Screenshot: YouTube (Mountainside League of Women Voters)

After being stumped during a recent debate, a New Jersey political candidate explained his efforts to improve diversity and inclusion by telling his constituents that he has a history of promoting employees who don’t “deserve it,” adding that he umm... Actually, he didn’t add anything else.

On Tuesday, the League of Women Voters hosted a forum where citizens got the opportunity to hear from Mountainside, N.J.’s candidates for borough council. Near the end of the forum, the moderator asked the four candidates: “What have you done to promote diversity and inclusion in your careers?”

Beginning with the white side of the seemingly segregated panel, both candidates were thrown completely off their game when they realized they had to talk about non-white people. Rachel Pater kept it simple, noting that she has “worked with many different folks,” and that she was a “fair person.”

But when it was time to hear from candidate Robert Messler, who tragically lost his neck in a 1983 shrugging accident, he seemed downright flummoxed.

“I have um...” Messler began, as his face slowly turned a color that can be only described as Trumpian orange, adding: “In my career, I have um... promoted many many people that maybe didn’t deserve it.”

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As the audience erupted in gasps and a various array of “what-the-fucks,” Messler let out a nervous giggle, explaining that he “didn’t mean it that way.” One stunned man in the audience was forced to cover his mouth in shock and the moderator stifled a laugh, desperately trying not to look at Messler until he basically punted.

“I’m sorry,” Messler said before passing as if he was in the fast money round of Family Feud. “I lost it. That’s it.”

That’s it. He definitely lost it.

While serving as a vice president of a multimillion-dollar business with seven locations, apparently Messler hasn’t met many people of color, which is understandable since the borough is 86 percent white and less than 2 percent black, according to City-Data.

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In an attempt to avoid this kind of confusion, The Root has compiled a list of acceptable answers that white people can memorize and regurgitate whenever they see fit:

  1. “If I had friends, I’m pretty sure some of the best ones would be black”
  2. “I dated one of the blacks when I was in college.” (Do not mention that you broke up after you screamed the n-word during a particularly intense orgasm. We don’t need to know everything.)
  3. “I allow my children to listen to Beyoncé.”
  4. “I like Tacos.”
  5. “If elected, I promise to reduce the price of chicken and watermelons throughout our great borough.”
  6. “I support LGBTQ rights. That stands for “Let’s Get Behind Trump Quickly,” right?
  7. “I know all the words to the theme song from The Fresh Prince of Bel Air.”
  8. “I own a pair of Nikes.”
  9. “I am well-known in Mountainside’s African American community. I said ‘hi’ to Tyrone when I was pumping gas yesterday and I once stood in line behind Keisha at the grocery store. And I’ve seen the other one around town, too.”
  10. If all else fails, stab yourself in the eyes. As blood streams from your retinas, explain that you “don’t see color.”

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Some might try to paint Rob “Multicultural” Messler as someone who distances himself from non-whites, gays and women. But if I’m being honest, if someone asked me how I helped promote whiteness in my career, I’d say I would say that I have umm... well one time I umm...

I’m sorry. That’s it.