| Dean Grose, the mayor of the small OC suburb of Los Alamitos (located just east of Long Beach) and who sent a racist email to a black businesswoman showing the White House lawn replaced with a watermelon patch, now plans to resign:
Grose said in an e-mail sent to the Orange County Register on Thursday that he will resign at Monday's City Council meeting.
"The attention brought to this matter has sadly created an image of me which is most unfortunate," Grose wrote. "I recognize that I've made a mistake and have taken steps to make sure this is never repeated."
Grose sent out the original e-mail from his personal account. It shows the controversial picture of the White House. On its lawn are a row of watermelons, and the caption reads, "No Easter egg hunt this year."
But no amount of apology or resignation can hide the fact that Orange County has a reservoir of racism a mile wide and a mile deep. OC Progressive collects some links including that of one of my favorite OC writers, Gustavo Arellano, who delved into the KKK history of OC (and didn't even mention the huge Klan parades in Anaheim and Santa Ana in the 1920s). Huntington Beach has had notorious problems with skinhead gangs going back to at least the 1980s, and immigrant-bashing protests led by the Minuteman movement brought out OC racists in this decade.
Just as important as those more overt expressions of hate is the casual racism that defines life in Orange County, folks like Mayor Dean Grose who would never consider themselves to be anything like a Klansman but who nevertheless see no problem forwarding around emails that traffic in racial hate, or try and dismiss its offensive nature by saying "can't you take a joke?" It would be unfortunate if the lesson drawn from this was to hide your hate away. But it should be a reminder of how much work not just OC, but California as a whole, still has to do to eliminate racism in our lives.