Racist Joke by Topeka Mayor Disappoints Prairie Band Tribe
TOPEKA, KANSAS – Even the millions of dollars the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation generates for its neighboring Topeka community, is not enough to earn the proper respect that should be afforded to American Indians in northeast Kansas.
Last Monday, Topeka Mayor Bill Bunten made a racist joke involving dating an "Indian girl" during his State of the Community Event in front of a crowd of 350. The event was sponsored by the Topeka Chamber of Commerce.
Here's what happened:
In seeking to make fun of Shawnee County Commission Chairman Ted Ensley, after following him to the microphone for his speech, Bunten made several disrespectful jokes including one that said that in Ensley's younger days, Ensley dated an Indian girl, "but when they went out dancing, it rained."
The Prairie Band Potawatomi Tribal Council issued a statement to the Topeka Capital Journal in response to the negative joke.
After learning of Bunten's remarks, Topeka attorney Pedro Irigonegaray, who was not at the event, publicly suggested that Bunten should apologize for the remarks that also were disrespectful to women and other groups.
In their statement, the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation Tribal Council said Bunten's remarks were disappointing and disparaging and that the tribe has given millions of dollars to the Topeka community and northeast Kansas to help with their nonprofit organizations and schools and that they were disheartened that Bunten would discredit them and other groups which did nothing but perpetuate a negative stereotyping of people.
“I don't think I have anything to apologize for,”
“They were just little jokes and probably were inappropriate, but I didn't mean any harm, and I don't think it did any harm to anyone.”
Bunten told the Topeka newspaper there are jokes about all kinds of people - listing the young, old, Christian and Jewish populations as examples - and said people need to "not be so sensitive about things."
The Mayor's comments landed him on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno as "Mr. Inappropriate"
Perhaps, the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation should withhold further contributions to the Topeka community…NO Joke!