I read "The persistence of bigotry, Western-style" with a chill crawling up my spine, and I don't think it was the flu virus I'm battling (HCN, 12/8/08). I'm left with the strange feeling that some regional socialization patterns stopped evolving sometime around the 1950s. I doubt the children and parents telling those "jokes" have been anywhere near racially diverse regions along the coasts or in major urban areas. There is a naiveté expressed that is neither sweet nor acceptable. We are a nation of differences, and the balance of these differences is what makes us strong. The slandering "humor" carrying veiled and unveiled threats against an accomplished, well-educated and bold leader who has worked hard to be where he is today reveals what makes us weak.