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Black Kids Called Monkeys, Obama Delegate Quits

 
 
Butrflynet
 
  1  
Reply Thu 10 Apr, 2008 03:54 am
Ah, here are some more details:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/chi-carpenter-trustee-both-08apr08,0,568283.story

Quote:
Ramirez Sliwinski said she saw two boys climbing a tree next door to her home about 1 p.m. Saturday and asked them to stop. The mother of one of the boys called police after Ramirez Sliwinski referred to the children, ages 8 and 9, as monkeys.

Ramirez Sliwinski, who is Hispanic, was issued a citation alleging that she violated a village ordinance prohibiting disorderly conduct. The ordinance bans conduct that disturbs or alarms people, and one of the boys told police he was scared by Ramirez Sliwinski's comment, Police Cmdr. Michael Kilbourne said.


Quote:
The mother told police her son and a friend were playing in a tree in front of their house in the 0-99 block of Sparrow Road when Ramirez Sliwinski came outside and told them to quit playing in the tree like monkeys, Kilbourne said.

Ramirez Sliwinski, who has been an opponent of efforts by some on the Village Board to crack down on illegal immigrants, said she meant no racial undertones by her comment.

She said the parents were outside, but she intervened because she was concerned about the boys' safety and because the small magnolia tree was being damaged.

"I went over to the kids and told them to get out of the tree," Ramirez Sliwinski said.

The father of one of the boys told her it was none of her business, she said, and "I calmly said the tree is not there for them to be climbing in there like monkeys."

There has been friction between Ramirez Sliwinski and her neighbors in the past. She said she has told them to turn down loud music and has instructed them on how to properly use the village's new garbage bins.

Ramirez Sliwinski said she intends to contest the citation in an effort to force the neighbors to talk to her.


Then there's these series of reports:

Fox News

Quote:
A Barack Obama supporter has given up her role as a pledged delegate after the campaign found "unacceptable" her description of her neighbor's children as "monkeys," which she says she called them because they were climbing in trees.

Linda Ramirez-Sliwinski, an a Hispanic trustee for the Village of Carpentersville, Ill., was accused of racism following the interaction with her African-American neighbors.

"Given the incident, she is stepping down and will be replaced as delegate," Ben Labolt, a spokesman for the Obama campaign told FOXNews.com, calling Sliwinski's remarks "unacceptable."

The campaign discussed the incident with Ramirez-Sliwinski, who decided to step aside as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in August, Labolt said.


The Examiner reports:

Quote:
Apr 9, 2008 5:34 PM (11 hrs ago) AP
CARPENTERSVILLE, Ill. (Map, News) - An Illinois woman who referred to black children as "monkeys" said Wednesday she is staying on as a delegate for Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.

The Obama campaign had said Linda Ramirez-Sliwinski was stepping down, but she says that was never her plan.

"I was elected by the people to represent Senator Obama, and I will continue to do what the people want," she said.

...

The Obama campaign said Wednesday it respects her decision to stay on as a delegate and believes she didn't intend any offense by using the word "monkeys."

"It is clear the incident was a misunderstanding," Obama spokesman Ben LaBolt said.


From the Daily Herald

Quote:
Carpentersville Trustee Linda Ramirez-Sliwinski, who Saturday likened her black neighbors' children to monkeys, did not quit her post as a Barack Obama pledged delegate after all, she said Wednesday.

"It was never my intent to step down," Ramirez-Sliwinski said. "It was a misunderstanding with one of Obama's staff."

Ramirez-Sliwinski was elected an Obama delegate in the February primary.

Ben LaBolt, a spokesman for the Obama campaign, on Tuesday said the trustee had decided to relinquish her delegate post because of the flap with her neighbors.

But that declaration was reversed when the trustee had a change of heart late Tuesday evening after multiple discussions with campaign officers, LaBolt said Wednesday.

"Ramirez-Sliwinski is an elected delegate, and we respect her decision to represent the campaign at the convention," LaBolt said. "It is clear that the incident was a misunderstanding."

However, Ramirez-Sliwinski said Wednesday she never indicated she would step down and that there was miscommunication.

"It was just a misunderstanding," Ramirez-Sliwinski said, "just like it was with my neighbors."

...

Georgia Lockett, whose child was one of those in the tree, has vowed to involve the Rainbow PUSH Coalition if Ramirez-Sliwinski challenges the ticket.

Lockett, who initially called police to the scene, had no comment Wednesday about the Obama campaign's stance on the incident.

The Rev. Walter Blalark, president of the Northwest suburban chapter of Rainbow PUSH, accused the campaign of sweeping the racial issue "under the rug."

"It's almost like Ralph Ellison's 'Invisible Man.' Here we are again becoming invisible because our issues are not important," said Blalark, who is also pastor of Elgin's Living Gospel Church of God in Christ.

Obama campaign officer LaBolt declined to address that claim.

"I've already given you my comment for the story," he said.

Dametta Stewart, whose children were also targets of the trustee's remark, could not be reached for comment.




An editorial in the Daily Herald

Quote:
One of the few things that seem quite certain is that Ramirez-Sliwinski was issued a ticket for disorderly conduct after she told her neighbor's tree-climbing children to "quit playing in the tree like monkeys."

