Wisconsin School Board Member Makes White-Ass Argument Against Black History Month

Illustration for article titled Wisconsin School Board Member Makes White-Ass Argument Against Black History Month
Photo: GUNDAM_Ai (Shutterstock)

Y’all ever just get tired of white people? I do. Especially in the month of February, when Black History Month sees them spewing their anti-Black hot takes en masse. Take for instance a school board in Wisconsin, where a board member argued against Black History Month.

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I totally understand if a wave of Black exhaustion just hit you.

According to WISN-12, a board meeting on Monday included a discussion about equity and diversity within the School District of New Berlin. A petition had been signed by 1,200 New Berlin students and parents requesting that the board make a greater effort to include lessons about Black history, systemic racism, and white privilege. The district superintendent gave a presentation about diversity and inclusion in New Berlin, which board member Kate Unger felt didn’t properly address the concerns of the parents and students who signed the petition.

It was at this point that the board decided to pull the “racism isn’t that bad” card.

“I don’t want us to go down the path of what social media is doing now. Let’s not get stuck up in that,” board member Susan Manley said in response to Unger’s concerns. “You know, where race is everything today. I don’t believe it is. We make it bigger than it is and I have concerns about bringing that into the classroom.”

Unger clapped back at Susan’s ol’ “I don’t see color” ass, saying, “I don’t feel that ‘race is just everywhere’ is an accurate statement. I mean, race is everywhere right now because Black people are dying from police brutality. I’m trying not to get crazy political.”

Jeffrey Kurth, clerk for the board of education, then came through and double downed with the whiteness.

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“I want to kind of interject with that last statement. I’m personally offended at one, attack at police officers, because it’s a minute portion and statistics show it. It’s a minute statistic to throw police under the bus. One hundred percent I completely disagree with you,” Kurth said. “I’m not saying it doesn’t happen, but the Black- on- Black crime and the Black- on- Black death is far more systemic and far more of a problem across the entire country.”

Can white people please drop the Black-on-Black crime talking point already? Like, y’all stormed the Capitol, have killed and/or injured multiple peaceful protesters over the last four years, and whenever a Walmart, school, mall, church, basically any public place has been shot up, typically it’s y’all. So I’m going to need the whites to work on fixing their communities, before talking about how much of a “scourge” Black-on-Black crime is.

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Not leaving well enough alone, this man went on for a whole two minutes for something that could’ve easily just been a racist Facebook post.

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“I do agree with the idea of inclusivity and I believe that is, we have a Black History Month, which I’m seeing a poster for right now. I don’t see Jewish history month, I don’t see American Indian history month, I don’t see Asian history month, Indian history month, I believe it should all be included and all should be inclusive,” Kurth said. “I completely disagree with the Black History Month, I really do, because if we’re going to be inclusive we shouldn’t be isolating by race period. I think the push for race that everybody’s talking about, I don’t believe it’s as bad as everybody thinks.”

You know what’s crazy? Those months actually exist! You just have to Google it, or, in my case, have an editor who puts you on game. No one is stopping the school board from recognizing those months and teaching about the contributions folks from all walks of life have made to American history. They could provide a more inclusive, well-rounded portrait of the country’s history, as opposed to the white-centered, mythic take we’re force fed from elementary school.

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But folks like Kurth lack any kind of imagination. They’d rather keep the old boat, even if it’s old, rickety, and filled with holes, as opposed to just building a new one. Instead of solving problems, they’d rather pretend they don’t exist in the first place.

The meeting was broadcast to the public and a few parents were appalled by the rhetoric expressed by the board members. “I am angry, yeah. The things that were said, just, like it was no big deal. It’s very upsetting,” Allison Dietrich, who has two kids in the district, told WISN-12.

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“I was sitting there just in awe. Sometimes I think I yelled at the screen. I was in shock, I was covering my mouth. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing,” Dietrich said. “It made me sad for our students of color. If they’re hearing that from him, from a school board member, I just can’t imagine how they would feel.”

Kurth issued a statement to WISN-12 that said “I believe in diversity, inclusion and the celebration of all cultural, ethnic and other differences in our schools. If anyone interpreted my comments outside of that context, or if anyone was offended, I apologize.”

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As we all know, the best apologies are the ones where you blame people for taking your comments out of context.

The stylin', profilin', limousine riding, jet flying, wheelin' and dealin' nerd of The Root.

DISCUSSION

“I want to kind of interject with that last statement. I’m personally offended at one, attack at police officers, because it’s a minute portion and statistics show it. It’s a minute statistic to throw police under the bus. One hundred percent I completely disagree with you,” Kurth said.

It’s not a minute statistic to the dead. It’s not a minute statistic to every other Black person in America who lives in fear of the police, who live with crime rather than call the police because the police can be more dangerous than the local criminals.