A white Flint City councilwoman has apologized for calling her Black colleague’s actions “ghetto” during a six-hour committee meeting on Wednesday, May 4.
According to the Daily Mail, Eva Worthing of Michigan was heard making the racist remark, leading to a heated argument between her and the other council members. Several of them were Black. The councilwoman later apologized, calling her remark a “knee-jerk reaction” to what she had experienced as unfair treatment.
According to Fox News, Worthing was reportedly frustrated with Black chairwoman Jerri Winfrey-Carter during a discussion about amending a resolution to set public hearings about council rules.
The dispute began after some council members agreed that the amendment would disrupt the order of the agenda, but Worthing said that “a motion is always in order.”
After Worthing’s statement, Winfrey-Carter asked, ‘Why are we amending this motion?’
Worthing quickly responded, “Because we can.” At this moment, Worthing reacted with, “That’s ghetto.”
Winfrey-Carter then warned Worthing, “I don’t know what’s going on, but I’m not here to play. I am here to be fair. I want to hear from all of my colleagues…. Everybody is going to have a chance to speak.”
But Worthing appealed her colleague’s warning: “You chose to threaten me in some way, so I thought that was inappropriate, Ms. Winfrey-Carter, so if you had not said, there would have been no reaction. When you’re a chair, you should be professional and treat everyone the same.”
MLive reported that several council members called Worthing out for her offensive remark and tone and her unprofessionalism.
“To say ghetto and to say it so easily and to laugh about it, that disturbs me,” 6th Ward Councilwoman Tonya Burns said. “That’s just wrong … You teach children, and you’re comfortable saying ghetto?”
‘I am offended and appalled when you speak to ‘ghetto’ and it’s seven Black people here. That’s a problem,’ Burns added, as per the Daily Mail.
Other council members reacted, sharing their opinions on the matter.
‘To me, it’s got some racial overtones. You can laugh, Ms. Worthing, but I can come up with some sure names for your neighborhood,’ said Eric Mays, a Black councilman.
Worthing didn’t want to hear anymore, so she eventually left in the middle of the meeting.
In a Facebook statement, as per MLive, Worthing, a teacher at Michigan Virtual Charter Academy, is accusing the council members of years of targeted, derogatory comments toward her.
“I have been called a nasty white woman, my children and occupation have been brought up, and my white privilege has been mentioned solely to degrade my opinions,” her statement says. “I am very sorry for my choice of words. Those who know my heart know I would NEVER ever use someone’s race to degrade them. In this case, I said it because I was threatened in a very unprofessional manner by Jerri Winfrey-Carter. I used this term to describe actions by Carter that I found extremely unsophisticated.”