I've got this news from a number of sources, but this emailed article says it best:
Democracy may be messy, but this was unexcusable
Article Last Updated:01/10/2007 05:49:03 AM PST
DEMOCRACY is messy, indeed. But what happened at the Paramount Theatre on Monday is unacceptable.
Prior to Ron Dellums being publicly sworn in as Oakland's 48th mayor, the council selected its leadership. When Ignacio De Le Fuente was nominated for another term as council president, the audience at the Paramount erupted in jeers.
There were those in the crowd who heckled, some saying they were "sick" of De La Fuente, and a chant of "no more Nacho" —
referring to a nickname — could be heard.
A healthy "boo" or vocal expression of displeasure in this democracy is fine, but some in attendance crossed the line.
Racial slurs were tossed by some in the audience. Someone went so far as to mock the council president's accent and urged him to "go back where you came from."
That kind of venom is unacceptable, even in a messy democracy.
That some would wrap their criticism of De La Fuente in a hateful flow of bigotry and insensitivity is mind-boggling. It illustrates how far we still have to go as a city and as a society.
The road map for berating De La Fuente should have been based solely on his performance and conduct as council president, not on his ethnicity. A veteran of the game, De La Fuente understands politics can get nasty, but he admitted after the rancor he felt racially attacked and "disappointed" race came into the equation.
Thankfully, Mayor Dellums demonstrated leadership and stood up, calling for civility to settle things down. Disagree with De La Fuente, sure. Vote him out of office, if you desire. But show De La Fuente the respect his service and title deserves. The scene marred what was otherwise an uplifting day for Oakland.
Racial insensitivity has no place. It should be eradicated along with the other viruses inflicting this city, such as poverty and crime. And for those who carry hate in their hearts, be gone. Oakland does not need you. Oakland does not want you. We support becoming the model city our new mayor envisions. The rest has no place.
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