Flint city councilwoman Eva Worthing called Black colleague Jerri Winfrey-Carter “ghetto” under her breath during a committee meeting, reported MLive. Another Black colleague overheard the remark and brought it to the attention of the committee, calling Worthing unprofessional and offensive.
Worthing told NBC affiliate Mid-Michigan NOW that she was frustrated with the way Winfrey-Carter was leading the meeting. She said Winfrey-Carter threatened to “go all out” on her and was also chairing the meeting incorrectly. Worthing then muttered off her microphone, “That’s ghetto,” which Black councilwoman Tonya Burns overheard and announced to the room.
Winfrey-Carter gave her a warning: “Don’t get funny acting up in here. Because I’ll turn this out,” per MLive.
Worthing wrote an apology for her comment (if that’s what you want to call it) via Facebook.
Read Worthing’s Facebook post from MLive:
“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.”
You heard her. Not even a Black woman can tell her what’s racist. Burns found the comment racist and said she was appalled by it, via Mid-Michigan NOW. “To say ghetto and to say it so easily and to laugh about it, that disturbs me. That’s just wrong ... You teach children and you’re comfortable saying ghetto?” said Burns.
She also said some council members need to unlearn behaviors and practices that have been passed down from the previous council.
Ironically, Worthing said something similar, encouraging the council to “model behavior that they want to see in their city,” per MLive. Instead, she is modeling very behavior that is harmful to her colleagues.