A Louisiana man claims he's not racist, but if his community moves forward with a plan to rename a half-mile stretch of road for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., he says he will reveal his "racist ways."
A clip posted by NOLA.com shows a contentious debate that took place during a St. Bernard Parish council meeting over a plan to rename the stretch of Colonial Blvd. in honor of the slain civil rights leader.
“I've never had a racist bone in my body. I’ve worked for a bunch of ’em, been in their houses, been in a lot of your guys’ houses,” said a bearded white man who was not identified. “But if you keep pushing me I will show you my racist ways."
He also said Mitch Landrieu, mayor of New Orleans, can "go to hell" and "praise the Lord for (Gov.) Bobby Jindal.”
Another white speaker said of King, "He didn’t live in this parish, he did nothing for this parish, he didn’t even know this parish existed.”
One speaker implied that honoring King by changing the name of the road would lead to crime, Talking Points Memo reports.
“If you look around the world, every Martin Luther King Boulevard is crime-ridden and drug-ridden. Why the hell would we want that in this parish?" the unidentified speaker said. "Martin Luther King was a great man, and all the streets that are named after him does not reflect the content of that man’s character.”
Rev. Kevin Gabriel, president of the local NAACP chapter, said changing the road's name isn't a racial issue.
"We want it named after Dr. King because he was for all people," Gabriel said, according to NOLA.com. "And we need something down here to speak to what he did for everyone here and for everyone in the United States of America."
The website said the stretch of road in question is in Violet, the only community in the predominantly white parish where the majority of residents are black. The New Orleans Advocate reported that 28 of the 34 homes on Colonial Blvd. supported the name change.
The council, which is all white, voted unanimously against the proposal.
(h/t Raw Story)
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