NAACP, Latino Memphis Refuse To Comment On Racially Charged Remarks

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(Memphis) So many people are talking about Commissioner Henri Brooks' racially charged comments on Monday that the NAACP and Latino Memphis called a press conference to come together on the issue.

But once everyone arrived, they refused to talk about those comments.

Reverend Keith Norman is president of the Memphis NAACP.

He said, "We must leave comments such as these in their place and let the fallout deal with that. But we as leaders must step to the higher plane and lead people to a different and better conversation."

But not everyone agrees with Reverend Keith Norman.

They say when Brooks refers to a fellow commissioner as a Klansman, that these comments cannot be ignored.

Sidney Mendelson is the editor at La Prensa Latina.

He said, "Why they won't they come out and say that Henri Brooks made a mistake she's wrong and the racism in her came out."

Mendelson thinks Commissioner Brooks should resign.

But others disagree.

They say it highlights a growing problem in America - minority groups trying to say their struggles are worse and that they face more discrimination than others.

D'Army Bailey is a civil rights activist, and former judge.

He said, "Anywhere this discussion should be had so we can show the country some leadership so we can show the rest of the country to bring alliances of these groups. Both of which are underprivileged."

Bailey says coming together is the first step to a united Memphis, where race doesn't matter.

Maurico Calvo with Latino Memphis agrees.

"I think how she addresses this issue is going to speakerphone and about her character her professionalism and waiting to see what she does."

While nobody knows what she will do next, everyone can hope it's not something like this again.

Thursday, eight commissioners said Brooks should apologize for those comments. The 'white sheet' comment was directed toward Commissioner Chris Thomas, the only one who thinks she should resign.

But Commissioners Walter Baily and Justin Ford say Brooks shouldn't apologize unless she wants to.

Commissioner Justin Ford said, "I feel that if Commissioner Brooks has done anything she feels is wrong she will apologize and accept responsibility for it."

Anyone who follows the Shelby County Commission knows lots of outrageous comments are made in meetings and plenty of apologies follow.

Commissioner Heidi Shafer said, "Meetings can get really long and heated. Tempers can flare. Nobody is perfect. But I think the good thing to do is if you say something that's out of step an apology is probably in order."

Commissioner Mike Ritz agrees, "I think she owed and apology to the citizen she was rude to. I don't think she owes apologies to commissioners who are expecting apologies because frankly she has six to seven years of apologies to do."

These may be county commissioners, but it's a big deal everywhere, especially in Memphis.

Mayor A.C. Wharton said, "The comments, regardless of the intention was, is totally inconsistent with everything I stand for."

But a 'Henri Brooks for Juvenile County Clerk' sign stands in his yard. Probably because his wife Ruby Wharton is the vhair of her campaign.

Ruby Wharton added,  "I respect this woman and I think she would do a great job if she were Clerk but that's about all I can say. She may make some mistakes, but we all do."

Even if the majority of commissioners wanted Brooks to resign, they can't force her to. Commissioners Burgess and Billingsley never returned our emails or calls.


  • langor1

    Was this intended to be gibberish or did these people actually speak this way. Love the speakerphone sentence, maybe someone can translate.

    • MikeBarret

      It should read, speak volumes about her character. Who knows where speakerphone came from, that isn’t what he said at all. And he’s right by the way.

  • Russ Brown

    It was my thoughts that city counsel members were supposed to diffuse racial bias instead of “stirring the pot” and getting the community all worked up. This “lady”, and I use that term loosely, should seek employment elsewhere, as she does nothing to help heal community racial bias. I would sincerely hope that the Council would explore means of removing her from her current position and place her in a position where her comments would not have an audience.

  • 1midtownmike

    Sorry Reverend Norman, but your credibility isn’t worth a flip. Any citizen with a brain the size of a mosquito’s would know this was nothing more than a dog and pony show. Shame on you for attempting to insult the intelligence of the true minority in Memphis. Go look up the figures from the last census.

  • DrKingIsRollingInHisGrave

    Its amazing that donald sterling is so criticized but she is being given a pass.

  • realist

    Once again … somebody thats in charge …is a racist …this time …they are not white …

  • Susy

    Why is it that the representative for the NAACP has said to leave the comments Brooks made behind? Is it because it was a Black Commissioner that made the comment? Had it been a white Commissioner that made any type of comment regarding race towards the black community, all hell would break loose! But because it was a black Commissioner “it wasn’t racial”. This is ridiculous. And of course support is growing for Commissioner Brooks, this s a predominantly black city! What else do you expect?! Plus, if her initial issue was the amount of black employees who worked for that roofing company, does this also go for the black owned companies that get contracts from the city? I am sure she doesn’t mind black owned businesses who do not meet the amount of Hispanic employees they should have to get city contracts

  • Joe

    How can anyone expect her to apologize when she told the news that she didn’t say it and could not remember.. Call it what it is!

