Do's and Don't For Sending Racially Insensitive Emaill Forwards

Earlier this week, one of the mayor's in Orange County was busted for sending this photo to a list of people in his email contacts, with the following caption:

"No Easter egg hunt at the White House this year"

Since Mr. Grose appears to be in need of some guidance on how to conduct himself, I offer my handy list of tips for what to do when you get caught sending a racially insensitive email:

1. Stop sending racially offensive emails. No matter how funny they are, the little chuckle you get at the cost of denegrating another race is not worth it.

2. Don't defend yourself by saying how many black friends you have, and that you all joke around all the time.

3. Don't point out that if a black person sent this, no one would mind. First of all, yes, people would still mind. Second of all, in the words of my mother, "two wrongs don't make a right".

And most importantly:

4. Don't pretend like you had no idea that the photo had racial overtones, and that you had never heard of the watermelon stereotype. It makes you sound like a moron who has been living under a rock. Or a liar. Everyone has made some racially-insensitive mistakes. It doesn't make you a cross-burning racist to own that, and to set an example of someone willing to admit their own racial bias. The only thing worse than being a jackass is not taking responsibility for being a jackass. In the words of Avenue Q: everyone's a little bit racist. You can't change it until you acknowledge it. And Mayor Grose, clearly it's time for you to change.

Oh, and Mr. Grose, remind me to send you this joke I heard about a Mexican and a Jew who walk into a bar. It's HILARIOUS! Not that I understand the racist overtones or anything . . . and neither will you. If it offends someone, we are completely innocent of any wrongdoing. But you can forward it to all your friends!!!


  1. Anonymous10:53 AM

    Oops! That's a "Mayorial Fail" if I've ever heard of one. Yikes!

  2. WOW! I love this post. My future MIL forwarded a terrible e-mail and got upset when her son called her out on it! The crazy thing is that we were wondering if we should go see Avenue Q...we definitely will now! Love the Blog!

  3. Can I make this my new favorite quote?? "The only thing worse than being a jackass is not taking responsibility for being a jackass." I just might quote you on my favorite quotes on FB! :)

  4. I must be the moron living under a rock -I had never heard of this before!

  5. Ok, I'm with Lee. I honestly have no clue what this is. I'm even more embarrassed because my son is black and I don't have a clue what all those watermelons mean. I feel really dumb about right now, but I need to ask because I need to be aware.
    dawn (who is blushing....)

  6. I'll share a little info on the background of the stereotype. I do believe that there could be some in a younger generation who have not heard this stereotype. But Grose is 65 years old - he lived through the negative imagery that often portrayed this stereotype. And he forwarded the email - I don't think he would do that if he didn't understand what was being depicted.

    "Since the earliest days of plantation slavery, the caricature of the dark-skinned black child, his too-red lips stretched to grotesque extremes as they opened to chomp down on watermelon, was a staple of racism's diet. Over time, the watermelon became a symbol of the broader denigration of black people. It became part of the image perpetuated by a white culture bent upon bolstering the myth of superiority by depicting the inferior race as lazy, simple-minded pickaninnies interested only in such mindless pleasures as a slice of sweet watermelon.

    Like all racial and ethnic stereotypes, this one's destructive properties have, through the decades, stretched far beyond mere insult. It has helped poison self-esteem, pushing some people to avoid doing anything that seemed too "black," lest they be lumped into the company of Uncle Remus, Aunt Jemima, or some other relative of racism."

  7. Great post! Great comment! Thanks Kristin!!


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