On April 2, 2013, Jim Gile, Kansas Republican and Saline County Commissioner, effortlessly journeyed out of the frying pan and into the fire with his double assault on African Americans. Gile’s one-two punch was delivered during a county meeting discussing the merits of alternatives for a building’s repair. Mr. Giles racial faux pas occurred as he argued that hiring an architect to design improvements was a better solution than (… wait… here it comes…open mouth…wider…okay, insert foot Mr. Gile) “nigger-rigging it” (we have lift off)! There was some laughter in the room, but someone attending the county meeting asked Mr. Gile what he had just said. When given this second opportunity, Mr. Gile altered his language and said “Afro-Americanized.”
Two things here scream insult. First, using the “N” word is never okay in government or public meetings. Second, the term is used as a substandard, poorly functioning, temporary quick fix. Two examples of the offensive term: the practice of duct taping your broken rear view mirror to your car, or using a coat hanger to secure your car’s muffler. Mr. Gile’s attempt to remove the “N” word’s racial slur component and subsequent substitution of “Afro-Americanized” only served to reinforce his false equivalency of a poor quality or inadequate remedy to being African American, and therefore less than or not as good as Whites. Wow, but believe it or not, Mr. Gile was not done, as he had enough room in his mouth for his other shoe.
In response to the political fallout, Jim admitted to “a bad choice of words” but insisted he’s not a racist. As proof, he told of building “Habitat homes for colored people.” He also mentioned the foolproof anti-prejudice shield of having a Black friend. From his “proof” can we determine that he’s a racist? No. Is he clueless? Definitely!
If I were Mr. Gile’s family or friend, I would give him the same advice that Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) gave Mitt Romney after his defeat in November 2012, “When you’re in a hole, stop digging.”