That, and the fact that the neighbor children are black and Ramirez-Sliwinski is not.

The children's parents say the remark was meant as a racial slur. And they've vowed to involve the Rainbow PUSH Coalition if Ramirez-Sliwinski contests the disorderly conduct ticket.

Ramirez-Sliwinski, meanwhile, says she meant nothing derogatory by the expression, that it's the kind of thing people often call children and that she intended no racial implication by the words.

It also seems apparent that she and her neighbors have been at odds repeatedly over the years.

Beyond that, what do we know? Only that this altercation and the response to it has mushroomed way beyond reasonable proportions.

Certainly, one matter that calls out for explanation is the ticket issued against her. What happened in the Saturday encounter that would justify a citation for disorderly conduct? On the surface, yelling for children to get out of a tree wouldn't seem to merit the charge. Did something else take place? If so, police ought to reveal it. If not, we question the judgment involved.

The heart of the matter is the charge of racial overtones in a suburb widely perceived, fairly or not, as a home to all kinds of ethnic prejudices.

Was Ramirez-Sliwinski's remark intended to carry racial overtones? Who in the end can know? We've haven't seen, in our coverage of her as a village trustee, anything to indicate a prejudice on her part toward blacks. And her support of black presidential candidate Barack Obama seems to contradict the claim.

At the same time, it's understandable that the family on the receiving end of the comment may have heard it as prejudicial, especially if it was said in the heat of anger.

Could it be, in the end, a case of two cultures that genuinely hear one expression with two different sets of ears?

At the moment, this is a heated controversy. But it offers the opportunity for growth and understanding.

Rather than ending in a destructive divide exacerbated by political correctness, we hope Ramirez-Sliwinski and the community use it as the beginning of a constructive dialogue on race, sensitivity and perspective.

If it succeeds at that, a nasty neighborhood dispute actually could end in some greater good.

0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Thu 10 Apr, 2008 06:55 am
Butrflynet wrote:
Quote:
The Rev. Walter Blalark, president of the Northwest suburban chapter of Rainbow PUSH, accused the campaign of sweeping the racial issue "under the rug."

"It's almost like Ralph Ellison's 'Invisible Man.' Here we are again becoming invisible because our issues are not important," said Blalark, who is also pastor of Elgin's Living Gospel Church of God in Christ.

Oh fer cryin out loud. Because a woman told some kids to quit playing in a tree like little monkeys, it's all like in Ellison's book, and black people "are again invisible" and their "issues are not important" unless she's punished? WTF?

Just goes to show ya that there's uptight, tight-arsed people prone to rhetorical hysteria everywhere, in all political groups.
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Thu 10 Apr, 2008 07:06 am
Butrflynet wrote:
Quote:
At the moment, this is a heated controversy. But it offers the opportunity for growth and understanding.

Rather than ending in a destructive divide exacerbated by political correctness, we hope Ramirez-Sliwinski and the community use it as the beginning of a constructive dialogue on race, sensitivity and perspective.

If it succeeds at that, a nasty neighborhood dispute actually could end in some greater good.

Oh, and if the overarching. long overdue dialogue on race proposed by Obama is going to be interpreted as a need for yet more endless wrangling and soul-searching about what words should or should not be used because they might possibly not be "proper", then what an effing waste that would be.

You've already had those prim-minded PC debates about the exact use of words and terms for thirty years. But thats not where the real problems lie. It's a red herring. Long overdue debates about enormous social, race-related issues of educational disadvantage, the urban underclass, the disproportional number of blacks sent to jail more quickly and longer than whites for similar crimes -- all questions of enduring, systemic racial discrimination -- have for too long already been sidetracked in a kind of racial version of puritanical manners debates. Prim middle-aged women discussing whether to use word A or B like a century ago they might have discussed table manners.

Bullshit. It's exactly that kind of nonsense that's turned so many working class whites off from the whole discussion about racism and discrimination -- rightly, many people reason that if the biggest problem facing blacks is whether somebody calls them this word instead of that, then the whole thing cant be that serious an issue anymore. But thats not true: there's real, massive problems still out there that blacks in particular, especially poor blacks, face. Thats what Obama's call for a new dialogue about race should be about, not about endless sillinesses like this about who might or might not be offended if someone uses this or rather that word or expression. Please.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 10 Apr, 2008 07:11 am
Yeh.

Thanks for the additional info, Butrflynet. One thing I don't get -- is this person currently an Obama superdelegate or not?

My reading of the situation thus far -- she was generally patronizing (in a harmless but annoying way) to the neighbors in question, and their annoyance with her crystallized around the "monkeys" comment.

The ticket is ridiculous though.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 10 Apr, 2008 07:13 am
Just delegate, not superdelegate.

This sure seems to indicate she still is one, though (from Butrflynet's post):

Quote:
Apr 9, 2008 5:34 PM (11 hrs ago) AP
CARPENTERSVILLE, Ill. (Map, News) - An Illinois woman who referred to black children as "monkeys" said Wednesday she is staying on as a delegate for Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.

