Here’s how Carl Paladino demonstrates to the world that he’s not a racist, as he has asserted many times.
Speaking recently to Artvoice, the alternative weekly newspaper in Buffalo, he said he would like first lady 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.”
The comment was in response to a series of questions the newspaper posed to local people about their wish lists for 2017. It may have been the most vile of this vile man’s remarks, but it wasn’t the only one.
Speaking of President Obama, he said he hopes: “Obama catches mad cow disease after being caught having relations with a Herford.” Juvenile doesn’t begin to cover it.
The problem isn’t simply that Paladino is disgusting, though he surely is that. He is also a member of the Buffalo School Board, and in that capacity is a role model and community leader in a district that is 78 percent minority, including 51 percent who are African-American.
Crude remarks like these have no place in our daily conversations. But coming from an elected public official, they are completely inappropriate. Paladino should be trying to raise the level of discourse rather than trying to settle petty grudges.
It’s not the first time Paladino has shown his true colors. Earlier this year, he likened Obama to a raccoon in the basement. He refers to the “damn Asians” at the University at Buffalo and defends the virulent racist outbursts of Joe Mascia, then a tenant representative on the Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority.
That’s after Paladino was elected. Before that, he was forwarding racist emails, including some about Obama. He was sending pornographic emails, as well. He defended himself by asking, who doesn’t forward emails? But it was the wrong question. It should have been, “Who associates with people who send these kinds of messages?”
Yet he insists he isn’t racist. His defense of his routine vulgarity is that he is not politically correct. To be sure, he’s not, but that’s an insult to the politically incorrect. He’s crossed a line into overt, intolerable racism, taking his place in the long and ugly history of comparing African-Americans to apes. And those who continue to support him risk being tainted by the stink.
Who is going to speak up for the district’s African-American students? Who is going to explain to them about how grown-ups become hateful, about the meaning of hypocrisy and the ugliness of lies? Paladino can cry all the crocodile tears he wants that he cares about the district’s black students, but his mean-spirited tongue shows where his stunted little heart is.
This is the man who, six years ago, thought he possessed the qualities to be governor of New York, but who barely won re-election this year to the School Board running against an 18-year-old student.
Here’s a clue: During the 2010 gubernatorial campaign, even the undeniably conservative New York Post was calling him “crazy Carl.” It’s not that he is politically incorrect, it’s that he can’t help spouting intolerant rubbish. He must be roundly condemned.