NEW BRIGHTON, Minn. – A New Brighton City Council meeting turned into a shouting match with tears and profanity after one council member brought up “white privilege.”
A video of the meeting, compiled by the Alliance for a Better New Brighton, shows the moment the debate erupted. Council Member Mary Burg brought up the topic, saying her fellow council members “all have white privilege” and “don’t know the difference.” Burg implied white privilege was preventing the Council from being able to represent the city’s varying demographics. The comment drew a quick rebuke from Council Member Gina Bauman who rejected the idea of white privilege.
“Because I’m white, you think I was privileged my whole life? Are you kidding?” Bauman said.
“I don’t think you can make such a broad brush and say that we have all been privileged or that we don’t understand because we’re white.”
Bauman described her multicultural work environment and argued the Council should focus on differences in culture and tradition rather than color of skin. Mayor Val Johnson jumped into the debate and lashed out at Bauman, calling the council member’s comments racist.
“You are the exact reason we need this commission. If you don’t understand white privilege, then you are not representing those people. You’re not wiling to listen to them, and what you have just said is one of the most racist–” Johnson said before being cut off by Bauman.
“Excuse me? Don’t you ever, ever accuse me of that,” Bauman said. “You have no basis to say something like that in public. And no basis to say something like that.”
The debate escalated, turning into a shouting match with both women yelling that the other was “out of order.” Johnson eventually appeared to break down into tears before uttering a profanity and saying “Gina, I’m passionate about this. I’m so passionate about hearing all sides of the story, and for you to disregard the fact that white privilege exists is beyond me.”
Watch the tense exchange below:
Val Johnson Goes Berserk re 'White Privilege.' Please be sure to vote on November 7 – print a sample ballot here bit.ly/cityNB. PLEASE SHARE this with others.
Posted by Alliance for a Better New Brighton on Monday, October 30, 2017