Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Obama Dumps Delegate Over Monkey Comment

I had to read this article in the Sun-Times today twice to make sure it said what I thought it said. Linda Ramirez-Silwinski is a Carpentersville, Illinois village trustee who was elected as an Obama delegate to the Democratic National Convention. This past Saturday, two neighbor children were playing in a tree next to her house when she "came outside and told the children to quit playing in the tree like monkeys." The children involved were African-Americans. Their mother didn't like the comment so she called police and got Ramirez cited with a $75 ticket for calling her children monkeys. Ramirez insists she was not making a racially derogatory comment. Quoting her, the Sun-Times writes:

"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.


Michael said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael said...

The only racists in this story are the woman who complained (give HER the ticket) and the Obama campaign people who kicked her to the curb. Well, they reap what they sow. Liberals are the biggest racists in this country, because race is the first and often only thing they see in everything. So sad.

Randy said...

I'm a white male and I refer my to my children as my little monkeys. I had an incident at a gas station where someone thought I was calling a african american a monkey and I had to explain that I was talking to my children. They seemed to take it in half belief. I guess some people where raised around people using the term monkey as a derogatory reference but keep in mind that a lot of us never have and refer to our little climbers and leg huggers as our little monkeys. Should we forced to stop using the term or should others get a softer shell.


Sir Hailstone said...

So much for that children's song "Three Little Monkeys" - jumping on the bed - one fell off and broke his head - Momma called the doctor and the doctor said "No more monkeys jumping on the bed".

Of course one slang derogatory term used towards a particular ethnic group - "porch monkeys".

To the subject of this post - if she said "jugando en el árbol como los monos" she might have gotten away with it!

Concerned Taxpayer said...

The more liberals gain power, the more "thought police" we are going to have.
Folks, this country is is bad, bad trouble.

MissouriDemocrat said...

Well I see all this Liberal bashing, why not call it like it really is, Liberals didn't do this, one mean vindictive woman did. I am a fiscal conservative, social liberal and even I am smart enough to recognize if you ever disagree with a black person immediately the race card is played. We have a lot of reverse racism in this nation, black against white. I will grant you that the Democratic Party of the 60's fostered it through entitlement programs, civil rights legislation that was over extended to apply in areas that it need not apply and some kind of social consciousness that is a lie.

Joanne J said...

This story is beyond disturbing. I'm utterly shocked that the cops actually gave her a ticket and disappointed that the Obama camp made her resign as a delegate. If I was her, I'd seriously reconsider who I voted for.

Anonymous said...

She should have used one of Wright's phrases... like "garlic noses" then she would have been safe, oh wait..I forgot it's not just a matter of what words are allowed it's also who is allowed to use them. Hmm.. Maybe if Obama becomes President he'll put together a Word Task Force that will set some rules and guidelines on whats allowed to be said and by whom.

Anonymous said...

Hate crime laws: Such a wonderful thing.

iPOPA said...

This is too funny. I wasn't there, so I can't say what this woman's intent was. And neither can you all. You all assume you KNOW because YOU use "monkeys" in a non-derogatory way. But you don't know her history. This might not even be an isolated incident. You just know what you've read in this story, and you believe it. And therein lies the racism component, in my opinion.
A black person is NEVER credible when they say something is racist.

I think it's stupid to penalize people for "hate speech," but people have to live with the consequences of that speech. People might not "know" that it's unacceptable to call black people Negroes either (or Macaca or Schvartze), but do you think they'll get a free pass? I doubt it. People who WANT to be respectful learn how to do so. People who don't, bitch about liberalism and how unfair it is that we have to call people what they want to be called (as if that's such a huge burden).

Advance Indiana said...

If you're going to play that game ipopa, then why isn't it possible that the real racist was the black mother who couldn't stand the Hispanic woman next door who had done better than her and was on the village council. Remember, the Hispanic woman had fought an ordinance targeting Spanish-speaking people as the council's only Hispanic member.

Sir Hailstone said...

"Hmm.. Maybe if Obama becomes President he'll put together a Word Task Force that will set some rules and guidelines on whats allowed to be said and by whom."

That's called the Newspeak dictionary.

Doubleplusungood and all that.