Colored people marching

Matt Westerhold
Jan 6, 2014

“They're marching, Charles,” my mother told my father in one of the earliest exchanges between them I can recall.

“Who's marching?” he asked.

“The colored people.”

The venue was downtown Sandusky, a central shopping district in the mid-1960s. The cause was the civil rights movement. The march likely occurred around 1968, perhaps after Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination.

Referring to blacks as colored people was standard language; it wasn't offensive. By the 1970s, however, the words “blacks” or “African Americans” had replaced the term in common usage.

Other words to describe blacks and practices designed to oppress minorities were common in the period, and before then even harsher words and harsher practices were employed.

In the mid-60s it was also pretty standard to hear Polack jokes (making fun of people from Poland), jokes about blacks, women and supposed humor about Jewish people, people with developmental disabilities or physical handicaps. It was all pretty standard fare, but society changed, and by practice, effectively outlawed public displays of bad humor.

There was “white Philco” in Sandusky where white people were employed to build radio tubes and later television tubes, and there was “black Philco,” where blacks worked doing the same thing at the same wage.

The segregated factories represented considerable progress for civil rights, jobs and equal opportunity for blacks. Most people alive today don't even know it was that way, or what it meant or how racism and prejudice challenged the lives of those in the minority in those days.

Change is generational. That seemed obvious on Friday as a reporter Andy tracked down a story about a Norwalk councilman's racist email he forwarded to some city officials and friends. The email, with spelling and grammatical errors, is presented as if written by African-Hispanic school girl telling about winning a spelling bee.

“I gots a 47 percent on the spelin text and 38 points for being black, 10 points for not bringin drugs to class, 10 points for not bringin guns to class, and 15 points for not getting pregnut during the cemester. It be hard to beat a score of 12 percent,” the email reads, in part.

“In hindsight, I can see how it can be interpreted as racist... but that wasn’t my intent when I sent it. I thought it was humorous,” Carleton told the Register.

That's a straight-up answer. He simply did not see how offensive the email is and saw humor in it rather than discerning how it demeans others. In hindsight, it seemed Carleton really wanted to take another look and understand how he could have misinterpreted the email, or found it funny.

It will be interesting to learn how that turns out and whether it will reflect the same view from some some city officials who already weighed in with their thoughts.

“It's unacceptable. It was a poor choice,” first-term mayor Rob Duncan reacted.

“I was shocked,” city law director Stuart O'Hara said. “I didn’t care for the joke, if that’s what it was suppose to be.”

Comments

Contango

@ Mr. Westerhold:

You may want to ask the following questions of those on your staff (including yourself):

Have you EVER used the "N" word?

Have you EVER lied?

Contango

Re: "it seemed Carleton really wanted to take another look and understand how he could have misinterpreted the email, or found it funny."

i.e. Mr. Carleton is a "thought criminal."

"The horrible thing about the Two Minutes Hate was not that one was obliged to act a part, but that it was impossible to avoid joining in." - "Nineteen Eighty-Four"

Let the political purges begin.

The Big Dog's back

If he would have kept it to himself instead of passing it on to people in the office you might have a valid point. But he did and you don't have a valid point.

Contango

Re: "But he did and you don't have a valid point."

And you've NEVER forwarded or written ANYTHING that could be even remotely construed as racist, sexist, homophobic, religious or ethnically insensitive?

Sanctimoniousness has reached putrid levels - my point.

The Big Dog's back

Not to co-workers.

Dr. Information

Contango did you get the memo. If its not a work, it AIN't be racist.

deertracker

I really have no major problems with the e mail itself but Carleton should know better and be better simply because of who he is. You cannot deny that pooh!!!!!!!

grumpy

You really have a problem if you think a politician should be better than his constituents. If you believe that gov't is made up of "we the people". Sending it on was stupid. Why it was stupid is many things. Depends on what you are most offended by, most scared by, or think you can make a political point by stating. It was stupid for many reasons, depending on the reader, as to which it was, to them. We all have different priorities and levels of tolerance, as has been shown by everyone's response. I think it was stupid for many reasons. Almost as stupid as clinging to one single reason being the only or main reason.

MattDamon

Nobody is calling Carleton a "criminal", but his conduct (sending racially demeaning "jokes") is clearly detrimental to his job (for which he was elected by his community to perform) to represent his constituents.

He betrayed the trust of his community and he should be called out for it. The whole "Oh, it was only a joke!" routine is not an acceptable excuse for the disgusting remarks made by a public official. Hopefully the SR and the citizens of Norwalk continue to call him out.

Contango has repeatedly called into question the character of the SR and its employees and I'm struggling to see how that is relevant to the issue at hand.

