Racist GA Mayor Needs To Get The F*KKK Out
Welcome to Post-Racial America! It's a magical place where the president calls black NFL players "sons of bitches" but actual Nazis "very fine people." It's also where a black job applicant is openly rejected because he's black and, well, did you notice how black he was?
Hoschton, Georgia, is 50 miles northeast of Atlanta. It's also 30 miles north of Athens, where we attended college and women of all colors rejected us based solely on the content of our character. Hoschton is 90 percent white, and the mayor is 100 percent racist. Theresa Kenerly reportedly told a member of the city council that she pulled Keith Henry's resume from consideration for city administrator "because he is black, and the city isn't ready for this." This was in March ... of 2019.
The state of Georgia was ready for a black woman governor if her opponent hadn't fixed the election. Kenerly thinks raggedy-ass Hoschton with its population of 1,870 can't cope with a black city administrator? Is it the town from Blazing Saddles?
Kenerly has her racism game down but she's less skilled at covering it up. She just went around confessing her grossness to people like she was under a truth spell. Hoschton's city code forbids racial discrimination, but during a closed-door council meeting, she explained why she was racially discriminating against Henry in a conspiratorial stage whisper. (That's what we call consciousness of guilt.) She cornered Councilwoman Hope Weeks after the meeting in the parking lot, when Weeks probably just wanted to go home and put her feet up.
WEEKS: She proceeded to tell me that the candidate was real good, but he was black and we don't have a big black population and she just didn't think Hoschton was ready for that.
As a black person, we don't want to advise racists on how best to discriminate against us, but seriously, there's no need to concede that the candidate you wish to unlawfully deny employment was "real good." Just claim you're "raising the bar" like the hoodie-wearing exec in an Amazon job interview.
Weeks and fellow council member Susan Powers escalated the matter to city attorney Thomas Mitchell. This was the right thing to do. It was also practical. Kenerly was so openly and unsubtly racist that a normal person might think she was wearing a wire: "Would you care to engage in criminal activity? Please state your answer clearly into my lapel flower."
Mitchell in turn made a ridiculous deal where the mayor attended the remaining interviews but wouldn't participate.
"[Kenerly] is not going to speak or ask questions," attorney Mitchell wrote.
The attorney also warned city officials to stop putting their concerns in writing.
"I do not think it in the best interests of the city (or the individual elected officials) to continue emailing in this manner," he wrote in a March 14 email.
Powers objected to this move because she believed the mayor had "corrupted" the entire process. Henry had already voluntarily withdrawn his candidacy by this point. When told about Kenerly's comments, Henry wasn't surprised on account of his being black and conscious. He did say he couldn't detect any bias from the mayor when speaking with her over the phone. But this is the South. A racist lady from Georgia is superficially nicer than a Seattle priest.
Kenerly originally pled confusion: "I can't say I said it or not said it" were actual words that came from her mouth. She later issued a statement that was equally evasive but longer.
KENERLY: i do not recall making the statement attributed to me regarding any applicant for the City Administrator position, and I deny that I made any statement that suggest (sic) prejudice.
The mayor does not recall that she was racist but she denies ever having been racist. Not sure that'll hold up in court. Fortunately, Councilman Jim Cleveland is going to help her out and implicate her some more.
CLEVELAND: I understood where she was coming from. I understand Theresa saying that, simply because we're not Atlanta. Things are different here than they are 50 miles down the road.
This isn't the Oregon Trail where half your family could die from cholera during just 50 miles of your trip. It's also not 1849. Yet Cleveland contends that Hoschton isn't up to speed on all the newfangled 21st Century racial sensibilities. He also decided to voluntarily share his "no-race-mixing" beliefs.
CLEVELAND: I'm a Christian and my Christian beliefs are you don't do interracial marriage. That's the way I was brought up and that's the way I believe. I have black friends [WE DOUBT THAT], I hired black people. But when it comes to all this stuff you see on TV, when you see blacks and whites together, it makes my blood boil because that's just not the way a Christian is supposed to live.
Dude, Queen Elizabeth now has a black great-grandson. Get over yourself.
Kenerly claims she was "looking out" for Henry because there aren't many black people in Hoschton and ... Sweet Christ, did you even read the past few paragraphs? It's the land time and the Civil Rights Act forgot. Kenerly has shed high-octane white lady tears to save her career, but even Erick Erickson thinks she needs to resign. When The Resurgent has a similar editorial stance as The Root, you know you're in trouble. We'd suggest Kenerly go back to what she was doing before she was mayor, but according to LinkedIn, she was a real estate agent for 25 years. There's just no saving black people from her.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle. Tickets are on sale now for his latest Nordo collaboration, "Curiouser and Curiouser," an adaptation of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass." It promises to feel like an actual evening with SER (for good or for ill).