A Greeley businessman apologized Wednesday after a joke about Illinois Sen. Barack Obama fell flat during the National Western Stock Show's annual Citizen of the West banquet.Did ya get the "joke" there? Obama is black. And the White House is white. And they don't...match.
William R. Farr was pretending to read telegrams congratulating this year's award recipient, University of Colorado President Hank Brown, when he pulled out a piece of paper and said, "I have a telegram from the White House."
Then he added, "They're going to have to change the name of that building if Obama's elected."
Witnesses said they could hear people gasp in the ballroom of the Adam's Mark Hotel.
"I gasped," said Gov. Bill Ritter, who was sitting at the table with Farr.
Farr strikes me as one of those white people who just. can't. talk about a person of color (or to a person of color) without being uncomfortably hyper-aware of that person being a different color than he is. So a black presidential candidate is his worst nightmare; he can't talk about, or even think about, the guy without being overwhelmed by thoughts about his race. He has to mention it. If he didn't have "jokes" like these, he'd be reduced to blurting out: "Did you all know a BLACK GUY is running for president?!" every time it crosses his mind.
And, frankly, he might as well. It wouldn't be any less awkward.