

The councilman did not merely use a single word. He generalized a large portion of the American public, one with an incredibly sensitive and unfortunate history. It wasn't a lighthearted generalization like black people can jump higher, run faster (also racist generalizations) His "joke" was that black people are stupid. This person makes decisions for the good of the public. Quite the opposite, sir.

jibber jabber

a hem, I heard FROM dark skinned people that White people are stupid, I also heard from other people that mexicans are stupid, I heard Italians are stupid, Latinos are stupid, the LIST go's on and on, I heard this and that race is stupid. The whole thing is CHILDISH, most intelect people ignore stupid words, and pass it on as ignorant people. And get on with there lifes. When the other half of the ingorant people STOP it also stops there life. Ignorant people draw other ignorant people.

reggiewhite92

Weak argument. So because racist thoughts and language have been commonplace throughout history, it's okay? Racism has always existed and will always exist in some form, but it doesn't mean we are not capable of advancing as a society. We can start by holding people like the councilman accountable for his egregious words.

I come from the younger generation, jibber jabber. We are far more accepting than those that have come before us. It's where the societal trends are heading, thank god, and I would suggest you hop on board because soon you will be the minority.

coasterfan

Like Paula Deen, Don Imus and others before them, Carleton's point of view is straight out of the 1950's, back when it was " ok" to be publicly bigoted. Since then, most of us learned how wrong it was to judge a man by his color, but quiet and not-so-quiet bigotry still exists in America.

What is most surprising is not that knuckleheads like the above would say something like that in public, but that they seem genuinely unaware as to how racist and hurtful their words are.

Carleton suffers from a false sense of superiority, for you couldn't possibly write something hat insulting, unless you felt obviously superior. It seems to have backfired on him, for I find hin decidedly less superior than most people of any color. The sad part about racism is that it, in many cases, will only die when the old ignorant racists die.

How exactly does someone like Carleton get chosen for public office? What an embarrassment the man is to the good city of Norwalk?

grumpy

Re: "How exactly does someone like Carleton get chosen for public office? What an embarrassment the man is to the good city of Norwalk?"

Same way obama has gotten elected. He went for the lowest common denominator.

deertracker

You make no sense and seem to forget Obama has a white mother. Obama could not have won the Presidency TWICE with the black vote alone!

grumpy

Re: "Can you show me where I said or implied anything about race, color about how obama got elected? He asked how the guy got into office. I said the same way obama did. Race and color were not mentioned nor implied. He got into office by being elected by the people, same as obama. Are you saying either man got elected because of race or color? If so please show us your proof of it.

deertracker

Explain the "lowest common denominator" comment. You can TRY to be subtle all you want but you totally failed and now you want to back track after being called out. Nice try, wrong guy

grumpy

Re: "Explain the "lowest common denominator" comment."

Rather simple, uninformed people, are the lowest common denominator... Next objection. Or are you saying mainly well informed people voted both in? Many uninformed people vote along with people who only vote party. Both are lowest common denominators. Those are the easiest groups of people to get votes from, and why advertising budget gets voters. Does that simplify it enough for you to understand derpy?

deertracker

How do you know who was uninformed? Do you analyze voter's intellect after each election? Are you suggesting that the masses are uninformed because they did not vote the way YOU did? Maybe just maybe it is you that is uninformed and part of the "lowest common denominator"!

grumpy

Re: "How do you know who was uninformed?"

As far as you are concerned, I have read your posts on here derpy. That shows it clearly.

reggiewhite92

"false sense of superiority" is spot on

deertracker

Agreed!

Babo

Mr. Newell: How about empathy for our fellow woman? I found the email offensive because it was sexist. However, I do agree with you that Carleton is also a racist.

The irony for me is he was trying to portray black women as ignorant and he only succeeded in portraying himself as ignorant

the unsilent majority's picture
the unsilent ma...

Whats funny is people like dave chappelle and chris rock have made a pretty good living telling these same jokes. Is that ok because they are black themselves? You're 100 percent right about one thing, racism in america will never end. Not because of all these evil white people but a good number of blacks who are just as bad as racist white people. Its a two way street but no other ethnicities seem to think their dislike of the white devil is Indeed racism also. By now im sure someone is saying "man this guy is racist" and maybe I am. In a world where somehow is offensive to be proud of being white I am not afraid to declare im a proud white american. Once upon a time I was in a band. We had a black drummer. We could slam eachother with the absolute worst racist jokes we could think of. Neither of us was ever offended because we knew neither of us told the joke with cruelty or malice in our hearts. Generally we had some pretty good laughs. In a weird way those terrible jokes helped us understand some of the reasons behind the way whites and blacks feel about each other. I considered him a friend. I can take a joke. Even if its degrading joke ment to hurt my feelings I can laugh because at the end of the day I sleep well knowing that I treat people with the same respect they give. If I seem like I dont like you, then you can be certain you probably did something to earn my negative feelings

reggiewhite92

" Not because of all these evil white people but a good number of blacks who are just as bad as racist white people".....

