Lets be honest, poking fun at Hialeah is a great tradition among the rest of Miami-Dade citizens. It's basically akin to New Yorkers who wisecrack about Staten Island. That doesn't mean, however, that the jokes can't go too far. And Eric Johnson, a non-Hispanic, white Hialeah firefighter, may have gone too far in making jabs at his own city with some ethnic overtones on his Facebook page.
Johnson isn't just any firefighter. He's the vice president of the Hialeah Association of Firefighters. He doesn't see what the big deal is, and is not apologizing for it even as he is now under investigation by his department. In fact, Johnson, an outspoken critic of the city's government, seem to infer that the investigation is nothing more than petty political payback.
WSVN reports that postings Johnson made on Facebook stirred controversy. In one posting pointed out, Johnson posted this picture with the caption, "only in Hialeah. LOL"
In another posting he offers his handy Spanish-to-English translation trick: "I have a system. Just add an 'o' to any English word and bam! It works. For example, how ya doin 'o' You wanna go to the hospital 'o' I just learned that you can't do that when you say is this your home though. Ha Ha."
Amazingly, Johnson's Facebook wall is still accessible to the public.
Though, the vast majority of Johnson's posts are critical of Hialeah's government.
Johnson didn't do himself any favors with his public defense.
"Absolutely not," he responded after WSVN asked him if he's a racist. "I'm married to a Cuban. My best friend is an African-American. Anything else?" [Note to WSVN: asking someone flat out if they're a racist is not exactly the best tactic. No one is going to reply, "Yes."]
Johnson says he's also not trafficking in Latino stereotypes.
"These aren't stereotypes, this is reality. If anyone is stereotyped, it's me in Hialeah," he said. "I'm a gringo in the middle of Hialeah!"
Uh, huh... It's hard to make a case that the guy is a flat out racist, but it's also apparent that the guy isn't particularly sensitive to the issue.
Johnson seems to thinks that the investigation is political payback for his criticism on Hialeah government. He posted this video from September in which he takes on the city's commission at a meeting.
"YOU Want the truth of WHY I AM A TARGET!!!!!! JUST WATCH THIS VIDEO..
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It is because i have the guts to stand up for truth and justice...," he wrote.
And if there is one great stereotype about Hialeah's politicians, it is that they do love petty political payback.