Republican Assistant to Black Sends Racist Email

This reminds m44presidents1thumbe of a scene from “All in the Family,” where Archie Bunker is talking to Lionel Jefferson about the names of some city councilmen, and Archie is confounded by the “white-sounding” names of some of the black councilmembers, and vice-versa.  They get to someone named “White,” and Lionel says, “Oh, no, he’s white.  Sometimes it just works out that way.”

In this case, Tennessee State Senator Diane Black’s legislative aide, Sherri Goforth, confounds Archie’s expectations anew by sending a racist email to some folks who weren’t in on the joke.  From ThinkProgress:

Wonkette notes that a racist e-mail was sent out by a legislative staffer for Tennessee GOP state senator Diane Black. The staffer, Sherri Goforth, e-mailed this composite picture of the country’s 44 presidents, which represents President Obama with only a set of eyes:

44presidents1

Luckily, Nashville is Talking was able to contact Goforth and clear the whole thing up:

When I asked her if she understood the controversial nature of the photo, Goforth would only say she felt very bad about accidentally sending it to the wrong list. When I gave her a second chance to address the controversial nature of the email, she again repeated that she only felt bad about sending it to the wrong list of people.

“I went on the wrong email and I inadvertently hit the wrong button,” Goforth told NIT. “I’m very sick about it, and it’s one of those things I can’t change or take back.”

Worst apology ever, and worst apology this week.  Now, I want to know who was on the list she meant to send it to.

I tried to contact Black’s office, but have not received a return call yet.  Unfortunately, the Senator’s contact person is listed as “Sherri Goforth,” so I will cease holding my breath.

This is not the kind of press that the Republican Party needs, so I predict a necessarily strong, if delayed, reaction to this.  Reviving arcane racist imagery is definitely not the way to grow the party.  Sherri Goforth may well be told to go forth without her job.

On the other hand, this is the work of a staffer to a state legislator, a very small fish.  The fact that this, and similar incidents, occur only at the muddy bottom of the GOP pond is worth noting.  Whether the mud sticks to them will depend on how they dredge that pond.

The Tennessee GOP has not returned calls for comment.

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16 Comments

  1. Things like this also occur in Democrat circles as well. The difference is that no one is interested in pointing them out. Many of the Democrats I know personally would send an email like that just as quickly as many of the Republicans I know.

    It seems, from the last few sentences of your article, that you are insinuating that this only happens in the GOP.

  2. Nope. Not at all. Political reality is that this kind of thing sticks to the GOP, fair or not.

  3. Maybe John Ziegler can get a petition going to have the woman fired.

  4. Awww shit…PCL, you beat me to it.
    Drats. Foiled again!

  5. Ummmm Jeff…..Hellooo.
    Don’t think there’s too many ‘darkie’ jokes going around in democratic circles.
    Especially right now!

    Ya’ know LBJ used to make racist jokes off the cuff.
    Then he legalized and supported the civil rights movement.
    Go figure.

  6. It was just too easy, sekanblogger. I’ll let you have the next one. LOL!

  7. […] Christopher calls this the worst apology of the week.  So far, it might be the worst apology of the […]

  8. PCL, I got more snark for sweet Sarah here
    http://iggydonnelly.wordpress.com/2009/06/16/palin-accepts-apology-kinda-sorta-i-guess/

  9. Tommy…

    I agree this is far more likely to stick to a GOP candidate, but it’s even stickier from a regional perspective.

    More people are going to remember this as a “Tennessee” redneck thing, which is a shame. Things are not perfect here by any stretch, but this is not Bull Connor’s South anymore.

    Too often, the rest of the country uses prejudicial imagery of the old South as a way to assuage guilt or even deny practices in their own backyards.

    I had several discussions with Dr. Fred Shuttlesworth. I once asked him why he left Birmingham for Cincinnati in the early 1980s.

    “They have bigger issues there,” he said.

    As long as the Bensonhursts and Cincinnatis of the world continue to sneer at old Birmingham, we will never overcome this insidious closet racism that hides in every community. It’s an exercise in pointing the finger elsewhere, and avoiding painful self-examination.

    (Have you signed the Birmingham Pledge? http://www.birminghampledge.org/ )

  10. As a Republican I wish those in a position to represent the GOP would realize that they have to hold themselves to a higher standard. The press and left are looking for anything to reinforce the perception that the right is nothing but racists. I appreciate edgy/controversial humor, but there’s only one way to look at something like that. When it’s used to break down barriers and humanize people it is one thing, but in this instance it does nothing but detract from the substantive criticisms of President Obama and reduce the real problems many have with the president to a superficial disdain for his skin color.

    The left claims moral superiority on this issue, though they have their share of skeletons in the closet, and this kid of crap only strengthens that false perception.

  11. sticky, well said! kudos.

    off topic, check out these famous friends.
    http://shawnphillips.wordpress.com/famous-friends/

    of course I’m a fan. With friends like that how could it be bad?

  12. I got a similar e-mail joke photo thingy like this, from a friend who is a black democrat. She also sent me the texts on Nov 5 about whites reporting to cotton fields and encouraged me to pass them on. While I didn’t pass them on, we had a good laugh about it. I had the same joke going with an ex of mine, also black. He said I glowed in the dark, I said his eyes did. However horrible something is in the wrong hands, and however tasteless, a joke is a joke. Where you decide to tell that joke, and who you tell it to, is what gets your feet muddy.

    She should not have sent this from a work e-mail (I’m only assuming she did). But it would be conforming to the idea that racist jokes are only funny if you make them about your own race if I said that this woman couldn’t tell the joke, but my black democrat friend could.

    If we’re going to criticize race-based jokes as applied to African-Americans, then whitey jokes and hispanic jokes (etc) should also be shamed on a public level. However, jokes between friends are just that: jokes.

    As always, great post, Tommy.

    Much love.

  13. There’s a big diff in our jokes. We tend to be absurdist and a bit self depricating which is unavoidable with the democrats. Like mine about Jan 21 being ‘shove whitey off the sidewalk day’.

    Ike, I think Long Island would make Nashville look like a latte sipp’n liberal bastion. Hell, I live in northern CA and our local paper had to wall off the comment sections due to all of the racist comments.

    Have I mentioned how much I hate the black background on the comment box? That’s as racist as I get. Oh, that’s not true. I’ve got real long hair which I sport generally because it pisses people off and I’m not a real ‘people person’. That being said I get a lot of hard looks from black guys my age and older. This pisses me off because they weren’t what I had in mind to piss off. One of these days one of ’em will send me over the edge and if they’re obviously ill or riding a walker or something like that I’m just gonna pop him in the jaw.

  14. the retouched photo collection with bozo(reagan), lurch(bush1), hillary(bill clinton), and hitler(bush2), was funny.
    had the staffer done that one, then she could have left the eyes in the dark photo in for obama and it would have been hilarious.
    her crime was that she wasn’t witty enough, and that is unforgivable.

  15. According to State Senator Diane Black in her interview with CNN, this email did not come from the republican party but an independent source. And, it does not hold the views of her office. http://www.newsy.com/videos/e_hatred

  16. Nobody alleged either of those things, to be clear.


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