Bad Neighbor Policy

I've got to agree with Advance Indiana on this one. The Obama campaign has dumped as a delegate Linda Ramirez-Sliwinski, a village trustee in Carpentersville, ...
by | April 9, 2008

I've got to agree with Advance Indiana on this one. The Obama campaign has dumped as a delegate Linda Ramirez-Sliwinski, a village trustee in Carpentersville, Illinois. Her crime? Calling a couple of neighboring kids "monkeys."

On Saturday, two neighbor children were playing in the tree next-door to her house.

Ramirez-Sliwinski "came outside and told the children to quit playing in the tree like monkeys. The tree was not on Ramirez-Sliwinski's property," Carpentersville Police Commander Michael Kilbourne said.

Ramirez-Sliwinski admitted she used the word "monkeys," but said she did not intend racism. She said she was only trying to protect them from falling out of the tree.

The mother of the alleged monkeys -- who has feuded with Ramirez-Sliwinski in the past -- called the police, who slapped R-S with a $75 fine for disorderly conduct.

Advance Indiana comments:

This all smells of a vindictive and jealous neighbor who simply played the race card to destroy a neighbor with whom she has had past differences. This kind of race baiting only serves to foster more racial hostilities.

I would agree with that. Yes, I recall Howard Cosell getting in trouble for his broadcast comment, "look at that little monkey run." And, yes, I recall that in the most politically damaging racial slur of recent times, "Macaca" meant monkey.

But -- they were playing in trees. Is it necessarily a racist turn of phrase?

This whole story smacks of excessive sensitivity. For one thing, if your neighbor called your kids anything you found derogatory, wouldn't you get all up in her face, without resorting to calling the police?

And if your neighbor's intention was to protect the kids from injuring themselves, wouldn't you maybe thank her, before getting too much up in her face?

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