City Councilman tells black member he should work in cotton field

By David Edwards
Thursday, October 21, 2010 10:37 EDT
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The president of the Houston County Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) wants a councilman in Georgia to resign after he made allegedly racial remarks to a fellow council member.

At a recent Warner Robins City Council meeting, John Williams told Daron Lee that he should be working in a cotton field. Williams is white and Lee is black.

During the exchange, Lee explained that he was growing impatient with the way he was being treated. Lee claimed that Williams referred to him as “boy” two weeks ago, reported WMAZ.

“I was disrespected last Monday,” he said. “I’m getting about tired of y’all talking to me any kind of way. I’m sorry, I’m not in the cotton field. OK?”

“You should be,” Williams shot back.

“Oh, I should be? OK,” Lee said and left the meeting but later returned.

“Lee told the affiliate later it was not the first time that he has heard racially insensitive remarks at a meeting,” according to CNN.

“He smiles in your face and makes racial remarks,” Lee said, “I am pretty much used to it by now. I had it last meeting. It is a poor representation of the council.”

But Williams explained the remark wasn’t meant to be racial.

“I worked in the cotton field,” he said. “I drove a cotton basket many miles. It is not a racial remark at all. [Lee] makes everything racial.”

In a letter to Mayor Chuck Shaheen and city councilmen, NAACP president Larry Holmes wrote, “We believe public officials who are elected by the people are to serve ALL the people without regards to color, race, or religion and are mandated to do so. Council members with problems of being touched by blacks and wishing them back into ‘cotton fields’ have no business serving on city council. We believe this Councilman would serve the city of Warner Robins better by resigning his position.”

This video is from CNN, broadcast Oct. 19, 2010.

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David Edwards
David Edwards
David Edwards has served as an editor at Raw Story since 2006. His work can also be found at Crooks & Liars, and he's also been published at The BRAD BLOG. He came to Raw Story after working as a network manager for the state of North Carolina and as as engineer developing enterprise resource planning software. Follow him on Twitter at @DavidEdwards.
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