Anti-Obama Nebraska parade float prompts diversity discussion

Deena Winter
|
Aug 19, 2014 12:15 PM
Anti-Obama Nebraska parade float prompts diversity discussion

By Deena Winter | Nebraska Watchdog

LINCOLN, Neb. – After an anti-Obama Fourth of July parade float attracted unflattering national attention and a visit from the U.S. Department of Justice, a Nebraska town is responding by organizing a group to discuss diversity issues.

Associated Press

CONTROVERSIAL FLOAT: This entry in Norfolk’s Fourth of July parade sparked controversy because it appeared to depict a zombie-like President Obama and portrayed his presidential library as an outhouse. The creator said it depicted himself.

The city of Norfolk got blasted because its parade included a float depicting a zombie outside an outhouse with a sign calling it Obama’s presidential library. The Nebraska Democratic Party condemned the Norfolk parade float as “one of the worst shows of racism and disrespect for the office of the Presidency that Nebraska has ever seen.”

The parade was organized by the Norfolk Odd Fellows and the man who made the float, Dale Remmich, said the zombie depicted him, not the president, and was prompted by his anger over Obama’s management of the Veterans Affairs Department.

In response, the Justice Department sent a member of its community relations service team to Norfolk to look into the issue. What became of that?

Norfolk Mayor Sue Fuchtman’s spokeswoman said “the next step is to organize a group to discuss diversity issues.” That wasn’t mandated by the Justice Department, communications director Diane Becker said. The Justice Department visit was more like low-key mediation, she said, to help with communications and head off problems.

“There were no demands that they made of us,” she said. “It was agreed by all sides to have a diverse group to talk about their perception. … It was very cordial.”

Becker said names are still being gathered for the group, and the city plans to engage a multicultural club at Northeast Community Club, which started classes Monday, she said.

Asked if he thought the city’s response was adequate, Dan Marvin, executive director of the state Democratic Party, said “I would say we are fine with the response.”

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