Even though some words aren’t defined as racial epithets per se, you can still find yourself in serious trouble for using them in the wrong context or if said by the wrong person. Calling someone “ghetto” can be troubling regardless of the mouth it’s coming out of, but particularly when a white person uses it in reference to a person of color.
A Michigan councilwoman became the latest example of that during a recent committee meeting after other members described her actions as unprofessional and offensive for referring to a Black colleague as “ghetto” under her breath.
MLive reports that 9th Ward Councilwoman Eva Worthing of Flint made the comment last week after feeling “threatened” by comments made by 5th Ward Councilwoman Jerri Winfrey-Carter. For reference, Worthing is white and Winfrey-Carter is Black. 6th Ward Councilwoman Tonya Burns initially caught wind of the comment and decided to repeat it, also adding, “To say ghetto and to say it so easily and to laugh about it, that disturbs me.” Burns elaborated by commenting further, “That’s just wrong … You teach children and you’re comfortable saying ‘ghetto’?”
Worthing has since issued an apology, calling it a “knee-jerk reaction.” Take a look below at how she decided to defend her use of language further, via MLive:
“In a Facebook statement, Worthing, a teacher at Michigan Virtual Charter Academy, said she has been on the receiving end of derogatory comments made by other council members for years.
‘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.’
‘No one can tell ME how I used that term but me and it is NOT a term that is inherently racist,’ the statement says. ‘I normally do not use language like that in the first place. I am angry at myself … I wish I had handled this better. I am very hard on myself. I’m still upset about it today. However, this one moment does not define me. I will continue to work hard for the residents of my ward.’”
The initial comment derived from a disagreement in how appointed leader Winfrey-Carter was conducting the meeting. Worthing felt aggravated that her colleague “refused to ask [Flint] city clerk how to properly chair the meeting.”
Regardless of how you feel in any heated situation, resulting to name-calling is clearly never the answer.
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White Michigan Councilwoman Gets Backlash For Referring To Black Colleague As “Ghetto” was originally published on blackamericaweb.com