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Two Very Different Responses from Republican Leaders On Racist Emails

Two Very Different Responses from Republican Leaders On Racist Emails

This week, two Republican leaders in their state parties were caught forwarding racist emails, and the responses to the scandals couldn’t have been more different.

In Virginia Beach, Republican Party Chair Dave Bartholomew forwarded an extremely racist joke comparing African-Americans to dogs while telling a story about trying to apply for welfare benefits.  The email was forwarded from the same account he used for official party business.

Within a matter of 24 hours, Bartholomew, under fire from members of both parties, resigned his party position.  

By Tuesday morning the heat was becoming too much for Bartholomew to handle. Second District GOP chair Gary Byler told the Virginian-Pilot that Bartholomew “agreed to resign because the e-mail had become a distraction to the Nov. 2 election.” He offered this to the paper by way of explanation for the racist email:

The e-mail was dated March 15 and sent from the address that Bartholomew uses as party chairman. Bartholomew forwarded it without reading the contents when “he was first getting familiar with the Internet,” Byler said.

Byler assured the paper that Bartholomew is “not a racist.”

In another instance this week, this time in California, an Orange County Republican Central Committee member sent her own racist email, this one showing a picture of a family with ape heads photoshopped on, with President Barack Obama’s head on the youngest, with the subject “Now you know why no birth certificate.”

Marilyn Davenport, the activist who sent the email, is utterly unappolegetic, and doesn’t believe anyone should be bothered by what she sent.  NBC Los Angeles reports:

However, Davenport responded to the Weekly [who published her email], “Oh, come on! Everybody who knows me knows that I am not a racist. It was a joke. I have friends who are black. Besides, I only sent it to a few people — mostly people I didn’t think would be upset by it.”

Davenport reportedly is looking for identity of “the coward” who supplied the email to the Weekly and is blaming the media for “making this a big deal.”

Did Bartholomew or Davenport have the right reaction?  Are these emails something that activists should condemn or resign over, or are they being made into too “big of a deal” by the media and others?  And why does the number of these emails being sent around appear to be growing?

 

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Photo by Chuck Kennedy (Official White House photo) (The Official White House Photostream on Flickr) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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157 comments

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9:34PM PST on Feb 9, 2012

i don't understand how she believed that no one would be up set of what she did. of course people would be upset its wrong on a moral level and yet she is in a potion of power in this country. with people like this taking the lead how are the people going to be represented with such racist comments which belittles people i believe that she should resign her position since she is not going to be thinking of the peoples future in a clear way.

12:34PM PST on Feb 1, 2012

Stupid Ms. Davenport. How dumb can you get. Obama's mother is white and his father is black. Is she calling both of them Apes?? Some people feel so low and discouraged with themselves they have to look at other people who look different from them and try and insult them. Well the joke is on you Madam. You are one of the dumbest, dumb people I've read about in a long time!!

6:25AM PST on Jan 31, 2012

Patricia S.: FDR saved this country you corn-fed, Teabagger moron! You and the rest of the Teabaggers have had your heads up Rush Limbaugh's butt for so long your brains have been melted by his gas. And as for the GOP, I don't know which type upset me more: The ones who spew racist garbage or the ones who enable such behavior by staying silent! As for the one who said he was 'just getting used to the internet', that explanation 'doesn't pass the smell test'. When you make an excuse, at least make a plausible one. The lameness of that excuse surpasses 'my dog ate my homework'. I swear, if one of those jerks gets caught f**king a goose, he's liable to say he was just fluffing up a pillow. I've never seen a bigger pile of manure, and I do organic gardening!

4:11PM PST on Jan 30, 2012

All reasonal civilized persons should act. At least bartholomew realized that what he did should get him in trouble. On the other hand davenport has no remorse, no conscience, It shows a complete lack of knowledge of what is acceptable in our society.

4:10PM PST on Jan 30, 2012

All reasonal civilized persons should act. At least bartholomew realized that what he did should get him in trouble. On the other hand davenport has no remorse, no conscience, It shows a complete lack of knowledge of what is acceptable in our society.

2:00PM PDT on Apr 30, 2011

If she can't understand how egregious her behavior, and her defense of such behavior, is, she has no business getting paid to disseminate her views.

She is an insensitive ignoramus.

10:30AM PDT on Apr 29, 2011

The article states: "Davenport reportedly is looking for identity of "the coward" who supplied the email to the Weekly and is blaming the media for "making this a big deal."

Instead of looking for the person who exposed her for what she is, which is something we have a right to know because she IS an elected official, she should be looking for the source of the offensive email and trying to do something about stopping such bigotry and hate from going viral. How pathetic can you get? She won't admit guilt, she won't apologize, and she won't resign. She's simply look for the person who blew her in. Ms. Davenport should be the poster girl for a "know your candidates before you vote" campaign.

9:34AM PDT on Apr 29, 2011

I hope she stays in her position. She is a perfect representative of the Republican Party - a racist piggie. I can only imagine the screaming we would have heard if a Democratic official had sent around a picture of GW Bush photoshopped onto a chimp. We would have heard for DAYS about "respect for the Presidency" etc.

It's one thing for a political cartoonist to put out a cartoon, quite another for a party official. Plus you can't escape the racist stereotype of comparing blacks to apes -it's not a "neutral" image as far as historical connotations so you are not going to get a neutral reaction. Same thing if you had a cartoon of GW Bush being lynched vs Obama being lynched - it's NOT a neutral image which is "just the same" if applied to a white or black person. Would be totally disgusting in either case, of course.

6:12AM PDT on Apr 21, 2011

"Again, this is no different that the Bush as a chimp pictures. It is the height of hypocrisy to change your standards, and pretty racist to say it's OK for a white president to be portrayed as a chimp but not a black one. "
__________________________________________________

THIS wasn't racism. It was personal commentary on G.W.

The e-mails were didainfully racist, with or without the "Halloween costumes" (pointy hats & bedsheets).

1:15PM PDT on Apr 20, 2011

when in politics...first rule.....keep your mouth shut!!!

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