White adviser branded racist in meeting after calling black adviser ‘ghetto’
A white Michigan councilwoman has been forced to apologize after calling the black president’s actions “ghetto” during a six-hour meeting.
Eva Worthing, who sits on the Flint City Council, was overheard making the remark at Wednesday’s meeting, which then quickly descended into chaos.
The argument began around the four-hour mark, as council members discussed the technicalities of whether a resolution could be changed.
Some board members suggested that making an amendment at the meeting would put the agenda out of order, but Worthing said “a motion is always in order.”
Black President Jerri Winfrey-Carter asked “Why are we changing this motion?”
“Because we can,” Worthing replied immediately.
Flint, Michigan city councilwoman Eva Worthing argued with city council meeting chair calling it ‘ghetto’
Worthing used a word after being frustrated with the Jerri Winfrey-Carter chair, which is black
The exchange took place around four hours after a long six-hour city council meeting
The remark and general tone then generated other impassioned responses, some of which were out of microphone range.
“You know what, don’t have fun here, because I will,” Winfrey-Carter said.
Worthing reportedly made a comment which, although not picked up by the microphones, was later repeated by fellow Council member Tonya Burns, who replied, “Really?” It’s a racist term. Don’t say “ghetto”.
A number of council members then expressed their offense at Worthing’s remark.
Council member Tonya Burns then slammed Worthing saying her use of the word ‘ghetto’ was racist
— Point of information, Madam President. I think it’s a personal attack to say “go ghetto,” Burns said.
Worthing then received a warning from Winfrey-Carter, which she then attempted to appeal.
“I don’t know what’s going on, but I’m not here to play. I’m here to be fair. I want to hear from all my colleagues… Everyone is going to have a chance to speak.
Winfrey-Carter chided “all Councilwoman Worthing’s ad libs are useless”. And having said what she said was not necessary… she was in a mess, point blank.
But Worthing didn’t back down: “First of all, we shouldn’t even be having this discussion. The motion should have been seconded, discussed and voted on. You chose to threaten me in some way, so I thought it was inappropriate, Ms. Winfrey-Carter, so if you hadn’t said that, there wouldn’t have been a reaction. When you’re president, you have to be professional and treat everyone the same.
Worthing defended herself by saying other board members had “abused” her in the four-and-a-half years she was on the board.
Worthing posted an apology on her Facebook page, but still suggested she should be the one to apologize to
Worthing, who is a teacher, said she felt embarrassed. “I was actually just shocked that it came out of my mouth in the first place. I don’t normally talk that way. It was just frustration, pure frustration,” she said.
Afterwards, other council members chimed in to express their opinions on Worthing’s use of the word “ghetto”.
“For me, there are racial connotations. You may laugh, Ms. Worthing, but I can find safe names for your neighborhood,” said Councilman Eric Mays, who is also black.
Once again, Worthing defended herself by saying that Mays once called her a “wicked woman” in reference to her race.
“We are offended that you call us a ghetto. Now, I’ll assure you that I’ll pick up some words and call you something. I don’t want to call you trailer-nothing, but I will,” Mays said.
“My reputation is that when you go down once, I go down two, three times,” added Mays. “And the sooner the council members find out about this…I’m keeping score.”
But the damage had been done and more council members then piled on Worthing’s use of the “ghetto”.
Flint, Michigan City Councilwoman Jerri Winfrey-Carter is seen in photos from her campaign pages
“I’m offended and appalled, when you talk about ‘ghetto’ and there are seven black people here, that’s a problem,” Burns said.
“We have to be careful, because there is no superiority in any race, we are all equal here.”
“You teach kids, and are you comfortable with using ‘ghetto’?” Burns added, noting Worthing’s day job.
Worthing didn’t react well and likened Burns’ comment to a personal attack.
President Winfrey-Carter chimed in once again, “You’ve been making personal attacks all evening, so let her finish her statement.”
Worthing couldn’t take it anymore.
“I’m going to apologize, Madam President, it’s not fair”, before getting up and leaving the meeting.
Worthing later apologized saying she was sorry for her comment.
“I was actually just shocked that it came out of my mouth in the first place. I don’t normally talk that way. It was just frustration, pure frustration,” she said.
“It was an instinctive reaction. I said, ‘It’s the ghetto’ in my beard,” Worthing told MLive.
Worthing also said she was the one who deserved an apology.
“I suffered so much abuse on this council. I was never given an apology,’ Worthing told Fox News.
She also accused Burns of calling her a racist and a liar.
‘Why is this behavior allowed? It’s about race. The three white women on this new council have seen their race singled out by Eric Mays. There was no story and there were no excuses,’ Worthing said.
“As leaders, we should model the behavior we want to see in our city. And sadly, that hasn’t happened yet in the four years that I’ve been on the board,” she said.
In a statement on Facebook, Worthing claimed she had been the subject of derogatory comments from other council members for years.
“I was called a mean white woman, my children and my job were raised, and my white privilege was mentioned only to degrade my opinions,” her statement read.
“I’m so sorry for my choice of words. Those who know my heart know that I would NEVER use someone’s race to degrade them. In this case, I said it because I was threatened with very unprofessional manner by Jerri Winfrey-Carter I used that term to describe Carter’s actions which I found extremely unsophisticated.
“No one can tell ME how I used that term but me and it is NOT an inherently racist term. Normally I don’t use language like that in the first place. I’m mad at myself… I wish I had handled this better. I am very hard on myself. I am still upset about it today. However, this moment does not define me. I will continue to work hard for the residents of my neighborhood.