On April 28th, the Buffalo News’ editorial page offered up its recommendations in the upcoming school board races. One of the most intensely watched races is that of developer and tea party gadfly Carl Paladino. While the News expressed support for Paladino’s proposals for fixing the school board – many of which are totally reasonable – it would not endorse him.
But we won’t endorse Paladino, either. He insists that he is not racist, but he shows no comprehension that the emails he forwarded not only suggest that – and powerfully – but that they would be painful and insulting to thousands of minority families and students in the district he wishes to serve.
While he is, in some ways, the candidate this district has needed, we cannot lend the weight of this page to a candidate who still insists those vile emails were funny. No one is perfect and it is always necessary to allow people their failings, but in life, there are some bright lines. Paladino crossed this one.
Nevertheless, it seems all but certain that Paladino will win this race; the South Buffalo neighborhood supported him overwhelmingly in his 2010 campaign for governor. If he does win, it will be his chance to prove that he is not racist.
He could go a long way toward showing that by acknowledging the despicable nature of those emails.
To be clear, I read that editorial very carefully – it’s not condemning Paladino for sending the emails, but instead for not acknowledging that they were disgusting, misogynist, and racist. There’s no question he sent them around, but he can’t just say, it was stupid, it was wrong, I’m deeply embarrassed and sorry. He’s like Otto from A Fish Called Wanda.
So, what does Paladino do? He blasts some more emails out calling the News and its editorial page writer Dawn Bracely names.
That’s not enough, though. Paladino pal Larry Quinn had to chime in, too.
Both of these guys need to take some remedial reading comprehension classes. Perhaps a lesson in humility wouldn’t hurt, either. It must be nice to be so righteously indignant over a perceived slight. It’s also easy to see all the answers for Buffalo’s failing schools from atop a mountain of white privilege.