A Grosse Pointe mother caused an uproar this week after using a racial slur during a school board meeting.
The woman was complaining during the public comment period of a school board meeting Monday about her son being kicked out of Grosse Pointe South High School for four to 10 days for saying the N-word on Snapchat.
She defended her son, saying he hears the n-word in rap music and that “his dark chocolate auntie got him into Straight Outta Compton.”
“My address was put out there,” she said. “We were threatened, and why? Because he said [the N-word]. I’m sorry, this happens to be in every song. The FCC, the Jon Connors, the who’s who are in charge of this shit, are basically allowing this.”
A board member politely and briefly cut her off: “Excuse me, mam, you can finish, but watch your language.”
The woman then described herself as “an inner-city person” who “intentionally put” her boy “in very primarily all Black dance class, sales school, you name it, I’m into all of those things.”
Grosse Pointe residents are angry that the school board allowed the woman to continue speaking. The board’s bylaws permit the presiding officer to prohibit a member of the public from speaking if their statement is “abusive, obscene, or irrelevant.”
“Gavel. That's what it's for,” Mercer Black said on a private Facebook Page for Grosse Pointe residents. “Unfortunately, we've been taught that being polite is more important than checking racism.”
Her comment was among more than 300 posted on the Facebook page.
Joann M. Hooks said the board should have shown no tolerance for racism.
“The part about all of this that I don't understand is: Why wasn't this speaker called out the minute the word passed her lips?” Hooks wrote on Facebook. “Why wasn't it deemed a point of order to say, 'That language is not permitted at this meeting?' Immediately!!! She should have been asked to sit down.... Immediately!!”
Following the woman’s tirade, school board member Margaret Weertz took issue with the racial slur.
“I’ve never heard the N-word in front of colleagues here, and this is very upsetting,” Weertz said. “We need to talk about politics. We don’t disparage people. We don’t use slurs of any kind.”
In a statement after the meeting, Grosse Pointe School Board President Joseph Herd addressed the failure to stop the woman from speaking.
“If you have watched any board meeting during my time as President, you have seen me emphasize how critical it is for us to model civil discourse and listen to all voices, even when we disagree,” Herd said. “By nature and professional training, I am a peacekeeper. But do not think my willingness to listen means I or the board agree with the use of such language. We condemn this language.”
The Grosse Pointe communities have a troubling history of racism, from banning Black people from owning homes in the 1960s to blocking roads at the border of Detroit less than a decade ago.
Civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. was heckled by white protesters when he delivered a speech at Grosse Pointe High School three weeks before his death in 1968.
In November 2013, Motor City Muckraker revealed videos of white Grosse Pointe Park officers humiliating a Black man with disabilities and urging him to sing and dance.
In March 2016, Grosse Pointe South High School suspended four students for a week over a social media post showing three of them with the N-word scrawled on their stomachs.
In June 2019, a video surfaced on Twitter showing two white Grosse Pointe South students calling each other slaves and the N-word.
In February 2021, a white Grosse Pointe Park resident displayed a Ku Klux Klan flag in a side window facing his Black neighbor’s home.
When a white kid who likes ‘Straight Outta Compton’ repeats the N-word in a rap song we call that a teachable moment because kids have a lot to learn still.— SilenceDoBetter (@DoBetterBelieve) January 25, 2022
When his mom does it before the #GrossePointe BOE we call that #racist because she has no excuse and should know better. pic.twitter.com/CjdpaBfajg
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