  • Joe

    smile… you see that the NAACP refuses to condem Brooks remarks and by doing so……implicitly approves of them

    the old double standard……blacks can be racist and not get called on it……

    go ahead and vote for her Black Memphis….you deserve an ignorant racist like her…

    • dave

      In response to whitesRdevilsanhypicrites:

      So a white guy makes negative remarks about latinos and you make a blanket accusation that all whites hate latinos?

      Seems like a little bit of stereotyping there, but thats what I expect from the majority of black people in memphis.

      Racism will never die because you have too much to lose if it does.

      You do realize that without the white people you so despise you would still be a slave? Yes, its true. White people ended the slavery that your ancestors in the african tribes started.

      Also, white civil rights leaders and lawmakers ended slavery and racial discrimination. So does that make every white person evil?

  • Chin

    Brooks did the same thing as Sterling so now we will see if there is a double standard and I am not any of the three races

  • whitesavagesareevilsndstink

    Dave lets be clear the Usa and whites enjoy the greatest economy of the last millennium due to the bruatlisation of my people. Lincoln and the co gress only freed the slaves to break the economic power of the south. You benefit till this day. An honest man would admit that whenever ppl of color have encountered your ilk misery follows. Latinos, asians,blacks everywhere have suffered at your barbarism and wickedness

    • Cowoak

      whitesavagesareevilsndstink, Do you represent all black people? NO? Then the videos you post don’t represent all white people.

  • whitesavagesareevilsndstink

    I personally have no problem with any pplof colour but I do believe in America’s ppl first. The same as any citizen of any country. Now, you KNOW whites exploit latino Labour because they feel they can low ball and cheat them and they will keep quiet. See, a snow bird hates to be challenged by any person of color ESPECIALLY a negro. Its in your DNA. I always say beware of a white bearing gifts,favors,or advice that’s why I hate welfare it was a trick to destroy the negro family.

  • whitesavagesareevilsndstink

    Some whites are reasonable most are not. Without whites the mighty kingdoms of Africa,Asia, the middle east, Central and South America would exist. Without whites the barbarism of the European slave trade and colonialism would HAVE never existed. Without blacks you would still be freezing in Europe. Without Latinos your lazy but would have to work. Without asians you would be paying 50% interest rates.

  • candi

    Who cares her comments were not racial maybe inappropriate but racial no she told the truth.what people hate to hear!!!!!

  • whitesRdevilsanhypicrites

    Candi,regardless of your ethnicity you see this lady said not obe negative or racist thing aganist latinos she simply stated her view that you cant compareour sstruggles

  • Johnissmokinonkingwillieswillie

    Go back to Africa negro. Oops they don’t want your dumb, sticking welfare nasty self either. Guess you better go play on the freeway.

  • Cowoak

    I have seen Black owned business’s win city bids that they had no place bidding on in the first place. 2 employee business wins a 300k project that all others bid 250k on, then turn around and sub it to the companies for 250k. Getting paid 50k for just being black. Taxpayers getting bowed over all in the name of diversity.

  • Christine

    Every one wants us to forget about slavery. What about those who love to parade around with the Confederate flag. Black people do not have a problem with Hispanics. What we hate is that some refuse to learn English.

    • Cowoak

      I don’t personally want people to forget their heritage or history, but this example Ms. brooks is using is much akin to “my daddy can beat up your daddy”. How does slavery come up in a discussion about bids and contracts? It doesn’t fit the argument, are we now to consider all of history when awarding contracts to business? How far do we go back? Can we go all the way back to medieval times, lots of atrocities then? Or do we only stay domestic?

  • ncrdbl1

    Interesting that the same people who are wanting to give Henri Brooks a pass on her racist comments are the same one wanting to force Don Sterling from his position as owner of the Clippers. The same group who called for a convention of DEMOCRATS to choose a single democrat to run against Mayor Hackett and then refused to allow WHITE Democrats to attend the meeting at the Coliseum.

    • Hard Truths

      It is hard to be a white Democrat in Memphis. We are treated as step-children by black Democrats, and told to go join the party of pointy-headed Teabaggers.

      Thing is, the Democratic party in Shelby County NEEDS its white voters, and the racists who have taken over the Democratic Party in this county can’t count that high to figure it out.

      Republicans are an all-white party, paid performers aside. The Democratic Party needs to be the party where ALL races are EQUALLY welcome.

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