Sanford City Manager Norton Bonaparte Jr. speaks to the media about the Trayvon Martin controversy during a press conference at City Hall on March 27, 2012 in Sanford, Florida. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
It’s one of those cases that demonstrates how racism is lived in America.
A letter, sent via the City of Sanford’s official letter, and addressed to the city manager, decries the treatment afforded the currently suspended police chief, Bill Lee. It faults the now familiar villains, according to Lee’s defenders: Rev. Al Sharpton, Rev. Jesse Jackson, and the country’s African-American attorney general, Eric Holder.
"Dear City Manager Bonaparte," it begins. "The racist travesty that took place in Sanford should not be laid to rest and the city should not move on until there is a thorough condemnation of the Rabid Racist Ni**ers and their organizations, along with the irresponsible media, that formed a treasoneous [sic], anti-American, vigelante [sic] feeding frenzy race riot. Ni**ers like Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Eric Holder, and that dancing baboon of the New Black Pu***es should be in jail, preferably shot."
Mr. Bonaparte is black. And letters sent to city officials via the Sanford website are public record.
The writer, Gary K. Keats, a 71-year-old retired urologist from nearby Clearwater, Florida, stands by every word. And he sees no irony in sending a letter decrying what he considers black racism toward George Zimmerman and Bill Lee, and sprinkling that letter with terms like “baboons” and the n-word.
Keats told theGrio he used the n-word “just to get the point across that these people want to play the racist game, and see how they like it, playing it back. I think the whole thing is pretty disgusting, but apparently our beloved attorney general, Eric Holder, they think nothing of accusing everybody else of racism but when it comes to there actions everything is fine and wonderful.”
So does he really consider the attorney general to be a ni**er?
"I think he is pretty typical of that mentality, yeah pretty much. And I think he is pretty much a disgusting, despicable human being and he has no concept of law and order." He goes on to decry the "travesty" of the Justice Department "going after Texas and Arizona" for their immigration laws, which he calls "people just trying to defend their lives and property."
If it all sounds very retro, it is. During the late 1990s, Keats posted frequent comments on a website belonging to the American Association of Physicians and Surgeons, an ultra-right wing non-profit founded in 1943 to fight the Social Security Act, and what it called “socialized medicine and … the government takeover of medicine.” The AAPS opposes “evidence-based medicine,” as well as Medicare, Medicaid, mandatory vaccinations, abortion and emergency contraception. It’s members and supporters include prominent Libertarians like Texas Rep. Ron Paul and his son, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul.
Asked if he considered himself a racist, Keats replied, “no, not really.”
As to whether it’s appropriate to use the n-word in a letter to a black city manager, he conceded, “I don’t think it’s particularly appropriate but then again I don’t think firing chief lee was appropriate either.”
Keats has not yet received a response from the manager to his letter.