February 2, 2023

A Georgia town was just thrown into turmoil after appalling racism from the mayor and councilman

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In what at this point should be the least surprising type of news, another Republican has been outed as a virulent racist. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Mayor Theresa Kenerly of Hoschton refused to hire an individual for city administrator simply because he was black. She removed him from consideration, saying she couldn’t hire him “because he is black, and the city isn’t ready for this.”


The city’s code expressly forbids such hiring practices:

“There shall be no discrimination exercised because of race, national origin, color, religion, creed, age, sex … All personnel actions shall be based solely on individual merit and fitness.”

The vile comments were made to a member of the local City Council, and unearthed by The AJC as part of a deep-dive investigation into the local government’s behavior,

“The AJC’s investigation into the controversy revealed not only a deeply flawed hiring process, but also hard racial attitudes inside Hoschton’s government. All of this occurs as the city of fewer than 2,000 people just outside Gwinnett County is poised for dramatic growth with the construction of thousands of new homes.”

At first, the mayor refused to confirm or deny that she had said it, but later changed her tune and claimed that she did not say what it is alleged, inspiring little confidence with her handling of the issue.

“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 suggest [sic] prejudice,” Kenerly said.

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Her choice of words is telling because she is not outright denying that she made the racist remarks, but chose instead to say she didn’t remember making them. One wonders how she would be able to forget saying such a thing unless she regularly engages in that kind of rhetoric.

“It comes with the territory. If you live in America as a minority you can’t be naïve that it is the reality that you face,” said Keith Henry, the man whose resume Kenerly dismissed because he was black.

The growing scandal was made even worse by Councilman Jim Cleveland, who defended the mayor’s racism with a little racism of his own.

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“I understood where she was coming from understand Theresa saying that, simply because we’re not Atlanta. Things are different here than they are 50 miles down the road,” said Cleveland.

Things got even worse from there as Cleveland dove facefirst into jaw-dropping racism.

“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. I have black friends, I hired black people,” Cleveland added. “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,” Cleveland went on.

Hopefully, it goes without saying that neither of these people should have one iota of government power. Their bigotry is disqualifying and both of them should immediately resign in disgrace.

Natalie Dickinson

Natalie is a staff writer for the Washington Press. She graduated from Oberlin College in 2010 and has been freelance blogging and writing for progressive outlets ever since.

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