Oakland police pull extra DUI patrols on Cinco de Mayo due to 'offensive' press release
A perfect illustration of the power of identity politics and how even public safety must take a back seat to political correctness.
The Oakland police department issued a statement yesterday that celebrating Cinco de Mayo is fine, but remember to designate a sober driver so that no one drives drunk.
A commonsense and perfectly logical warning. During holidays, DUIs shoot up, and the police want to protect pedestrians and other drivers from irresponsible drinkers.
For some reason, the Mexican community found this "offensive":
First, the Oakland Police Department put out a Cinco de Mayo news release called "Fiesta Time or Jail Time" that equated the cultural holiday with getting buzzed on margaritas and shots of tequila. Then, early Tuesday, after receiving complaints that some of the language in the advisory about extra DUI patrols was offensive, police officials issued an apology. But apparently that was not enough. By Tuesday afternoon the department said it was pulling the plug on the special enforcement plans.
"The decision was made that that particular operation was going to be canceled," police Spokeswoman Johnna Watson said. Watson said she could not say why.
Watson stressed that the department would still deploy extra officers who will be on the alert for drunken driving and other criminal activity during the holiday. However, she said, the specific DUI traffic patrols that are paid for by a state grant will be moved to another date.
The decision came just hours after a public apology for an advisory that the department called "completely insensitive to the cultural holiday." The message said, "In the United States, Cinco de Mayo has become synonymous with festive fiestas and salty margaritas," and later added " ... present-day celebrations often lead to drunken driving."
Watson said the department had received a half dozen email complaints. "It's important not to lose focus that our intention is to remind everyone of public safety and if you are going to be drinking, to designate a sober driver," Watson said. "At the same time, we have to be careful about our language and not use words that can be offensive."
The language was drafted by the California Office of Traffic Safety, and used by other law enforcement agencies as well.
What words in that statement were "offensive" to anyone except people who want to get behind the wheel after getting drunk? There is no cultural dog whistle in that statement – just a simple acknowledgment that it's a holiday, and people tend to drink too much while driving.
But in this age of political correctness, meaning doesn't matter. It's how you can twist words and turn them into a race issue that's the point. The power to interpret – or deliberately misinterpret – the meaning of anything that originates with authorities is what gives juice to minority communities. And it's done at the expense of public safety.
I sincerely hope no one was killed yesterday because the police found it necessary to bow to identity politics rather than take drunk drivers off the streets.