Greenwood Councilman Lambasted for Racial Slur | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Greenwood Councilman Lambasted for Racial Slur

The Associated Press is reporting that Greenwood Councilman John Lee sent an e-mail last week to a group of whites criticizing black Council President David Jordan, and calling him a "n*gger":

A Greenwood councilman has apologized for using a racial slur in an e-mail referring to the council's black president David Jordan.

"I am sorry that I used the language that I used," John Lee said Friday in a prepared statement. "I did not intend for it to be harmful to David nor to our community. I will continue to work with David, and I hope that David will continue to work with me to make our community a better place to live."

Lee, who is white, sent the e-mail last week to 15 individuals, all white. It was written the morning after a city council meeting and 13 days after the fatal shooting of Greenwood High School senior Erica Duncan, who was black. "Had a long talk after the city council meeting ... with David Jordan," Lee wrote in the e-mail. "The ole n-- can't understand why the black's (sic) continue to shoot one another. I told him he needed to spend less time with the old people at the Voter's League and more time with the young people about getting an education"

Lee said while the two councilmen were talking, a young black man came up and asked Jordan for work. When Jordan, who also serves as a state senator, quizzed the unnamed man about what he did for a living, according to Lee, he responded that he was a rapper. "I told David he missed his chance," Lee wrote in the e-mail. "He should have told that black boy he should be in school getting his education in order to have a future."

Previous Comments

ID
129608
Comment

An apology isn't enough for such outrageously racist remarks. He should step down immediately, and the people of Greenwood should demand that he does. You gotta love all the evidence that racism is a thing of the past, eh?

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2008-05-12T09:43:21-06:00
ID
129612
Comment

How can you use that word and not "intend" for it to be harmful? And not only did he use the word, but he actually typed it out in an email and hit send. He is certainly a racist, and obviously he is a damned idiot as well!

Author
ellen
Date
2008-05-12T10:07:00-06:00
ID
129616
Comment

I thought Jordan and I were too old for this stuff to happen to us anymore. I'm especially bothered it happened to him by a fellow council person.

Author
Walt
Date
2008-05-12T10:42:28-06:00
ID
129618
Comment

Despicable. There should be huge outcries over this, especially when you consider that Greenwood is two-thirds black. But it doesn't matter if no black people lived in Greenwood, it's something you just don't say.

Author
golden eagle
Date
2008-05-12T11:12:48-06:00
ID
129620
Comment

Dave Chappelle should get this. It's great material for one of his skits. Imagine the outcry among right wing nuts if an African American politician said this. It would be on CNN.

Author
FreeClif
Date
2008-05-12T11:21:17-06:00
ID
129621
Comment

Imagine the outcry among right wing nuts if an African American politician said this. It would be on CNN. So true. Ironic, eh? Right-wing nuts haven't figured out, yet, that if they want to be taken seriously when they criticize the language of black people they need to be just as outraged when the old-fashioned kind of racial slurs start flying–from white guys.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2008-05-12T11:29:13-06:00
ID
129622
Comment

But let's not go easy on the lefties while we're at it. I've seen some say of late that it's OK for a white guy to use the n-word in public if he's talking about another white guy.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2008-05-12T11:30:48-06:00
ID
129623
Comment

I was called this very recently by a young white male gas station attendant. I temporarily had visions of doing a Bush/Cheney on him but I soon realized it would have been an overreaction that served very little purpose at all except for messing him up physically. Hopefully, he'll say it soon to the wrong brother and get beat up or killed like a Tolbert kid in Philadelphia did some 15 years ago. Once again, Jordan, a man erroneously casted as racist and prejudice by some clearly prejudiced, racist and ignorant people all over Mississippi, has shown greater humanity in his response than all his detractors.

