“Backlash from man’s remarks making namesake miserable,” reports the Standard Speaker of Hazleton, Pa.
A former Hazleton man says his life has become a nightmare after racially insensitive remarks made by another man with the same name went viral on the Internet this week.
Richard Peter Yanoski Jr., 39, said he had to take down his pages on Facebook and LinkedIn, and his company received derogatory emails because of the remarks.
A different man, Richard Mark Yanoski, 53, of McAdoo, made the remarks on Aug. 15 in “Know Your Neighbor,” a daily Standard-Speaker feature that asks local residents to comment briefly on their lives and impressions about the community. His answer to the question asking what’s worst about the Hazleton area was, “All the Hispanics who moved here.”
The comments drew criticism from readers in the days following publication. People began talking about them again Monday when the article and photo received wider circulation on the Internet and social media after they were posted on the website for the Comedy Central program Tosh.0.
That’s when Richard Peter Yanoski Jr. began to take flak for something with which he had nothing to do.
… Richard Peter Yanoski Jr., a Hazleton native who now works in the Harrisburg area, said people reading on the Internet mistakenly think he made the remarks, which he said are the opposite of his views. … He said his father, Richard Peter Yanoski, 67, who lives in Hazleton, doesn’t want people to think that he made the comments either.
Richard Mark Yanoski, 53, of McAdoo, Pa., also responded to the question “How would you improve the quality of life in Hazleton?” by answering, “Get rid of the Hispanics.” (Joe.My.God. has the full Know Your Neighbor feature posted.)
It’s remarkable that the paper chose to run such a feature on the Other Yanoski, Dick Mark, even after he gave such responses to its questions. Dick Mark is free to say whatever odious, ignorant things he chooses, but the newspaper isn’t compelled to print them and provide him a wider platform. The feature is called “Know Your Neighbor,” not “Say Hateful Things About Your Neighbors While Making Trouble for Any Other Neighbors Who Share Your Name.”
It’s also remarkable that Richard Mark Yanoski, 53, of McAdoo, Pa., chose to express such stupid, ugly sentiments so proudly and publicly, in a forum in which he knew his name and photograph would be attached. I’m accustomed to seeing that sort of reveling in bigotry in the cesspool of reader comments at newspaper sites, where anonymity allows a handful of vocal morons to drive away everyone who’s not a moral imbecile. As Tara Murtha writes of the commenters for Philadelphia’s largest newspaper sites:
Not every single Philly dot commenter is a racist spewing (woefully predictable) hate speech from behind the cloak of anonymity.
But most are.
Yet here we have Dick Mark proudly affixing his own name and photograph to the same kind of repugnant bigotry. In doing so, he doesn’t just display a vicious inhospitality to his Hispanic neighbors and cause a major headache for the poor guy who shares his name, he also harms the entire community. I don’t imagine, for example, that the Hazleton Area School District is thrilled to have Dick Mark as the new poster-child for its school system.
I’m of two minds about the news that poor Richard Peter Yanoski Jr. has been “taking flak” for Dick Mark’s comments. On the one hand, it’s encouraging that such sentiments do encounter some push-back. That’s appropriate and necessary. When remarks like Dick Mark’s go unchallenged, others are emboldened to express such ideas proudly and publicly, and then emboldened to act on them. And that winds up with real consequences, and often those consequences include both illegal violence and legislated violence. On the other hand, I can guess at the tone and substance of such push-back when it’s led by fans of Tosh.0, and that approach is probably sub-optimal.
The Standard Speaker doesn’t tell us whether or not the man actually deserving of this approbation has also been “taking flak” since boasting of his bigotry and ignorance to everyone who reads the paper. I find myself again wondering: Does Richard Mark Yanoski, 53, of McAdoo, Pa., attend church? And, if so, shouldn’t there be some conditions placed on his continued attendance and/or some repercussions for the clerical malpractice of that congregation’s leadership?