What local radio personality Gary Craig did last Saturday at the Latino Fest was stupid.
It wasn’t malicious, or vindictive, or mean-spirited. It was just stupid. And it was racist. But even the racism wasn’t meant to do harm—it was meant to be funny.
And though you may not agree with me, this actually could have been funny if Mr. Craig had not set himself up to be above it all. If, for instance, one of the festival attendees had taken him to task on camera about his inability to differentiate different countries’ flags, we would have had a good laugh. Of if he had sampled food he couldn’t pronounce and kept asking for a hot dog, there’d have been some self-effacement and self-parody, and again we would have had a good laugh.
Bit that wasn’t his approach, and now he is forced to fall all over himself apologizing. As he should.
I haven’t looked at Facebook or Twitter, but I’m sure Mr. Craig’s defenders are lamenting the political correctness of Hartford’s mayor and Latino population. But if you want to know the difference between political correctness and decorum, there it is. Donald Trump continually decries political correctness, but what he’s really doing is promoting boorishness—condoning the rights of yahoos and Neanderthals to exercise their presumed right to “honesty” while the rest of us concern ourselves with others’ feelings. Gary Craig crossed that line—a line that is there regardless of whether we choose to see it.
I doubt if Gary Craig would consider himself a racist, but I also think that we—all of us—mark out our own societal parameters and feel comfortable within them. Unfortunately, sometimes we miscalculate—sometimes we screw up. Maybe we can tighten those parameters a little—not allow ourselves quite so much leeway when it comes to race. As much as it hurts to admit, when we do stupid things that have to be considered racist, we can’t claim that we’re divorced from our actions.