Author
Walt
Date
2008-05-12T11:37:49-06:00
ID
129624
Comment

This man actually took time to write an email, write the word out and send it to 15 other people. How did the receivers of the email react? I'm curious to know if they even noticed the word, or were at all offended by it. It's really to bad that those who have authority in some way or the other of our cities and state, are still drenched in this ignorance. It is harmful, not just to black people, or Jordan, but to all of us....everyone in Greenwood and everywhere else. i agree he needs to step down. he can't very well represent a town like Greenwood and view black people as rappers and the n-word. It's a shame!!!! Oh yeah, I should add that i am OUTRAGED~~~~

Author
Queen601
Date
2008-05-12T12:19:02-06:00
ID
129627
Comment

This is not surprising. We all know that racism is very much alive and well in this state, the south and across this country. The mentality in the delta has not changed at all. Being that he has shown that he is racist and an idiot, he should at least step down from the council!

Author
Fitz
Date
2008-05-12T12:57:34-06:00
ID
129628
Comment

By the way, I like the pictures or faces of the columnists attached to their columns. Todd you shold is handsome! Don't take it the wrong way anybody.

Author
Walt
Date
2008-05-12T12:59:55-06:00
ID
129629
Comment

It should not be a surprise to any realistic person that there is an old white dude in Mississippi who would use that word in that way. The comfort to me is that I do believe that the younger generations of white Americans are much less likely to be like minded. I believe this is evidenced by the generation gap that we see in Obama's support. He does not do well among elderly whites, but does very well with those under 45. It says a lot about how far we have come. We only have to wait a few years and there will be a lot fewer of the old sad throwback types.

Author
FreeClif
Date
2008-05-12T13:02:01-06:00
ID
129631
Comment

It's not surprising, but it is disgusting. The fact that he is a so-called "leader" makes it that much more appalling. Agreed on the Obama generation gap. What does it say that Clinton is appealing to more uneducated whites? I mean, the reason seems obvious. Is she proud of that? She seems to be, based on that disgusting remark last week. I can't imagine that Obama would even think about picking her for veep after that, not that I think he would anyway.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2008-05-12T13:30:37-06:00
ID
129634
Comment

Hil and Bill have surely gone crazy trying to win this nomination. I'm still waiting on Chelsea to say "mom and dad, like many people by this point, I've discovered y'all are some crazy white folks for stooping so low. I renounce my association with you and I'm supporting Obama like most sensible young people are. Good luck and do keep some of that money for retirement. Your friends are likely to be few by the time this thing is over with."

Author
Walt
Date
2008-05-12T13:44:44-06:00
ID
129636
Comment

The analysis that I have seen shows that he even does decently among younger uneducated whites. He does not get the majority that he does among younger well educated whites but he does not get stomped like he does with the uneducated whites over fifty. Among whites under thirty without a college degree I think he was down only 55/45. So, there is great hope for the future. i hope. p.s. Walt, she should be required to both renounce AND reject (just the provincial views and race-baiting).

Author
FreeClif
Date
2008-05-12T13:55:37-06:00
ID
129637
Comment

The analysis that I have seen shows that he even does decently among younger uneducated whites. True, Whitley. It does give us hope, eh? And it is just as disgusting when the Clintons race-bait for votes as it is when Republicans do it. The outcry on the left should be just as loud.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2008-05-12T13:58:38-06:00
ID
129680
Comment

He. Needs. To. Go. This isn't just some slip of the tongue, people. He took the time to put it in writing. That dumb move alone should send him packing.

Author
LatashaWillis
Date
2008-05-12T19:54:42-06:00
ID
129704
Comment

Completely unacceptable and heinous. I hope he has drafted his resignation.

Author
QB
Date
2008-05-13T09:34:29-06:00
ID
129706
Comment

Better yet, he ought to volunteer to be part of a racial-reconciliation dialogue in Greenwood. It's a town that sorely needs one, from what we've seen.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2008-05-13T09:35:56-06:00
ID
129707
Comment

The sad part is that his white supporters will probably consider this a reason to vote for him again. It's not like the southern strategy is dead and buried just yet. And even as national Republicans are forced to stop using it, it will take a while to filter down to Barbour et al. and then local politicians like this caveman.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2008-05-13T09:37:18-06:00
ID
129882
Comment

Some of the comments left under this article are . . . let's call them . . . interesting. Jordan Calls for Lee's Resignation http://gwcommonwealth.com/articles/2008/05/12/news/top_stories/news01.txt

