A Georgia city councilman is offering no apologies for a Facebook post some residents have deemed as racially offensive.
Carrollton City Council member Gerald Byrd addressed the public for the first time Monday since the controversy over his social media post, local station FOX 5 News reported. Byrd, who also serves as the mayor pro tem, spoke of rectifying incidents of racial injustice he’s experienced but stopped short of apologizing for his comments.
“The cops were called on me when we were celebrating my mother’s birthday at my house with her siblings,” Byrd said from his seat.
The councilman’s response came amid backlash over his comment under a Facebook post depicting a Native American man pressed against a Black man with a caption that read, “… “the genocide of one race, enslavement of another.”
“Both people in the photo are the same,” Byrd wrote in response. “White man has and is destroying the world.”
Resident Barry Harwell was just one of several people who found the councilman’s remark racist and confronted him about it.
“I do think racism will never really end as long as we’re entitled to offer up our personal opinion,” Harwell said from the podium at Monday’s council meeting.
“I don’t think that’s a racist comment at all,” he told FOX 5 following the meeting. “You know when I think of my position here at city hall every day it seems I’m dealing with some sort of issue of racial discrimination.”
According to the station, Byrd is now facing at least one call for his resignation as well as threats by members of the community to boycott his local nonprofit, the Institute of Imagination.
“He’s making disparaging remarks regarding an entire race of people of people and such racism in our community is quite frankly disgusting,” resident Bobby Gaines said.
For now, Byrd seems unfazed by the pushback and says this situation isn’t about him, but about the people who voted for him.
“It’s not about me it’s more about disenfranchised people the poor and their struggles every single day,” he said.