When the Inland Empire makes national news, it's usually not for good reasons. The latest appearance by the region where I went to high school has to do with a bunch of ignorant, redneck bigots:
A Republican women's club in San Bernardino County sent out a recent newsletter with a photo of Barack Obama surrounded by fried chicken, watermelon and ribs, sparking widespread outrage and rebuke from GOP leaders and Democrats.
The illustration shows the Democratic presidential candidate's head atop a donkey's body on a bogus $10 bill referred to as "Obama Bucks." Inscribed on the money are the words "United States Food Stamps" surrounded by stereotypical African American food.
And, of course, the canned apology from Diane Fedele, the person responsible for the image:
"I apologize to anyone who was offended because that was not my intent," said club President Diane Fedele. "It was poor judgment on my part. It was strictly an attempt to point out the outrageousness of Obama's statement that he doesn't look like all those other presidents on the dollar bills."
But it wasn't racist. No, really, it wasn't. In fact, you're racist for thinking it's racist.
Fedele said the mailer merely parodied the statements Obama made during a debate last summer and wasn't racist.
"If I was racist, I would have looked at it through racist eyes," she said. "I am not racist, which is why it probably didn't register."
Club member Kristina Sandoval agreed.
"None of us are racists," she said.
The use of watermelon, ribs and fried chicken was innocent, she said.
"Everyone eats those foods, it's not a racial thing."
This obviously doesn't represent the mainstream attitude of the Republican party, but it is a nice example of what you're dealing with when you live in the Inland Empire.