"Linda Ramirez-Sliwinski said she saw the kids playing in the tree and didn't want them falling out of the tree and getting hurt. She said she calls her own grandchildren 'monkeys,' " Kilbourne said. The mother of one of the children did not see it that way, noting she and Ramirez-Sliwinski have clashed before.
"She felt it was racist because of the fact the children were African-American," Kilbourne said.
Now, putting the comment in context--the children were playing in a tree--must we automatically assume Ramirez' comment was racist? For the record, my own mother sometimes referred to me and my siblings as monkeys as young children when we were acting up. Well, that's all the Obama campaign had to hear before it forced Ramirez to step down as a delegate. "Told of the incident Monday by the Sun-Times, Obama's campaign called Ramirez-Sliwinski and persuaded her to step aside as a delegate because the campaign felt her remarks were 'divisive and unacceptable,'" the Sun-Times writes. "Given the incident, she is stepping down as a delegate and will be replaced," said campaign spokesman Ben Labolt. The village president on the village board is standing behind her according to the Sun-Times article:
The only Hispanic on the board, Ramirez-Sliwinski has been a strong voice for Carpentersville's 40 percent Hispanic population. She and Village President Bill Sarto opposed an English-only proposition and an ordinance to crack down on illegal immigrants.
Opposition leader Judy Sigwalt said, "We are elected officials. We are in a position where people look to us for leadership and professionalism. We have to be diplomatic at all times."
Sarto said he hopes Ramirez-Sliwinski will plead "not guilty" to the $75 charge and stay on the board: "Frankly, I don't see a law that was broken here. She's a good neighbor. She went over to caution the children to be careful not to fall out of a tree. We have a trustee who has been convicted on four counts of domestic battery and refuses to resign from the board."
The Obama campaign should be ashamed for throwing Ramirez under the bus before she even had a chance to defend herself. So much for innocent until proven guilty, Mr. Law Professor. This all smells of a vindictive and jealous neighbor who simply played the race card to destroy a neighbor with whom she has had past differences. This kind of race baiting only serves to foster more racial hostilities. The article doesn't mention what ordinance Ramirez violated, but I'm betting it is a hate crimes law. The misapplication of such laws feeds into the hands of the opponents who claim hate crime laws infringe upon a person's free speech rights. You could certainly make that argument in this case.