March 2nd, 2009
11:21 AM ET
9 years ago

Mayor gone after racist e-mail


A mayor has resigned for sending an offensive e-mail.

(CNN) - A California mayor is stepping down following an outcry over a racist e-mail, CNN's Kara Finnstrom reports.

Filed under: Politics
soundoff (247 Responses)
  1. Splurge

    Is he racist if he didn't know it was offensive? Yes, because they said so.

    March 2, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  2. dan

    what ever happen to jessie jackson's comment a obama? nothing, wonder why

    March 2, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  3. Marie R

    News papers and now a mayor who is a sitting goverment official that black votes help get him where he is now.I have never seen a campaign or election that was so full of racial tones as 2008 and still going into 2009.Sure a black man was elected president and predjudice was expected but these public outbreaks of racial remarks features depicting african americans is unacceptable especially when it is an african amrican that we have as president.So much hate mongering as if the slaves did not suffer enough...and to continue race baiting from people especially that one would think would be people of intelligence.Yes he should have resigned and I hope he leaves with his head down in shame

    March 2, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  4. Mike in Houston

    To Greg in Jax:

    You need Prozak dude.

    March 2, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  5. Steve in Las Vegas,NV

    The Bu March 2nd, 2009 11:55 am ET

    Let me explain something to those who "don't understand" why watermelons could appear to be racist. And let me speak to any other thing that could be taken as such. In this country, HISTORICALLY, my race (blacks/African-Americans) have been stereotyped as those who like fried chicken, collard greens and yes, watermelon. It has been a racist stereotype that has lived on since the time of slavery. Sadly, some in "white America" have seen fit to use these stereotypes as "jokes." This is 2009 and for ANYBODY in this country to say that they didn't know that people of color have been put equated with monkeys, fried chicken and collard greens and, yes, watermelons, is utterly ridiculous and I would really love to know what rock you have been living under. I'm not necessarily a proponent of firing someone who makes a racist remark or gesture. I think that's why we have elections, so we can learn the good, bad and ugly about our politicians and if they are not who they say they are, we gladly elect them OUT of office. All I say, is, WAKE UP AMERICA!!! It's time out for claiming ignorance and wondering why people get so upset. How in the world could this guy not understand why watermelons in front of a White House now occupied by a black family was insulting at the least, is beyond me. He could have picked peaches or pears or some other fruit. No more claiming ignorance people. Everyone in this country should be intelligent enough to know what offends people of other races and religions, so just stop doing this crap. It's about time that this country began to come together, instead of always dividing itself.

    I couldn't have said it better. Maybe you have educated someone who doesn't realize how hurtful this kind of thing really is.
    Thank you

    March 2, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  6. Vickie

    It's all fun and games......until you lose your job! 🙂

    March 2, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  7. Will

    For those who complain that the "thought police" are eroding our rights, let me say this: people are free to say whatever kind of racist things they want in this country, but that does not mean that they are protected from criticism.

    This guy was not prosecuted by any government entity for the email he sent, nor should he be; it is within his rights as a human being to think what he wants. For the citizens of this country to hold each other to a higher standard of tolerance in no way erodes our rights as a free people.

    March 2, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  8. tulsa, ok

    Why didn't he send out an email with cracker all over the front lawn when ALL of the other president move in the white house?

    March 2, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  9. Sharon Kitchen


    March 2, 2009 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  10. AndyL

    It was a stupid and racist email. But then again where was the outrage when the stupid incensitive and insulting cartoons where about Bush.

    March 2, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  11. Renata Nicole

    Thank God he needed to resign.

    March 2, 2009 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  12. Brian Crooks

    To everyone saying "this shouldn't cost him his job," it DIDN'T! He wasn't forced out of office, he resigned in shame. It's not like the cops came and arrested him and told him he had to leave.

    That being said, this is disgusting. Would it be ok for him to send an email with the front lawn transformed into a rice paddy with someone in a rain hat working the fields if we had just elected our first Asian president? It's not time for minorities to "lighten up," it's time for everyone of every race to "smarten up."

    March 2, 2009 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |

    I'm sorry but I think all races should embrace the "jokes" about their culture. I'm Irish and don't mind the alcoholism or baby poppin' jokes that get said about me or my family. As long as they are said as a joke and not trying to hurt me. Was this guy trying to hurt Pres. Obama? I don't think so. We all need to learn that words are just words. They can't kill, mame or hurt unless you let them. Grow a thicker skin or learn some whit and make jokes right back. You never know, you might make someone like me laugh.

