Dobie: Disgusting attempt at humor in Levittown

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A corridor showing the bulletin board in the

A corridor showing the bulletin board in the Town of Hempstead Market Lane Garage, Tuesday April 29, 2014 in Levittown, where a racial incident occurred after a picture of a monkey was displayed on a bulletin board. Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

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Michael Dobie Michael Dobie is a member of the Newsday

Michael Dobie is a member of the Newsday editorial board.

This was Monday. Outrage over racist remarks by Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling was exploding all over America.

And someone saw fit to hang a photo of a monkey on a bulletin board in a Hempstead Town highway department facility in Levittown with the label, "Jimmy's baby picture."

The reference was to a black employee of the department.

When will it end?

The employee said he was humiliated. "Everybody was laughing," he said.

There was nothing funny about the posting. It was a disgusting attempt at humor. And the fact that it happened just as the nation was in the throes of yet another racial controversy makes it confounding.

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As our nation continues to grow ever more diverse, I keep thinking that bigotry will die out as the bigots die off. But how long is that going to take? Sometimes it seems like there's an inexhaustible supply of bigots.

We've come a long way on issues of race and diversity, particularly among our institutions. But we cannot legislate what's in people's hearts. The incident in Levittown is just the latest reminder of how far we still have to go.

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