Veteran California legislator Don Perata pulled a mini Mel Gibson the other day when he characterized opponents of illegal immigration with a word that suggests anti-white racism.

He called a group of San Diego illegal immigration opponents — ready? — "crackers."

There are some listening now who don't know what the word cracker means. It's an old expression roughly equivalent to redneck. Knuckle-dragging white guy, basically.

Don Perata is a Democrat and he has served his district for a very long time. He probably shouldn't have said opponents to people of another country entering this country without legal permission a name that suggest they are stupid and racist themselves.

I'm not jumping down Perata's throat because he's walked back from the comment — a little. He would do well to walk back from it at lot, a la Mel Gibson.

People who might be characterized as crackers by someone like the state senator know who they are, and they are probably not pleased to be called out that way.

Perata has said he's sorry he's confused the debate by using that word. He should go farther. He should say he's sorry for using the word at all and he's sorry for thinking of his political opponents as crackers.

After all, if racism against people of color is bad, it must also be bad to sound racist about white people.

Isn't it?

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