A few days ago, there happened to be one of those horrible ‘awkwardly tug at your own collar’ moments.
Someone fairly important said something fairly not good.
Ever been to Maine? Neither have I.
The most I knew about that place was that it was decorated with gorgeous woods and mountains and country roads (Henry David Thoreau).
But now I know something else: the governor is a little bit racist.
This may be a heartbreaker for anyone who assumes racism goes away once you make it above the Mason-Dixon line. You won’t find a hundred percent hippy-dippy liberal sunshine and rainbows, even if you go all the way to the top of New England.
“But Mr. Boddie, what did the governor say/do that would direct any of us to such a conclusion about him?”
Maine Governor Paul LePage (R) spoke at news conference where one of the topics addressed was the growing heroin problem. According to Maine Drug Enforcement Agency Director Roy McKinney, Maine, along with other northern New England states, is being targeted by urban dealers for “obvious reasons”: A dealer can sell a gram of heroin in Maine for as much as three times what it would bring in New York.
The governor went right ahead and blamed drug dealers from New York.
“…dudes with names like D-Money, Smoothie, and Shifty, who have been rushing up to Maine from the Big Apple with their poison. Then they flee back to the city after they “impregnate a young white girl.”
My name is T. Michael, and at school, most people affectionately refer to me as “T. Money.” That sounds awfully close to “D-Money,” who is allegedly a drug dealing white girl inseminator.
Smoothie and Shifty. Those aren’t even criminal-sounding. They sound like two cartoon squirrels or something.
Ep. 1: Smoothie and Shifty Save the Trees
Ep. 2: Smoothie and Shifty Take Manhattan
Ep. 3: Smoothie and Shifty Go Nuts
Ep. 4: Smoothie and Shifty IMPREGNATE YOUR NIECE
Anyway, the bad part was obviously the “white girl” comment.
Yes, he really said it. And this immediately followed:
If you were Gov. LePage, what would you do at that point?
I would probably shut my fat mouth at let the PR people attempt to dig me out of that hole.
A spokesman, Peter Steele, did indeed try.
“The governor is not making comments about race. Race is irrelevant. What is relevant is the cost to state taxpayers for welfare and the emotional costs for these kids who are born as a result of involvement with drug traffickers. His heart goes out to these kids because he had a difficult childhood, too. We need to stop the drug traffickers from coming into our state.”
Wonderful save, Steele.
We should probably be honest with ourselves; LePage was definitely making a comment about race. And this is reportedly not the first time.
He has said he would tell President Obama to “go to hell” and told the Maine N.A.A.C.P. to “kiss my butt,” a comment he says was “mischaracterized.” He has compared the I.R.S. to the Gestapo, later apologizing.
Okay, there are plenty of people who don’t like the president. I’m not going to call racism on that one. (However he was reported to have said Obama “hates white people, but whatever.) But his contempt for the NAACP seems strange. He clarified that he just doesn’t care for special interest groups, but…he met eight times with a group of radical extremists associated with the Sovereign Citizens movement (a group of conspiracy theorists who think the federal government is plotting against Christians).
Now, we know the drill.
Someone says something racist, so they’re forced to come out and make some kind of public apology.
“I made a one-word slip-up. I might have made many slip-ups. I was going impromptu, and my brain didn’t catch up to my mouth. Instead of saying ‘Maine women,’ I said ‘white women.’ I’m not going to apologize to the Maine women for that, because if you go to Maine, you’ll see that we’re essentially 95 percent white.”
Oh, I see. It’s okay that he said “white girl,” because the majority of Maine girls are, in fact, white. It was an umbrella term. No racial undertones to see here, folks. Move along.
He did apologize to the “Maine women” despite saying he wouldn’t. He was also asked if he was suggesting that D-Money, Smoothie, and Shifty were black. He responded with a safe “I don’t know.”
Most of the public figures that make “apologies” for things are only doing so because they were told to as a public relations strategy. It’s difficult to take them as sincere.
To quote my high school band teacher,
“Don’t be sorry. Just don’t do it.”
LePage is known for speaking his mind. He is indisputably blunt. Usually, I admire that in a person. I would much like to see more of it, in some respects.
Racially charged comments are already alarmingly normal among everyday citizens; they don’t need to be normal in politics. Racism goes far beyond regular bluntness, and I would NOT like to see more of it.
we’re all human.
(And, obviously, stay away from heroin.)