When somebody says “I’m not racist,” the next thing out of their mouth is invariably just that.
I can’t remember the comedian who made that observation.
But it certainly was true last week in a number of calls I received after the incident at the Kansas City Zoo.
I helped cover the disturbance there last week in my guise as a news reporter. That’s the other hat I wear when not entertaining readers with my insightful witticisms in this column.
Apparently the race of the miscreants who caused trouble at the zoo was an extremely important fact for those who felt compelled to share their feelings with me.
The general tenor of the calls was that all members of a particular race were to blame for the actions of a few.
With that in mind, I offer another story that appeared in the paper on the same day that the zoo story ran.
It was out of La Habra Heights, Calif., where 14 teenagers were charged with breaking into a mansion while the owners were gone, causing more than $1 million in damage and stealing property.
In short, they acted like a bunch of animals, not fit for human society.
Some of the people who called me about the zoo made that same kind of comment.
Like the zoo story, it did not mention the race of those involved. But based on the fact that it involved a mansion in a suburb of Los Angeles, one could extrapolate a few suspicions about the ethnic makeup of the criminals.
I covered a similar story some years ago where a bunch of teens partied in and trashed a home in Leawood while residents were gone. Some attended prestigious private schools and they were all members of a particular race.
And while I’m heading down this path, let’s not forget what happened last week in Kansas City, North, where vandals went around breaking out windows on numerous parked cars.
When they are caught, and their race is revealed, will outraged callers impugn everyone with the same skin color?
I suspect not.
Unless of course they are black.
Then, I expect we might hear from people like the guy who left this message on my phone after the zoo incident: “We need to get rid of the Africans.”
That’s a quote.
Ten. That’s how many arrests police said they made after the zoo disturbance. Let’s assume all of them were black. There were about 20,000 people there that day. A significant percentage, I’m sure, were black and were there to enjoy a beautiful day with their families.
It is beyond ludicrous to blame an entire race for the misbehavior of a few.
How stupid does it sound to respond to the mindless destruction of other people’s homes and property by concluding: “We need to get rid of the Europeans.”
That’s how it sounds.