"Breaking News Playboy just offered Sarah Palin $1 million to pose nude in the January issue. Michelle Obama got the same offer from National Geographic."In the past several months Atwater City Councilman Gary Frago has sent at least a half-dozen e-mails to city staff and other prominent community members containing racist jokes aimed at President Barack Obama, his wife and black people in general.Frago said he sends all kinds of joke e-mails about every one from Jews to Portuguese (Frago is of Portuguese descent). These e-mails were just meant for friends, not public officials, he added. Frago said any e-mails were sent via personal accounts.Black community leaders called the e-mails outrageous, revealing that American society has not left behind some of its racist past.While recent racial barriers have been broken -- such as the election of a black president -- and most outright racial and prejudice is not acceptable in public, local civil rights activists and others believe the e-mails illustrate the racism that lingers behind some doors assumed to be closed in Atwater and America.
No, we have not left behind our racist past . . . no more than we have left behind our anti-Semitic past or anti-Catholic past or anti-immigrant past, etc. Did not the President of the United States made a joke about his bowling skills at the expense of kids in Special Olympics?
It is part of the nature of us humans and consider every joke you have ever heard . . . someone, somehow, is the butt of it. That is why we are the animal that laughs - because it keeps us from devolving into despair and hopelessness. Humor keeps us alive, whether subtle or outrageous.
Such jokes will always continue to be circulated, whether among members of the targeted group or not. I have to ask, however - Councilman Frago has been in office since 2000. How is his record? Do people think he's doing a good job?