A former elected official repeatedly used a racial slur during a public debate in Georgia over Confederate History Month -- but a black city commissioner was silenced for voicing his objection to the racist language.
Larry Johnson, a white former Griffin city commissioner, spoke up at a March 28 meeting during a debate over the proclamation of April as Confederate History Month, reported WXIA-TV.
The former commissioner complained that District 6 Commissioner Rodney McCord, who is black, refused to pledge allegiance to the American flag, and Johnson said he'd responded by wearing a Confederate flag belt buckle.
Then the older man recounted a conversation he'd had with McCord about his own background.
"I told you at that time that there were white folks and there were black folks when I was growing up," Johnson said. "There was white trash, my family, and there was 'N*ggertown,' and I lived next to 'N*ggertown.'"
McCord immediately challenged him.
"You grew up next to what town?" he asked.
"'N*ggertown,' son, I'm telling you," Johnson said. "Now, I've changed. I'm no longer called white trash and they're no longer called that."
McCord, who had been bantering with his former colleague, objected to Johnson's language -- but commission chairman Douglas Hollberg ordered him to let the other man continue speaking.
"I'm not going to sit here and let this man use that time of language," McCord said. "And, if nobody else is offended, then I am."
Johnson apologized for being offensive, and insisted he no longer used the racial slur.
"You just used it then," McCord reminded him.
Hollberg asked McCord to let Johnson make his point so commissioners could move on to other issues, but he again objected to the racist language.
"Now, if y'all want to clap and think that that's OK for this gentleman to stand in 2018 and get here at the board of city commission meeting -- 2018 -- the Civil War is over and he is using the n-word not once, not twice -- three times," Mccord said. "And he just continues to say it without worrying about who it offends."
Hollberg asked Johnson not to use the N-word again, and the former commissioner agreed before making historically dubious claims about black troops serving under the Confederacy.
"My skin is white, my neck is red and I was born in a Southern bed," Johnson said. "Nothing wrong with that, I hope that doesn't offend anybody."
Hollberg asked him to step away from the podium after going over his allotted time, and Johnson insisted the Civil War was not fought over slavery as he walked away.
McCord, who was first elected to the commission in 1994, was silenced earlier in the meeting after asking for a vote on the Confederate History Month proclamation.
“Overall, just being offended to hear someone speak that way at a public meeting, in a public place," McCord told the TV station. "For him to use that word, to think that it was okay. It wasn’t a slip. It seemed malicious because he said it three times.”