Racism and the Olympian: Carl Lewis and Patrick Delaney

File:CarlLewis.jpgI have to give credit where it’s due – New Jersey state senator, Patrick Delaney resigned from his position when a racist email from his wife surfaced. Delaney’s wife, Jennifer, emailed Carl Lewis – yes, that Carl Lewis, the 9-time Olympic Gold Medalist, who is running for a seat in the New Jersey senate.

The most offensive part of Mrs. Delaney’s email read, “Imagine having dark skin and name recognition and the nerve to think that equaled knowing something about politics.”

Sen. Delaney’s office issued a statement that apologized for the email, and the Burlington County Republican chairman, Bill Layton, condemned the email.

Firstly, I find the email to be highly offensive. It assumes that Lewis is using his race to further his political career, when in fact, race is often an impediment and not an asset – Mrs. Daleney’s racist views aren’t just her own, she represents the thoughts of many (how many racially-tinged comments have we had to endure about our president or first lady?).

But I do find the quick and sift response of Mr Delaney and Mr Layton to be refreshing. The GOP party of late has been trading in a lot of race-baiting – especially when talking about immigration reform or national security, so for members of the party to – and excuse the expression – man up and admit that they were in the wrong.

The road to the state senate won’t be easy for Lewis just because Delaney is out – the decision on whether he’s eligible to serve in the state of New Jersey due to residency questions, makes his candidacy still hang in the air.

Still, it’s nice when I get to write a post with the GOP being the heroes.


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