Political correctness may have gotten out of hand recently, but the rationale of a Kansas state legislator who has decided to stand by a YouTube video that many people find racially offensive could raise some eyebrows.
Rep. Bill Otto, R-LeRoy, has come under attack from the NAACP and several other lawmakers for his “RedNeck Rap” video in which he appears wearing a hat that reads, “OPOSSUM the Other Dark Meat.” To his credit, Otto was willing to meet with the Topeka branch of the NAACP last weekend to discuss the issue.
Although Otto said he had seen nothing racial in the video, which he said was intended to spoof his own hillbilly ancestry, he now understands how his references to rednecks and opossums could be offensive. He even said that if he did the video over again, he would change that part — and that he attended Saturday’s NAACP meeting “because I want to unite and I want to move forward.”
However, he said he wouldn’t take the first logical step in that process, which would be to take down the RedNeck Rap or edit out the offending portions.
Why not? He gave two reasons. First, he has to stand up for who he is. Apparently, that includes being someone who is unable to apologize or soften material that has offended fellow Kansans.
It also may be a matter of politics. “To take it down would have serious ramifications for me,” he said, apparently referring to some political impact in his southeast Kansas district. Really? We wonder what Otto’s constituents think of this portrayal of them as people who would be less likely to vote for him if he removed the video from YouTube. Do they appreciate the stereotypes he is reinforcing about the residents of his district?
Sometimes it’s important for any elected official to be able to learn something, correct a mistake and move on. It’s a sign of strength, not weakness. Rep. Otto has decided to stand on principle when it comes to the RedNeck Rap. It will be interesting to see whether the voters of his district will continue to stand with him.