Dean Grose didn’t come up with the joke. He wasn’t the first one to forward the cartoon either.
But when the former Los Alamitos mayor sent a racially derogatory e-mail depicting the White House lawn planted with watermelons, he made a colossal misjudgment.
Because of his actions, Grose resigned as mayor and as a member of City Council.
The e-mail, which was sent to a number of colleagues and business people, was in poor taste. Made even more obnoxious because of Grose’s prominent position in the city.
Is Grose racist? We don’t think so.
But when you’re a city mayor, it’s best to act like a grownup.
It has nothing to do with oversensitivity. It’s not too much to ask of a mayor to refrain from sending racist jokes to a group of professionals.
Also, by sending the e-mail, the 65-year-old, Caucasian mayor perpetuated another fallacious stereotype: that old, white, male politicians are racists.
It may not have been his intent, but publicly elected officials – or any prominent public figures – need to know how to conduct themselves professionally.
Unfortunately, Grose is just another instance of unprofessionalism from a person in a leadership role. These are the decision-makers at the local levels. It isn’t asking too much for them to make smart decisions.