Quick, find the nearest black person and ask them if the headline "Sanders To Reach Out to Black Community With KFC Restaurant" is offensive. Yeah? We thought so.
It's a reference to former State Supreme Court Justice Richard Sanders who basically lost his reelection bid when he told the Seattle Times that "certain minority groups" (read: black people) are "disproportionally represented in prison because they have a crime problem."
The fake story reports that Sanders wants to make amends to black folks for his statements by building them a KFC and has a doctored photograph of him in front of the restaurant standing next to O.J. Simpson and Denzel Washington. It also fake quotes Sanders as saying black people are not "genetically inclined" toward eating fried chicken, but that "they do in fact eat a lot of fried chicken."
The newsletter and Christmas party invitation, called the "Olimpian" is in the spirit of typical satirical publications that many companies use to poke fun at the news, themselves and anyone else who the employees might relate to. Unfortunately, the first rule of politically correct satire (which is especially important when your audience is a bunch of government employees) is to avoid racist undertones.
There are probably black people at the company who thought the quip was a hoot. Just like there are probably Latinos that would have laughed hard if someone had made a joke involving taco stands and immigration status.
But in this case, corrections officer Sanrica Marquez, at least one person who took issue with the newsletter on the record, doesn't seem to be being overly sensitive (I mean, KFC? O.J.? Genetically inclined to eat fried chicken? You're pretty much asking for it at that point.)
For its part, the Morgan Hill law firm issued what passes for an apology these days, writing:
"It appears that after years of approaching the line with our annual Christmas invitation, a number of people believe that we finally crossed it. Obviously, this has put you and other personnel in a difficult situation, which we sincerely regret and for which we apologize."
Next time, guys, stick to jokes involving politics and religion