Artvoice.com recently published an article asking many influential people from Buffalo what they hope to see in the new year.
One of those interviewed was Carl Paladino. Paladino is a member of the Buffalo School Board of Education from the Park District. He has been in the center of many news articles regarding his xenophobic and crude comments made about people of color.
He is quoted saying that he hopes "(President) Obama catches mad cow disease after being caught having relations with a Hereford. He dies before his trial and is buried in a cow pasture."
On Dec. 23, The Buffalo News published an article stating that Paladino had "called Obama the worst President in the history of the United States."
President Obama has been the country’s president for the past eight years. He was elected for two terms, which means he was what the country wanted. These are the facts, not some outrageous comments made by someone blinded by hatred and prejudice. The facts cannot be ignored. The facts are the dividing line between real and imaginary.
In addition to the cruel comments made about President Obama, Paladino also made racist and disgusting comments about the first lady, Michelle Obama. In the same Artvoice article, Paladino is quoted saying, "I’d like (Michelle Obama) to return to being a male and let loose in the outback of Zimbabwe where she lives comfortably in a cave with Maxie, the gorilla." Wow.
Paladino’s comment is only two things: racist and sexist. Racist because he compares an African-American person to a gorilla (this "joke" has been made before regarding black people); and sexist because he (and many other conservatives) implies that Mrs. Obama does not fit their vision of what the first lady is supposed to look like.
Michelle Obama is a strong, tall, confident and well-educated woman. Paladino’s remarks are full of racist and sexist sentiment that no well-mannered person would express.
These are not Paladino’s first crude and racist remarks. On June 9, 2015, The News published an article quoting Paladino condemning "damn Asians" and other "foreigners" at the University at Buffalo for getting a discounted tuition.
But there are facts to refute that statement. After these comments were made, UB said that "99.2 percent of the school’s international students attend on nonresident visas, and therefore cannot declare residency" and get tuition assistance In addition, Diverseeducation.com states, "765,000 foreign students on U.S. campuses … they contribute $22.7 billion to the (U.S.) economy."
Foreign students benefit the U.S. economy and make it a more diverse country.
According to textbooks, Native Americans are the only native people in this country. Paladino (as well as President-elect Donald Trump and his supporters) do not consider themselves foreigners, even though their ancestors came to America from foreign countries. They believe that the only foreigners are people of color.
People who support the idea of making "America great again" are still stuck on the ideas of the past.
Paladino is a supporter of Trump. But even the Trump camp found Paladino’s comments in Artvoice repugnant. One of Trump’s press team members stated that Paladino’s comments were "absolutely reprehensible, and they serve no place in our public discourse."
Paladino attended St. Bonaventure University. After he made his racist comments, his alma mater called Paladino’s comments "reprehensible and in complete contradiction to the values of St. Bonaventure University."
What have we all learned at school? I remember learning in kindergarten the Golden Rule: "Treat others the way you want to be treated." We can all learn from each other to accept people of different backgrounds. Money cannot buy knowledge, only life experience grants us that.
Differences need to be embraced, accepted and (most importantly) celebrated.
Paladino needs to resign or should be removed from the position he holds. He lacks the fitness to maintain his seat on the Buffalo School Board. If he is not aware of the Golden Rule, chances are that he doesn’t treat others with respect. He is an embarrassment to the city, and we, the people, should take action to rid Buffalo of the disease known as "small-mindedness."
Elise Yu is a freshman at Williamsville East High School.