There is a brilliant moment in an episode of The Simpsons where a group of treasure-seekers are digging in a hole, when one of them realizes that they have no method of getting out. Homer, without a moment’s hesitation, triumphantly announces the solution: “We’ll dig our way out!” The digging then resumes at a feverish pace. One of the characters is heard to mutter “No, no, dig up, stupid!”
“Dig up, stupid” has since become one of my favourite lines to use whenever I see someone double down on an ignorant or otherwise brainless statement. When someone calls you out on something moronic you’ve just said or done, you have to fight the urge to keep digging, and start digging up.
In East Haven, Connecticut, the Department of Justice found evidence of widespread racial profiling and abuse by police:
The allegations first surfaced in early 2009 after the Rev. James Manship, pastor of St. Rose of Lima Church in New Haven, was arrested at My Country Store while videotaping what he called police harassment. The charges were eventually dismissed and The Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization at Yale Law School filed a complaint alleging racial profiling with the U.S. Department of Justice.
The justice department launched an investigation in December 2009, which is ongoing. In April the department released a preliminary report criticizing East Haven police for having outdated and inadequate policies and limited training. Police Chief Len Gallo, who had led the 53-member department for 12 years, subsequently was put on administrative leave by Mayor April Capone Almon.
When asked by a reporter what the new mayor, Joseph Maturo, was planning on doing to mend the injured ties with East Haven’s Latino community, the mayor replied (and no, I am not making this up):
I might have tacos when I go home. I’m not quite sure yet.
The reporter, flabbergasted, asks the mayor if he thinks that’s really an acceptable comment considering that there is a serious problem in his community that his administration is tasked with defending. Now, it’s the end of the day, you’re feeling particularly exposed and irritated that you inherited this problem despite the fact that you’ve never done anything to injure anyone. You run your mouth off and say something stupid – it could happen to anyone. So what do you do? You apologize for your insensitive, flippant remark and say that you’re going to meet with representatives from the community and see what can be done, right? No big deal, brush that dirt off your shoulders, move on.
What follows is perhaps the most painful 4 minutes I’ve ever watched. It’s like watching an episode of the UK’s The Office, except David Brent isn’t being played by an actor here:
Say it with me now, everyone: Dig UP, stupid!
What the Latino community (largely Ecuadorian, rather than Mexican), did in response is fucking classic:
Mayor Joseph Maturo insisted he would not resign on Thursday, even while an immigration reform group brought hundreds of tacos to his office in response to his comment this week that he “might have tacos” to support the Latino community. A swarm of media crews fought for room while more than a dozen stern-faced protesters crowded into town hall carrying aluminum trays of warm tacos.
The immigration group announced on Wednesday that they would bring the mayor a taco for every person who sent them a text message with the word “TACO.” The group received more than 3,500 text messages by Thursday, the website said.
The tacos were taken to local soup kitchens and food pantries. One was left for Maturo.
Mantén la clase, Refugio Este.
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