And this week’s annoying and offensive moment of the week comes to us courtesy of a well-connected member of the Department of Homeland Security for Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Julie Myers, the Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security, was appointed to the position while Congress was on recess – because our fearless, bumbling leader President Bush was concerned about Senate putting up a fight against nominating Myers. The reason they might have felt the need to question Bush’s nomination? Myers didn’t exactly have enough experience for the position she currently holds – she was a bit too junior. But hey, that’s ok, experience is in her blood: she’s the niece of former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Richard Myers, and she’s married to the US Attorney for the Western Missouri district (he also used to be the chief of staff for the Secretary of Homeland Security), John Wood. Goodness, Washington is an incestuous place, isn’t it? Anyway, I guess Bush figured that putting Myers in the position temporarily without Congressional consent would allow her to prove herself. Oh, yes, she’s proven herself.
So one would think that considering Myers’ previous positions in Washington and the one she currently holds, as well as her ties to some of the other power players there, she might know to think a little harder about her actions. But apparently, thinking isn’t part of Myers’ job. At the2007 Halloween party that Myers hosted for the ICE, Myers (and two other employees, btw) awarded the prize for “most original costume” to an employee who was dressed in prison stripes, dreadlocks and dark makeup – an escaped convict.
Ok, first of all – dark makeup? Are you telling me this freaking government employee dressed in blackface? Get the funk out of here. Seriously. Blackface?
Secondly, most original? Puh-lease. My costume for the Quentin Tarantino costume party (jeans and a turtleneck, thank you – I was “random girl at the coffee shop” from any QT movie) was more original than an old, racist joke.
Thirdly, Myers allowed a government photographer to take pictures of her with the employee who won the award. Who in their right mind would first award a prize to this nutter, and then get photographed with them?
Myers holds a position of some racial sensitivity in the DoHS – and she’s already come under criticism at least once before, for allowing officials to administer controlled substances to deportees without their consent. So it shouldn’t surprise me, then, that her racial-sensitivity-meter is broken. But honestly, this doesn’t seem that dissimilar to the parties at UConn Law and Tarleton State.
Where are your brains, people?
Michael Chertoff, Homeland Security Secretary and Myers’ boss, tried to defend Myers by saying, “She was kind of caught by surprise by this and in the middle of the party.” Ok, I can understand perhaps not reprimanding the employee for wearing a racist costume in the middle of the party – but if she was “surprised” by it, that would indicate to me that she found it at least a little offensive. And therefore not exactly deserving of a prize.
So the employee who wore the costume has been placed on administrative leave, and Myers’ confirmation to the position by Congress has been placed on hold.