Speak Out Editorial - 3/26/15 - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Speak Out Editorial - 3/26/15

Our annual celebration of St. Patrick's Day here in Savannah marks the culmination of weeks of festivities and recognition of the cities large Irish heritage. 

This year's parade was greeted by chamber of commerce weather and crowds of locals and tourists numbering in the 100's of thousands. However, what was truly a special day, was marred for some not by drunken crowds, inclement weather, or physical injury to spectators. No, the day's events took a turn for the worst when some of Savannah's prominent Irish citizens decided to use the day to mock others that, like the Irish, came to this country to escape persecution and seek better opportunities. 

I'm referring to what transpired at the Sinn Fein Society's annual breakfast gathering and the “Greening of the Grits”. A handful of members took it upon themselves to use the occasion to belittle their Jewish brethren. Their antics featured costumes, rhetoric, and stereotypes that were offensive, small minded, and inappropriate. 

We'd like to think that we have all progressed beyond the immature and insensitive behavior displayed by these adults. Similar to the much publicized events a few weeks ago involving the offensive racial slurs made by members of the SAE fraternity at the University of Oklahoma, what happened at the breakfast on St. Patrick's Day was also offensive. But the big difference in the two events involved the actions and words committed by adults, not college kids. These are educated people, many are leaders in the community, and they should be ashamed of their behavior. 

We contacted leadership at the Sinn Fein Society and received the following response by incoming President, Dan NeSmith; 

“The Sinn Fein Society was organized for the purpose of friendship and has been around for over 50 years. We feature members of different religions, and invite guests to our meetings, including many of our Jewish friends. We understand that the skit conducted at this year's event may have insulted or offended members of the Jewish community. Let me assure that there was no intent to offend anyone. We are sorry and apologize.”

Our hope is that this won't happen again. There has been too much progress made in race relations, religious tolerance, and harmony between different cultures and ethnic groups to let the childish actions and misguided attempts at humor set back the reputation that Savannah has historically enjoyed as a melting pot that proudly displays its cultural and ethnic diversity. 

What do you think?

Powered by Frankly