Mrs. YoMama Controversy: Not Again
It should be common sense; here are some helpful hints for how to avoid forwarding racist emails.
3. An apology goes something like this: "I messed up; I'm sorry." In O'Neal's apology, first reported in the Lawrence Journal-World, he said he didn't read the email before he forwarded it and had no idea it labeled Mrs. Obama with a racist slur. He made clear that he did indeed intend to share the cartoon, which he thought was a real thigh-slapper.
In a statement, O'Neal said, "I've had bad hair days too ... To those I have offended, I am sorry. That was not at all my intent." Did you write that statement -- the one that repeats one part of your insult before implying that anyone who had a problem with the email might be too thin-skinned -- with a straight face, Mr. O'Neal? No apology at all would have been better.
4. No woman likes to be insulted and demeaned or compared to cartoon characters. Just because black women are used to such treatment (and worse) in America does not mean they think it's OK. Would your wife or mother, daughter or sister, like it? What would you do to the guy who spread insults about them? Keep it up, and even no-drama Obama might be tempted to punch you in the mouth.
5. A little history and geography lesson is also in order for those who continue to grumble that the president and first lady took a Hawaiian vacation on the taxpayers' dime. All presidents take well-deserved breaks; many Americans, for that matter, return home for the holidays. For me, that meant seeing hubby's mom in New York and my family in Baltimore. President Bush loved to clear brush in Crawford, Texas.
President Obama returns to Hawaii because he was born and mostly grew up there. (Yes, it is a state.) It's where the grandmother who helped raise him lived until her death in 2008. He can't help it if his home has beaches, warm weather and killer optics.
In November 2012 there will be an election when all those who want a new family in the White House will have the chance to make their dreams a reality. It's how America works. Until then, the first family we have is the image the United States presents to the world. Some respect, or at least good sense, is in order.
And one final lesson: When you receive a nasty email, "delete" works so much better than "forward."
Mary C. Curtis, an award-winning Charlotte, N.C.-based journalist, is a contributor to the Washington Post's She the People blog, The Root, NPR, Fox News Charlotte, Creative Loafing and the Nieman Watchdog blog, and she was national correspondent for Politics Daily. Follow her on Twitter.