5 impact efforts that could reshape Baltimore — Technical.ly
Meeting of the Minds — Baltimore magazine
Club Charles is back — City Paper
Let’s say you were retired from the Anne Arundel state’s attorney’s office, and then were offered the opportunity to go back working for the state’s attorney part-time while continuing to collect 100 percent of your pension. And let’s say five years later the county realizes it made a mistake, has been in fact overpaying you, and sends you a bill for $115,672.50.
Longing for the days when bigoted public servants felt comfortable expressing their prejudices? Well those days were back for a moment in Anne Arundel and Baltimore County this week.
Cpl. Charles “Butch” Brenner, of the Anne Arundel County Police Department, is the subject of an internal investigation after officers of color complained about an offensive email he sent to several of his colleagues. The email called for “the closing of the country’s borders, the establishment of English as the nation’s only language and the institution of mandatory drug screening for everyone receiving government welfare assistance.” The email also included the warning that coming presidential election will determine whether “liberty will survive” in this country.
Last week Anne Arundel County Councilman Dick Ladd, 71, referred to enemy combatants in the Vietnam War as “gooks” during a council meeting, immediately defending it as a “technical” term. And early Saturday morning ESPN’s mobile website briefly sported the Lin-excusable (sorry, I am contractually obligated to make at least one of those puns) headline “Chink in the Armor,” referring to an uncharacteristically sloppy performance by the New York Knicks’ Taiwanese-American point guard Jeremy Lin, ending a much hyped winning streak. (ESPN acted swiftly, firing the writer responsible.)
Now on the one hand, those two isolated incidents don’t necessarily imply some kind of anti-Asian conspiracy across America. Each offensive act was committed by a racially insensitive “lone gunman,” if you will. And even in 2012 you have to expect that every now and again you are going to happen upon a stray racist. But the fact that these people thought their over-the-line comments were going to be accepted by their respective audiences is mind blowing.
I mean, are we really going to have to learn tolerance one race at a time? Does every minority group have to stage a separate march on Washington before we are going to retire their racial slurs? Can’t whites just take what they learned from Martin Luther King and the civil rights movement and apply it to Asian-Americans?
A protest of Ladd’s comment has already been planned for today. Come on, white America, you’re embarrassing me. Let’s show a little initiative here.
At a council meeting on Thursday, Anne Arundel County Councilman Dick Ladd, 71, casually used the word “gook” in an aside describing his military service in Vietnam. After the utterance sent a shockwave of gasps around the council chambers, Ladd explained that the word is the “technical term for North Koreans” and left it at that. I guess they gasped because he was speaking over their heads?
We’ve seen this kind of thing before. Remember when Michael Richards got “technical” about African-Americans at the Laugh Factory in 2006? Or when Tracy Morgan recently got very “technical” discussing homosexuality? For some reason people were outraged. These guys even had to go on the apology circuit regretting their use of “specialized jargon.”
A warning to Councilman Ladd: it’s unfortunate, but there are plenty of people who just aren’t going to understand you if you get too “technical.” And for some reason (who knows why!) they might even get offended.