Astonishing footage out of Minnesota shows the Mayor of New Brighton breaking down into tears after one fellow councilmember refuses to acknowledge her “white privilege.”
In an October 3, 2017, city council meeting, councilwoman Mary Burg lectures her fellow peers on why they should feel guilty for being white.
“Okay, we all have white privilege. We don’t know what it’s like to not have it because we do. We go everywhere and we’re just… we have that. We… we don’t know the difference. We don’t know what it’s like to not have it and I said we can’t do what… look at who’s up here. We can’t move forward as all being people of white privilege. We can’t, because we don’t know the difference of not having it.”
Burg’s outlandish assertions were immediately challenged by councilwoman Gina Bauman, who explained she was a child of immigrants and had to work hard for what she had.
“Because I’m white, you think I was privileged my whole life? Are you kidding?” Bauman retorts. “I grew up in an Italian neighborhood. They came here – my grandfather came – they didn’t speak English, but they assimilated.”
Bauman goes on to highlight why she finds Burg’s comments reprehensible, saying, “I resent that you think that I had white privilege.”
“Everybody I work for, or with is usually from another country and they say to me, here’s what they say, is we as Americans don’t realize – and it doesn’t matter what color we are as Americans, because I believe we are all Americans – is that we are privileged to just live here.
“So I don’t want to think that this body doesn’t feel that they can’t represent people because they’re white, and that again to me is just saying, ‘I’m different because of color.’ No. I might be different because of culture, because of tradition, but those are the things that I think I always ask when I, cause I work with these people.
“I ask about their country, I ask about their families, I ask how it is, how they feel about America. All of that. That’s how you get to know somebody. That’s how you get to understand where they come from, where their opinions come from. But I don’t think you can make such a broad brush and say that we’ve all been privileged or that we don’t understand because we’re white.”
The confrontation escalates when Mayor Val Johnson wades into the debate, proceeding to accuse Bauman of being “racist” for refusing to admit being white is wrong.
“You are the exact reason we need this commission,” Mayor Johnson tells Bauman. “If you don’t understand white privilege then you are not representing those people. You’re not willing to listen to them and what you have just said is the most racist…”
“Excuse me?” Bauman shoots back. “Don’t you ever, ever accuse me of that. You have no basis to say something like that in public and no basis to say something like that.”
“Let me rephrase that,” the mayor says, attempting to walk back the incendiary language. “That statement was one of the most racist things I’ve ever heard.”
“What statement?” Bauman inquires.
“That you are offended by the fact that you’re not feeling the white privilege thing,” the mayor answers. “White privilege exists and it is something that we need to accept in this country.”
The meeting descends into chaos when Mayor Johnson slams her hand on the table and exclaims, “You’re interrupting me! And by golly I’m running this meeting!”
“You know what? We’re on camera and you’re accusing me of something pretty big here,” Bauman says. “And it’s unacceptable because you have no case.”
“You’re out of order!” Johnson says.
“And you’re out of line!” Bauman asserts.
“Quit interrupting me. I’m gonna finish my statement. What I heard was a racist statement. What I heard was a racist statement. No you’re discrediting…. I… Goddammit Gina, I’m passionate about this,” the mayor says, choking back tears. “I am so passionate about hearing the other sides of the story, and for you to disregard the fact that white privilege exists is beyond me.”
The New Brighton City website indicates Johnson’s term expires on 12/31/2017.
The discussion is receiving fresh scrutiny after Youtube producer Mark Dice rehashed the incident in a recent viral video.
H/T: Mark Dice