Having been born and raised in Philadelphia, I sometimes forget that the City is in Pennsylvania. Well, not really. But I do sometimes forget about the majority of the population of the state, as I’m sure most people who live in the city do from time to time. Philadelphia is a predominantly black, latino, and white city that is located in a predominantly white state. Philadelphia is a mostly Democratic city, that happens to be located in a mostly Republican state. A large portion of Pennsylvania’s residents are not liberal white folks, or even the type of white folks who believe in equality. When you get out there in those mountains and surrounding suburban areas, you have a huge red-neck, “this is our Country, everybody bow down to us or leave” population. That’s probably the reason that a huge amount of prisons in Pennsylvania are located in those areas, and staffed by mostly those type of local folks. Taking this into consideration, you would think that a story like this one wouldn’t surprise me anymore, but ….it still does.
Cecil Township Fire Chief Paul Smith took to Facebook to voice his displeasure after the Pittsburgh Steelers decided to stay in the locker room during the singing of the National Anthem on Sunday before their game against the Chicago Bears. Smith wrote on his Facebook page:
“Tomlin just added himself to the list of no good n*ggers.” Smith backed up his statement posting “Yes, I said it.”
Afterward, (most likely when it was revealed that his job and livelihood were in jeopardy) Smith apologized(?) and blamed the media for the whole thing.
“I regret what I said deeply and I am not the racist the media portrays me as.” Smith said in a prepared statement to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Smith also added “What I said was wrong and posted in anger.”
A few things: Number -1, Smith said what he meant and meant what he said. Clearly. As confirmed by his words after the statement “yeah, I said it.” Number -2 If there was no backlash, including jeopardizing his livelihood, the likeliness that Smith would’ve apologized is little to none. Number-3 This is not the first and only time Smith has referred to a black person as a n*gger. That much is confirmed by his post “added to my list.” Number – 4, and this is the one I really take issue with. Smith is a public servant. A public servant whose job description may make him responsible for a life. Would Smith be willing to put his life on the line for one of those n*ggers on his list? That is part of being a fire fighter right? Putting your life on the line to save someone in danger. Kind of makes you wonder how many Paul Smith’s out there are employed as police officers, judges, EMT’s, doctors etc. etc. etc. All who have your life in their hands at any given moment.
Smith submitted his resignation on Tuesday morning. Not before criticizing his own actions and releasing another apology(?):
“I am embarrassed at this. I want to apologize. I was frustrated and angry at the Steelers not standing for the Anthem. My Fire Department had absolutely nothing to do with this. I am deeply regretful at what I posted.”
Ay yes, the good ol’ racism because of Patriotism excuse. Therefore, everything should be forgiven and forgotten. I’ve heard that one many times, spoken in the exact same way. I wonder if this strategy is in the “white privilege” handbook?