Don't you think that might have something to do with the hot boxes their ancestors were thrown into? The freedoms that were stripped from them? The fire hoses they took to their bare skin? And the never-ending cycle of poverty and doom their history has created for part of their population (i.e. West Baltimore, Detroit, Philadelphia) ???

the unsilent majority's picture
the unsilent ma...

Ok I understand there was alot of mistreatment of blacks. Let.me ask you though, when was the last time you were thrown in the hot box or whipped with a hose? However lets be honest here, a white man at one point stood up and ended slavery. A population that the majority is for the time is still white, elected a black president. So I think the time has come for the white people are holding us down mentality to ease up a bit.

deertracker

Lincoln really only ended slavery to achieve his goal of keeping the Union together. The white guy that so called ended slavery was not one of the 600,000 that died in the quest to end slavery. However it was a white man that killed Lincoln because.........?

reggiewhite92

Well put Damon. Finally, we hear from someone who can actually put this in perspective.

The people on this board and on the original article's board have used appalling language. Many are reprehensibly coming to this idiot's defense. It is reflecting a frightening yet deep-rooted malice for African-Americans that exists in this area. That's right — malice. Councilman claims his words were void of malice. Ha! Just like you've never used the 'N' word, right councilman?

Raoul Duke

Damon, that email just wasn't funny regardless. But to me, the person in the email is so extreme that it's more about that, than their race. I hear plenty of totally white people who I can't understand a word they are saying too. Plenty.

thinkagain's picture
thinkagain

Humor. It is a difficult concept. It is not logical.

Contango

Re: "A convicted felon who has served prison time,"

@ Mr. Newell:

Could the SR possibly be accused of racism for placing the above in your description?

"An eye for an eye will only make the whole world blind." - Mahatma Gandhi

deertracker

Referring to someone accurately is not racist. There are many convicted felons of all colors that better themselves.

Contango

Re: "Referring to someone accurately is not racist."

Per usual, the point went over your head.

The question is: Is he being unfairly singled out by the SR due to his race?

Mr. Newell may want to contact the EEOC. There may potentially be grounds for a lawsuit.

Capice?

deertracker

What point pooh? Your point? How is Damon being singled out? He is simply commenting about the actual so called joke. How is the SR at fault here? I hate to break it to you.......well, not really.... but you do not know everything.

Contango

Re: "Your point?"

My apologies for thinking that you possibly had even one functioning brain cell.

See the tagline at the bottom of the above op-ed piece Bambie?

"Damon Newell is a pressman at the Register and a contributor at sanduskyregister.com. A convicted felon who has served prison time,"

Why is that last sentence even mentioned?

Does the SR list any past 'legal entanglements' of their other reporters and bloggers or only the black ones?

deertracker

Maybe there's different requirements of full disclosure. He's not a journalist.

Contango

I read some time ago that about the only ethnic group one could ridicule without fear of retribution are the Hittites who are extinct.

Can you imagine the howls of laughter in the telling a joke with an opening line that begins with: Three Hittites go into a bar?

mikesee

Racism exists as those who are supposedly discriminated against fuel the fires. Ie "African American"? Do you see people claiming to be German American or Italian American or Mexican American etc? We are American's, period!

santown419

Where do you come from where you don't see people calling themselves Italian amaricans. You get on here all the time and make racist jokes but that's doesn't fuel the fire. You racist are so confused.

deertracker

Very confused and uninformed!

mikesee

Really? Never saw any of our previous presidents stand in front of our country and say "being a German American" I .......... President Obama has on many occasions referred to himself as "African American"

Believe what you will. BTW please repost one thing that I said that was racist.

deertracker

He is an African American. His father is Kenyan and his mother is American. DUH! Just because HE refers to himself in a certain way does not mean black people insist on being called the same. You do not know all you think you know about black people or the way they feel about who they are so stick to what you know which seems to be very little. Not my fault!

mikesee

Jesse Jackson, Sharpton, Oprah, Obama's all to themselves as African Americans and all promote racism.

The Big Dog's back

rush, glenn, sarah, are all WASPS and all promote racism.

santown419

+1 but to bad mike can't see that.

queenjhb

Embrace being an American , oh, I mean North American ,Oh ,United States of American American .oops I mean Native American, Irish American, Russian American, Korean American , Go back to your Ancestral homelands, you are considered an American, lets all embrace this as who we are as a group. Many jokes suck.