I want to apologize to the COLAB members who took offense to my recent, admittedly strident generalizations about racism.
I feel strongly about the subject, I denounce it in all cases, and I’m not sorry about calling it out when I see it. However, I don’t believe broad-brush strokes are helpful in making the case. I can and will do better, because it’s an important subject that needs to be talked about openly and honestly.
Over the past few years, I have received emails that appeal to the basest forms of bigotry and racism in regards to President Obama. I wish these were an aberration, and that the disturbing and demeaning imagery about the President’s race — and the related rhetoric about his origin of birth – were not part of a larger trend. But that doesn’t seem to be the case.
To me, criticizing the President and his policies is one thing; but attacking our country’s first President of African heritage by suggesting he is not a native born American, or by resorting to very familiar racist imagery, should not be tolerated by any American. These attempts at humor or forms of political disagreement are dehumanizing, and damaging to our nation.
It may be of interest to know that Two weeks ago, a member of the California Republican Party leadership, Ken Barnes, who is black, wrote a very thoughtful viewpoint published in the Sacramento Bee. In it, Mr. Barnes announced his departure from the GOP because he could no longer tolerate the racial stereotyping of the President that had become all too common.
In his viewpoint, Mr. Barnes wrote, “As with any large organization or group, there will always be people at the fringes who hold views that are not representative of the body.”
I wish I had been so eloquent and tactful in my own comments, both in an email to state Senator Sam Blakeslee and in a follow-up conversation with the press as it related to COLAB.