Darwin's choice

So, by your logic, Obama has betrayed the trust of the people, lying through his teeth,etc, so.....thats ok with you??

Whenever you want to start proceedings for getting rid of him, speak up!

santown419

That was bush. Ask the families of the soldiers dead from the Iraq war. So by you logic by her s betrayel of trust that's ok with you. You obviously make bad choices.

donutshopguy

"Change is generational."

Yes, Matt you are correct. My grandfather was raised with segregation. My father was raised with a tolerance. I was raised with an understanding. My children were raised to be colorblind. My grandchildren don't see color at all.

On the other hand, this generational change is not always positive. I was raised that if you didn't work you had no food, clothing, home and money. My kids generation expects the government to provide for them. God only knows what the future will be for my grandkids.

deertracker

Sprinkles, do you really think parents tell their kids "relax Timmy, you don't need an education or a job, the government will take care of you"? Your grandfather being raised in segregation, your father raised with tolerance just doesn't jive. Segregation was about more than just separate restrooms and it was those that were being oppressed that were EXTREMELY tolerant. Kids of today do think they are entitled to what YOU have earned and they expect to get it from you because of the way they were raised. All of our grandkids will have to create the future they desire.

Dr. Information

Yes deer they do. Google and youtube would be your friend.

deertracker

If that is your source for information you are just sad!

BabyMomma

Explain why kids raised on welfare tend to remain on welfare? My 17 year old niece couldn't understand why I didn't just go get food stamps. "Why do you use your cash for groceries. My mom just uses her food card." That is the mentality of the youth today. They only know what they see. And trash tends to run with trash so all her friends parents have food stamps as well.

deertracker

It appears your family is ghetto fabulous.

whattheBucks

Totally agree dunkin donut guy !!

donutshopguy

deer,

Yes, I do believe some generational entitlement families live under the notion that it's the government's responsibility to support them.

My kids don't believe they are entitled to what I have. They were raised that their life was not my responsibility. They are self sufficient and responsible adults.

My premise in regards to color was that through generations the general attitude has changed for the better. Do you agree or disagree?

deertracker

In regards to color, I agree but it really hasn't changed that much. I know some believe that because our President is black, things are all good now but in reality things have gotten worse. It is what it is and Black people know this!

BabyMomma

I agree things have gotten worse since we got our president. It's about time the Kool aid wore off!

donutshopguy

deer,

So you agree there has been change? It's just not at the speed you wish? What would make you a happy camper?

deertracker

Please don't put words in my mouth! I have no wish. It is what it is!!!!!!!!!

donutshopguy

deer,

Always disagreeing with me, but when ask, you offer no opinion how to make it better.

So with your philosophy of "It is what it is" than you should have had no problem with segregation in the 1960's and having it remain the same today.

I expected more of you.

deertracker

Like I said. Please don't put words in my mouth. That is so right wing of you. Life in America TODAY is what it is. I can't change how anyone feels. However, in regards to segregation, I can change the way that makes me feel if I had been affected by it. I don't feel that minorities are outright oppressed but the struggle continues. Unless you have walked in an oppressed persons shoes you are not qualified to judge or act as if you know what is in one's mind. You love the word generational. Oppression is also generational subtle or not.

donutshopguy

Please list the people that are oppressed? Are we talking oppression by nationality? color? wealth? Bet I fit under one of your list as I grew up. Let see.

Oppression is generational. That was my point in regards to my family.

JERRY from SANDUSKY

Get off your lazy Rear and be a part of society

huronguy

Deer tracker it's that more an more whites are tired of the white guilt and the cry of racism almost every time something goes wrong in the black community. We want the blacks to take the plank out their eye and start holding their own accountable. Blacks have every chance to be successful but it's about accountability and personal choices. White America is tired of helping out all the other ppl in the world, for what? So you can keep complaining and complaining about how and the white man is so bad. How about the blacks stop depending on the whites so much and focus on their own. I'll tell you why because it's so much easier to cry and complain and have everything handed over. The blacks have never had it so good and it's nothing they have done on their own it's what the white man has given them if it's so bad move to Africa and get back with me on how bad you have it, then you'll realize how your own sold you into slavery. Complain complain cry cry that's what most African Americans are all about. Stop the crying and work harder think better. It's you that are holdng yourself back. If we went back to segregation we'd really see how far the blacks would go. NOWHERE.

The Big Dog's back

Coming out of lily white huron county. There isn't even a black ant in Utopia county. Racism will never die with people like you.

deertracker

Exactly what I was thinking! Sad part is Huron is in Erie County.

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