The Obama campaign had said Linda Ramirez-Sliwinski was stepping down, but she says that was never her plan.

"I was elected by the people to represent Senator Obama, and I will continue to do what the people want," she said.

...

The Obama campaign said Wednesday it respects her decision to stay on as a delegate and believes she didn't intend any offense by using the word "monkeys."

"It is clear the incident was a misunderstanding," Obama spokesman Ben LaBolt said.
0 Replies
 
Bi-Polar Bear
 
  1  
Reply Thu 10 Apr, 2008 07:14 am
IMO this is racism but used in a different way... mainly for a specific group of whites to show how enlightened they are using the easiest path of least resistance. It's lazy, self righteous and stupid. And it doesn't accomplish a damn thing, it just stirs the pot.
0 Replies
 
Chai
 
  1  
Reply Thu 10 Apr, 2008 07:46 am
yitwail wrote:
on the other hand, she's not qualified to be an Obama delegate if she didn't know that monkey is not an appropriate term of reference to African-Americans.



Ok, now this annoys me.

Sorry snood for bringing up your name again, but you're the only example I can think of....

If Snood can light heartedly refer to him and his sister in his childhood photo as monkeys, why can someone else, black or white? BTW, it was a totally adorable picture, much glee in their eyes.

Are you implying that only a black person can call another black person a monkey? Like the N word?

Bottom line is, the woman didn't mean a damn thing except that the kids horsing around where acting like a bunch of monkeys....high spirited, active, and doing something risky.

What if she had said "hey you kids, stop horsing around" Would we be having this discussion?

Would, for instance, butterfly be saying why didn't she go to the neighbors door, etc. etc.? Sure that woman could have, or should have, but by that time, a kid could have been on the ground with a broken arm.

The woman could have said....stop climbing those trees like cats, or squirrels....quit making that noise, you sound like a pack of dogs......watch it or you're going to fall out of that tree like an apple (I'd rather be called an intellignet monkey than a brainless piece of fruit), stop running around like herd of elephants, charging rhinos, a bunch of chickens, jumping around like a bunch of fleas, squaking like a bunch of hens.

Why are those expressons, and more, ok, but not monkey? Same thing.

This is a really stupid discussion.
0 Replies
 
Bi-Polar Bear
 
  1  
Reply Thu 10 Apr, 2008 07:49 am
careful chai.... you'll be drummed out of the enlightened club...
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 10 Apr, 2008 07:51 am
you've become a sanctimonious jackass since this campaign started to heat up . . .
0 Replies
 
Bi-Polar Bear
 
  1  
Reply Thu 10 Apr, 2008 07:53 am
who me?
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 10 Apr, 2008 07:55 am
No . . . your dog . . .
0 Replies
 
au1929
 
  1  
Reply Thu 10 Apr, 2008 07:58 am
True the entire discussion is nonsense. However I have one question. When was freedom of speech repealed in the US.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 10 Apr, 2008 08:02 am
I suppose that issuing a misdemeanor citation for disturbing the peace based on the offense one's words give to others could be alleged to equate to Holme's "no right to shout fire in a crowded theater" principle of the limits on free speech.

I ain't buyin' it, though . . .
0 Replies
 
Bi-Polar Bear
 
  1  
Reply Thu 10 Apr, 2008 08:02 am
Setanta wrote:
No . . . your dog . . .


well if by sanctimonious you mean someone who doesn't see a racist, a misogynist, a hater, an uniformed person behind every tree who doesn't fall in lockstep with my ideas... then I happily cop to that.

Not like I'm insinating that you display any of these characteristics ... I'm not.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 10 Apr, 2008 08:11 am
That's exactly the kind of crap i'm talking about . . . you badly need to lighten up . . .

I don't deny your right to dislike Obama . . . i don't deny your right to allege that the race issue is being over-played . . . but i find comments such as . . .

Quote:
careful chai.... you'll be drummed out of the enlightened club...


To be over the top.

Kiss kiss, lover boy. Take a chill pill, relax, kick yer shoes off, put yer feet up . . .
0 Replies
 
Bi-Polar Bear
 
  1  
Reply Thu 10 Apr, 2008 08:12 am
well it was SUPPOSED to be over the top.... and don't kiss me in front of the fellas...
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 10 Apr, 2008 08:15 am
Sorry . . . i lost my head for a moment . . .
0 Replies
 
Bi-Polar Bear
 
  1  
Reply Thu 10 Apr, 2008 08:18 am
next time.... please..... just an unobtrusive pat on the fanny okay? And I'll try to do better...
0 Replies
 
rabel22
 
  1  
Reply Thu 10 Apr, 2008 10:25 am
Does this mean the next time someone calls me a honkey, a term from the 50's or 60's, I can call a cop and have him issue them a ticket for whatever?
0 Replies
 
Bi-Polar Bear
 
  1  
Reply Thu 10 Apr, 2008 10:27 am
rabel22 wrote:
Does this mean the next time someone calls me a honkey, a term from the 50's or 60's, I can call a cop and have him issue them a ticket for whatever?


no.
0 Replies
 
 

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