Georgia Town's Meeting on Confederate Pride Quickly Devolves Into Racist Spectacle
Local council members of Griffin, Georgia, a suburb of Atlanta, held a meeting last week to declare April Confederate History Month and April 26 as Confederate Memorial Day for the city. But the in-favor vote by the majority-white council was not nearly the most offensive moment of the meeting, as the Washington Post reports.
During the public comments portion, former council member Larry Johnson, who is white, reminisced about the town’s racial history, using the n-word three times.
“There were white folks, and there were black folks when I was growing up,” Johnson said, addressing council member Rodney McCord, who is black. “There was white trash—my family—and there was n—-town. I lived next to n—-town.”
“You lived next to what town?” McCord asked Johnson in disbelief.
Johnson replied: “N—town, son. I’m telling you son, now that changed. I’m no longer white trash…”
“Hold on a second,” McCord interrupted.
“Now, if that’s offensive, I apologize for being offensive,” Johnson said to McCord. “Rodney, I don’t use that word anymore."
“You just used it right then,” McCord replied.
The white chairman of the board then tried to cut McCord off, insisting he let Johnson speak. “Mr. McCord, please let him get to the point so we can move on,” Douglas Hollberg said.
After McCord pointed out the irony of Johnson using racist language at a meeting intended to celebrate white supremacy, Johnson responded: “My skin is white, my neck is red, and I was born in Southern bed. Nothing wrong with that. I hope that doesn’t offend anybody.”
Before he left the podium, Johnson invoked a line frequently used by pro-Confederate apologists—that the Civil War wasn’t fought over slavery but states’ rights.
Georgia is one of several Southern states currently debating how it should memorialize the Civil War. While some cities are fighting the state to remove Confederate war monuments that are offensive to local African American communities, other jurisdictions have embraced new tokens of Confederate pride, like Griffin's newly declared Confederate History Month.
H/T Washington Post