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Kind of a jerk

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I watched in stunned amazement a video clip of you using the phrase "Jew me down" while publicly speaking in your official capacity. As an American Jew, I can't decide which was more offensive, the use of that phrase — oh, you mean they bargained you down, like a Jew? — or your tasteless and smug, disingenuous apology after someone handed you a note pointing out the fact that you said what you said.

I understand that not many Jews live in Oklahoma — only about 4,700 of them in the entire state — and you may have had only a very limited experience in dealing with us, but, as my Jewish mother would say, what you said was not very nice. In fact, Mr. Johnson, you were kind of a jerk.

There's nothing funny about racial stereotypes. I suggest you spend a little time thinking about what you said and how it might actually be perceived by the people you are stereotyping. After that, I would suggest a visit to a Holocaust museum. You might want to give The Diary of Anne Frank a read. Because, after all, words matter.

—Philip Halprin, Los Angeles

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