Author
C.W.
Date
2008-05-15T15:39:21-06:00
ID
129916
Comment

i think it is appropriate for the rest of the City Council to rebuke him openly and insist that he is obviously not a man who can be expected to work meaningfully and constructively with black leaders in his city specifically because of his racist world view. i was apalled that this made it into the story -tacked onto the end: Stevenson said the use of slurs by a public official isn't the same as rappers' use of similar words in their lyrics. "We should be held to a higher standard," he said. Did Councilperson Stevenson volunteer this information? Was this quote prompted by a "journalist"? This should be an assumed understanding in the context of this discussion. Of course a black rapper using the word in a song is different than an old white Southern politician using it in a correspondence with other influential townspeople. i can't believe the recipients to the email have not come out to denounce the language. Are they not bothered by the implication of having received such a casual correspondence of such matters? Perhaps the question is who are these 15 people and are they connected in a conspiracy to disaffect their African-American neighbors?

Author
daniel johnson
Date
2008-05-16T22:36:46-06:00
ID
129918
Comment

Somebody outed him, somebody white, which is some progress. I think Donna is on to something in saying that he should volunteer to be part of a dialogue - he needs to be the initiator. I was almost as appalled by some of the comments to the articles as I was by the language of Mr. Lee. It's all to obvious that they are not only not surprised at it, but are basically saying, Oh, so what? I was somewhat taken by Chawla's letter to the editor calling for a dialogue, although some of the things he/she said were a little disconnected to the problem. I had some really mixed feeling on reading it.

Author
C.W.
Date
2008-05-17T07:31:17-06:00
ID
129920
Comment

Somebody outed him, somebody white, which is some progress. That is true, C.W. Let's give credit where it's due. He should initiate the dialogue, if he actually sees the error of his ways and isn't just trying to save his political career. Hell, even Lott went on BET. [giggle]

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2008-05-17T08:48:21-06:00
ID
129922
Comment

Ha! He did, indeed. And as little as I care for Mr. Lott, I had to give him credit for that (although his colleagues didn't seem to think too highly of it). In fact, I really thought the BET apology was why he was, not too politely, asked to leave his post. Doesn't pay for a bigot to be too apolegetic, lest his fellow bigots toss him to the wolves. Unless he was sincere (something I would have a hard time believing). I'm sure it's hard for people in a small town to acknowledge this sort of behavior in someone they deal with every day; but the embarrassment they feel at having that behavior shown to the world is worth it's weight in gold. They may not believe it now, but it should help them along their path to better understanding. If it doesn't, they deserve anything they get.

Author
C.W.
Date
2008-05-17T10:53:22-06:00
ID
129923
Comment

By the way, I meant to ask if any of y'all had read the Chawla letter http://www.gwcommonwealth.com/articles/2008/05/13/opinion/letters_to_the_editor/letter01.txt and what you thought of it. It's from a fairly unique point of view, reading it, and although there are things in the letter that make the hair stand up on the back of my neck, there are some comments worth taking seriously. I'd be really interested in anyone else's take on this letter. Just be sure and read all the way to the end, because the beginning is pretty off-putting.

Author
C.W.
Date
2008-05-17T11:04:52-06:00
ID
129924
Comment

C.W. Thanks for the link. The first few paragraphs are a little misleading. Once I got past them, where the writer is coming from, agree with what he says or not, is nuanced and well reasoned. To me, he's pointing out where we're all stuck and how easy it is to take a correct position without solving the problem, polarize and not lead to a better understanding. I'd like to see, more analysis of nuance and less being sure about right views or opinions. He offers fairly progressive courses of action as a solution. I could probably say it a little better but I'm going out in the woods on my ATV now.

Author
willdufauve
Date
2008-05-17T13:20:02-06:00

COVID-19 has closed down the main sources of the JFP's revenue -- concerts, festivals, fundraisers, restaurants and bars. If everyone reading this article gives $5 or more, we should be able to continue publishing through the crisis. Please pay what you can to keep us reporting and publishing.

Comments

Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

comments powered by Disqus