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City, white councilmen exhibit 'latent racism' 

Editor,

I’d like to comment on your recent Editor’s Note, “Time to bite the bullet and move on,” about the City Council’s deadlock over selecting a City Manager.

Ignoring the phony story about meeting a “gentleman” from another Southern city (surely a journalistic ploy), if it is true that racial animosity should be held accountable for the upcoming “decline” of beautiful Savannah, then it is obvious whose fault it will be.

Not African Americans, that’s for sure.

Let’s stop pretending that whites don’t have privilege here and that there is no discrimination and that everything is just fine. In fact, to my way of thinking, the conflict over the City Manager having to be “white” or the “whites” won’t vote for him/her, heralds a better future for us all because it brings the latent racism of the city and the white councilmen into focus.

It is very clear: the white councilmen fear either their constituencies’ wrath, or their own harder times under a black woman city manager who may not be as disinterested in issues to do with the poorer neighborhoods than whites would like (and are accustomed to).

And the black councilmen seem determined to hold the line and are thereby exposing this latent racism. When things come out into the open, there is reason to believe progress can be made.

Racism is ugly, for sure, but hidden racism is probably the ugliest, being the most difficult to combat.

The editor states that Rochelle Small–Toney is, in fact, technically qualified for the job. What other “qualifications” are there?

And I wouldn’t exactly call being mayor of Savannah a position that would lead to one being “flush with power,” as the editor remarks.

On the contrary, the mayor seems not able without criticism to even discuss with a church congregation how the terms of majority rule can be so easily switched off when it suits the ruling elite. (South Africa is a case in point, surely.)

Of course the civil rights movement was not about securing the rights of some unnamed minority against the tyranny of a phantom majority; it was about securing the civil rights of a class of citizens (Black), whatever their numbers, who were being unlawfully denied them under a supposedly “democratic” state.

Finally, to advise a white alderman to “bite the bullet” and go over to the other side and vote for Small–Toney (even though she is black, and a woman), suggests that would be the magnanimous thing, thus showing white superiority once again. How patronizing.

Evan Turnbull

Editor’s Note: So let me get this straight: I’m wrong, and possibly a racist, because I wrote that Ms. Small-Toney is qualified for the job and that white council members should have voted for her? Seriously, Evan, your egregious mischaracterizations of the column are too numerous to respond to here, and regardless, everyone is entitled to their opinion. However I must say for the record that the “story” about the gentleman in question is entirely true and his identity was concealed at his request.

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