In Wildwood, N.J., somebody apparently thought it would be funny to post a sign in front of a small apartment building reading, “Parking for whites only.” Is it a stupid prank or is it “the worst thing anybody can do to anybody”?
We can all agree that racism is a bad thing. Right? But the U.S. culture has become so hypersensitive about the issue that it seems most “right-thinking people” go into overreaction mode when it comes up, because everyone seems to be competing to see who can be the most non-racist.
The latest example of this hyper-overreaction comes from a Philadelphia television station and the mayor of Wildwood, N.J. Here’s what happened:
A black couple have owned a small apartment complex near the beach in Wildwood for 11 years. They’ve apparently had minor problems with neighbors who don’t care for the apartments, although it’s not clear why. (Homeowners never like renters and apartment complexes, so I assume it’s just the standard reasons.) This past Wednesday, someone placed a sign on a pole in front of the apartments saying, “Parking for whites only.” Instead of taking the paper sign down and going about her business while muttering about the insensitivity and stupidity of some folks — which would have been reasonable — the owner took the sign to city police, who are investigating the “crime.” Mayor Ernie Troiano apologized on behalf of the city and told the TV station:
“This is the worst thing anybody can do to anybody. We never had problems with this neighborhood. For someone to do that, that’s a sick person.”
Really? This is truly the worst thing anybody can do, Mr. Mayor? Do you understand that this is just four ignorant words on a paper sign? How does it compare to killing someone? How about stealing people’s money? Is it worse than rape? Would you rather worry about someone posting that sign or about military aircraft dropping bombs on your home when you’ve done nothing to provoke it? Is the sign worse than police wrongly raiding a home, terrorizing people and killing your animals, then just saying, “Oooops,” afterwards?