    March 2, 2009 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  14. Bridgette-PA

    If the mayor knew he was wrong (and I truly believe that he did)....he did the right thing by stepping down. To anyone who doesn't want to admit racist behavior when it smacks you in the face, you don't need to (we don't need your understanding in order to help us see that we are right). However, you also don't need to comment negatively because it doesn't help.

    March 2, 2009 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  15. Splurge

    Images of watermelons are not being used to disenfranchise blacks. The only thing at play here is hurt feelings and a sense of entitlement that one group has a right not to have its feelings hurt. It's an empowerment grab, plain and simple. A condition in our society that allows one group to claim woe-is-me status over everyone else to the point that it develops the victimhood "compensation mentality" that they must be compensated for everything they feel badly in response to anything. Where were the blacks outraged by Dave Chapelles racist asian commentary on his show? Sitting in front of the screen laughing.

    March 2, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |

    The fact that he thought it was a joke makes it racist! He knew exactly what he was doing.

    March 2, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  17. Old Southern White Woman

    Kevin you are indeed a RACIST you filthy pig and ask your grand mammy if she love black eyed peas ,collards and fried chicken I betcha she does

    March 2, 2009 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  18. yuri

    Racism, to us, seems like a sinister sin surrounded, sometimes, by sensible/senseless skepticism. We have hard time describin' it and ignorin' it, but, nonetheless, it sould be sacrileged as a single most stumblin' block, standin' in the way of sanity.

    March 2, 2009 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  19. R in Maine

    When are y'all going to learn that racism is not an acceptable form of speech any more?

    March 2, 2009 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  20. MoJo

    The Bu....per your comment...."In this country, HISTORICALLY, my race (blacks/African-Americans) have been stereotyped as those who like fried chicken, collard greens and yes, watermelon. It has been a racist stereotype that has lived on since the time of slavery. Sadly, some in "white America" have seen fit to use these stereotypes as "jokes."

    Where was the outcry when the movie "Soul Food" came out depicting the stereotype of African Americans eating certain foods? Who was feeding on that stereotype, and why would those actors being involved in doing so as you state, since it is historically racist? Who is ultimately responsible for perpetuating the stereotypes?.......Everyone owns the responsibility to stop and break the cycle of those stereotypes.

    I think this mayor epitimizes stupidity and frankly, ignorance seems to be the real crime.....we would all hope people who vote for those like him would research a candidate a little deeper before heading out to the polls and not allow people of such little integrity into public office.

    March 2, 2009 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  21. Steve

    In other news, the Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan is claiming that he didn't know that wearing a white hood was racist.

    To my fellow white folks who are whining about this and claiming that everybody's picking on you: grow up. Racism still exists, and it's a stain on this society, and we are the dominant race whether you acknowledge it or not. That doesn't mean you should feel guilty, but it does mean that a little self-awareness and willingness to listen and learn is called for.

    March 2, 2009 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  22. Dorsey from VA

    He that has no transgressions should throw the first stone. Racism will be here as long as the human race exist unless there's some sort of divine intervention. If you're true to yourself, then you realize that all of us have things that we do or maybe views that we should be ashamed of; however, public officials are supposed to represent the public and may not have the same privacy of a private citizen. I don't know the contents of the email but I do know me. I'd like forgiveness and a chance to make things up if I did something that effected someone else in a negative manner. Can we do that for someone else if he asks for forgiveness and a chance to make right his wrong doings? No one is perfect!

    March 2, 2009 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  23. jon,philadelphia

    I really thought we had gotten past this kind of stuff. It is sad when all we should be feeling is proud of how far we have come. Instead, we have a public official acting like an idiot. Hopefully there are only a few of these left.

    March 2, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  24. rene ohio


    March 2, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  25. David

    Thank God we live in America where we have forums like this one to state our position. Mine is that the photo was in poor taste and the guy made a dumb mistake. However, to all those who have sent him up the river to his doom via hate comments, I sincerely hope you feel that this would be in poor taste no matter whom the sender. What I'm sick of on both sides of the race fence is that blacks can joke about blacks, whites can joke about whites and blacks can joke about whites – all without recourse. But whites joking about blacks – that's purely racist? I don't get that. I'm so glad I have friends of all backgrounds and we have fun with life, with our differences and mostly our similarities. We need to maintain our sensitivity, but we really need to lighten up.

    March 2, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
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