It’s a day that ends in the letter Y, so there must be a Republican somewhere sending racist e-mails. Oh, yes, yes there is.
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.
In all, the Sun-Star obtained seven e-mails that Frago sent from October 2008 to February 2009 from an anonymous source.
Some compared Obama to O.J. Simpson while others suggested that “nigger rigs” should now be called “presidential solutions.”
Perhaps the most overboard e-mail was sent on Jan. 15. It read: “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.”
Frago admitted sending the e-mails, but showed no regret. “If they’re from me, then I sent them,” he said. “I have no disrespect for the president or anybody, they weren’t meant in any bad way or harm.”
Of course, in post-racial America, this is absolutely true. This isn’t even racist, it’s just reflecting what all the kids are doing with the Facebook and the Twitter these days (#niggerrig is the hottest topic on Twitter, don’tcha know). Absolutely no disrespect could be found in comparing someone to a murderer and/or declaring that a black woman is either tribal or an animal. And actually, they left out part of the nude posing e-mail, which read: “I say this to comment on the ridiculous expenses that dead-tree magazines will rack up just to get some precious eyeballs on their dying medium, plus Michelle Obama puts severed heads on poles around her fire pit.”
Of course, nobody who received these e-mails remembers a single thing about ever having received them, and just deleted them without even reading them. Because, of course, when you’re a public employee, what you do is receive e-mails from fellow employees and sent them straight to the delete folder without looking. Somebody didn’t think this defense through. Then, of course, there are the people that Frago received the e-mails from, who find absolutely nothing racist about them at all:
Rieger, who sent two e-mails to Frago, one about Obama taxing Aspirin because “it’s white and it works” and the otherl about Michelle Obama posing in National Geographic, said he had no regrets. “My question is what’s wrong with them?” he said. “They are poking fun at somebody. If it makes somebody laugh I don’t see anything wrong with it.”
Rieger said the jokes he sent had no racial meaning. “As far as I’m concerned the e-mails need no explanation,” he said. “I sent them out, I’m not concerned with it,” he said.
Rieger also said he had no idea what Frago’s constituents might think of the e-mails. “I’m sure if I was black I’d have a different idea of what was funny,” he said. “I got black friends that I would tell these jokes to and they would roll on the floor in laughter.”
Rieger said that he is not a racist.
I always shudder when I hear the term “post-racial”, because the biggest beneficiaries in 2009 of declaring ourselves a “post-racial” society are Rieger and Frago. Post-racialism’s advocates usually fall into two broad camps: minority advocates who want us to move past the restrictive effects of race on society, and racist white people who are really fed up with having to restrain their awesome jokes about how Sasha Obama crip walks to school every day. Post-racialism can only work with a full and complete understanding of race’s effects on society coupled with a conscious effort to remedy those effects; anything else is just providing cover to racism.
I will guarantee you that at some point since these e-mails were discovered, Frago thought to himself that the real racists here are the black people making this about race. And that is the current promise of post-racialism: turning blatant racism into a debate over why its targets are so sensitive.
Oh, and did you hear the one about why you can’t trust conservative white people with e-mails? Yeah, because Consumer Reports. I’m so funny!