Meet Representative Curt Clawson. He’s a Republican congressman from Florida, who caters specifically to the Tea Party crowd. You would assume he’d be at least peripherally aware of Nikki Haley and Bobby Jindal, two high-profile politicos catering to the same electorate that he does, thereby understanding that, yes, desis do exist in the upper echelons of U.S. politics.
Below, he addresses a couple of senior U.S. government officials — Nisha Biswal, Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs in the U.S. Department of State, and Arun Kumar, Director General of the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service and Assistant Secretary for Global Markets — as if they’re reps from the Indian government and not the same one that employs him.
Biswal, in true diplomat form, responded tactfully on Twitter to essentially excuse Clawson for being a newbie and emphasize America’s diversity.
Honest mistake by new Member of Congress -but the strength & beauty of America is its diversity. Proud to represent my country & Prez Obama
— Nisha Biswal (@NishaBiswal) July 26, 2014
Clawson has tried to make good and apologized for his eff-up, attempting to smooth things over with a sports metaphor: “I made a mistake in speaking before being fully briefed and I apologize. I’m a quick study, but in this case I shot an air ball.”
Oh, and if we want another reason to facepalm, Slate has decided to run this story with the headline, “GOP Congressman Addresses Dark-Skinned U.S. Officials as if They Are Indian Diplomats.” I’ll let y’all dig the link up yourself.
To both the Slate editors that greenlit that headline and Rep. Clawson from Florida, please consider the below advice: