A small city in Georgia is embroiled in a series of controversies surrounding racist dialogues due to alleged statements by its mayor, and confirmed statements from a member of the city council.
Hoschton, Georgia, Mayor Theresa Kenerly is taking heat for comments that Councilwoman Hope Weeks alleged she made about a candidate applying to become the city’s next administrator. Keith Henry, a black man, was by all accounts a qualified candidate for that role.
But according to a memo written by Weeks, the mayor expressed to her in private concerns over Henry being black. Kenerly, Weeks wrote, told her that “she just didn’t think Hoschton was ready for” a black administrator, since the city is 80 percent white, according to reporting from NBC News.
Kenerly denied making that statement.
“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” suggested she denied Henry a position based on race, she said.
After that revelation was made, however, another member of the council, Jim Cleveland, defended Kenerly’s comments.
“I don’t know how they [residents] would take it if we selected a black administrator. She might have been right,” Cleveland said.
Hoschton, GA Councilman Jim Cleveland defending his unprompted comments on interracial marriage after a town hall (via Sharon Diane on Facebook): @CNN @andersoncooper @ajc @stacyabrams pic.twitter.com/5bddw4n6gb
— savannah (@shortvanburen) May 7, 2019
He cited his religious beliefs as reason why he might believe the same, bringing up interracial marriage as something he couldn’t condone as a Christian.
“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,” he said, per reporting from Patheos.
Cleveland tried to defend his statements by stating he does have black people in his life. But he also expressed outrage at the media portraying blacks and whites co-mingling together.
“I have black friends, I hired black people,” Cleveland said. “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.”
Chris Walker is a freelance writer based out of Madison, Wisconsin. A millennial with more than a decade of journalism experience, Chris aims to provide readers with the latest and most accurate news of national importance. Chris likes to spend his free time doing activities in his community with his family.