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Group Compares Commissioner Henri Brooks To Malcolm X

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(Memphis) WREG uncovered why so many African-American leaders seem to be defending controversial comments made by Shelby County Commissioner Henri Brooks.

They admit the words she chose might be wrong, but they say the points she made are right. They even compared her to Malcolm X.

Some of her colleagues on the county commission say she needs to apologize, but a coalition of black leaders said there's no reason for her to be sorry and they agree with what she thinks. They defended commissioner Brooks and say they relate to her message.

Earlier this week during a commission meeting, Brooks told an Hispanic contractor, "You chose to come here. We did not."

She also said, "It's not about you as a minority. It's about Black folk in Shelby County trying to get employment."

Friday morning, this group of pastors and politicians explained why they won't condemn Brooks.

"Because we identify with what she's talking about. During the civil rights movement we didn't all agree with Malcolm X but we didn't challenge him. Malcolm X spoke truth to what we were living everyday and what Henri Brooks is speaking to is what we live with everyday," said LaSimba Gray, Rainbow PUSH.

Reverend LaSimba Gray says Blacks often get overlooked for government contract jobs and what we saw Monday was Brooks standing up for what she believes is discrimination.

Longtime friend State Representative Barbara Cooper worked with Brooks in the state house and watched her battle before.

"They went out and got buses and picketed her house. Why? Because she did not agree with something that was done that was inaccurate for our community," she said, recounting a past backlash Brooks got after she spoke out about what she thought was discrimination.

Not everyone at the news conference agreed with what the group had to say.

Radio talk show host, Andrew Clarke, Sr., fired back when the ministers claimed the media should be targeting him for negative comments he's made about blacks. They say Brooks' comments are based on fact.

Gray said, "The substance cannot be dismissed and I don't want us to lose focus of this fight by focusing on the personality and dismiss the principle."

Brooks is running for juvenile court clerk. Those who held the news conference are also backing her in that race against incumbent Joy Touliatos.


    • bambam84

      Not even reading past the headline here. I think I just upchucked a little. Just another Political “Incident” they’re going to sling for all it’s worth. Ms. Brooks? Meet Mrs. Full-o-love. Mrs. Full-O-Love? Meet Ms. Brooks. Smh.

  • tony

    Brooks told an Hispanic contractor, “You chose to come here. We did not.” YES so true The black sold the Black . If She does not like it here go back. And in the clip the Rev said this negro is trying to take over the press release. The is why no one want to live in Memphis.

  • 1midtownmike

    You can’t unring a bell…….Brooks hateful remarks being defended by the NAACP and Rainbow Push didn’t help either.

    The white tax base in Memphis and Shelby County are leaving due to racist venom spewed by those who are of an entitlement/extortion mentality. Right before our very eyes.

    And to think Reverend Al said that whites was living in caves while blacks was building empires!

    What happened Al?

  • anonymous

    Henri Brooks made an ASSUMPTION that the Hispanic contractor did not experience the same struggle that she and her people have experienced and could never compare that. In reality, she has no idea what this man or his ancestors have experienced in the U.S. or in their home country. I guess she isn’t educated on the plight of the Hispanic person in the U.S. and the ordeal these individuals have gone through to make it to the U.S.

  • anon

    Title VI does not guarantee goverment contracts to only African American peoples. Henri Brooks needs to take the time to actually read the act in it’s entirety before she starts spouting off more nonsense.

  • scooby do

    Ms Brooks wants to play the black card but it is wearing thin. Hispanics out work them and it is telling to hear her say it is about “giving” blacks jobs. The entitlement class has about ridden their pony as far as it can go especially in this economy. American black culture as it exists today doesn’t work for blacks or anybody else. Until black people want things to get better they won’t. When you work you don’t get rich but you don’t get shot.

    • Jack

      Scooby, you write as muddled as you sound on your tv cartoon. I am not going to fall for your trap of comparing the work ethic of Hispanics to Blacks. Black people have proven that they can work long hours for short pay. White man created entitlements. Do you blame people for taking it? Haven’t seen anyone from the farm belt turn down any free money from the govt. as “farm subsidies” not to plant crops. When you look at entitlements you had better look in the mirror. Whites have felt entitlied in this country from the beginning. Thats the problem. And if you don’t want Black people to play the race card then why did whites put it in the deck. Whites created racism in america and put it in the deck, and played it very well. If you don’t want the race card played, then take it out of the deck and teach your people not to hate. When I analyze white people I look at europe. Dozens of nations confliced by economic, social, cultural, religious prejudice. Historically bitter enemies, English, French, Irish, Scottish,German, Russian,Spanish, protestant vs catholic, ethnic cleansing, Ukraine murders. Its easy to tell where the climate of hate in america comes from.

  • Margaret Purcell

    Ms. Brooks completely undermines her constituency and represents the “dumbed down” side of politics in this city.


    Hate is easy. Blame is easy. That is the real problem with this city. It takes something better to forgive and bring hope. But, most of you lack the capacity. If you want your soul to be drowned in the vile mud of hatred and slowly decay to dust, fine. If you want every joy squeezed from your being, stay on our path. It will consume you until everything you ever were is nothing. You will be forgotten and your existence wasted. Everyone who hates, everyone who cannot forgive, whatever their color—they are to blame for this curse that rests over Memphis.

  • jimmy lockin

    Typical Memphis; the ex principle of Florida Kansas Elementary who said we have to get these little n***** tight is the cousin of county commissioner Melvin Burgess, makes me wonder what a conversation sounds like at their family reunion .

    Ms. Brooks likes to act as though a black person can’t get a job in Shelby County but she had no problem getting members of her family jobs at Memphis City Schools even if they had to create a position for them to work in, thanks Johnny B. Watson and Carol Johnson.

    Someone posted that AC’s wife is the campaign manager for Ms. Brooks, I I haven’t read that but I can believe it. During my tenure with Shelby County government I would always hear Ruby didn’t like white folks. Funny, Ruby dislikes the white man but AC surley loved the white wemon.

    As for the NAACP, please cry me a river and change your acronym to NAABP because that’s what it’s always been.

  • JohnSisreallyaTranny

    I’m glad sterling spoke up and now it’s cry me a river cuz he is being racist. Yet the negros cry and bellyache. Some old stuff. I hope
    Mata buses run over the negro fool and for sure on the whietdevil dude on here. I bet you are a fat slob. I hope someone drops out a sickle cell bomb out of a plane in Memphis to help the white folk out.

  • Hard Truths

    Ruby Wharton is managing the racist Henri Brooks’ campaign?

    That is very troubling indeed.

    Ruby Wharton is also on the Airport Board that did such a great job of looking out for Memphians. I’m sure she enjoyed the free lunches and other perks.

    And yes — a lot of people say Ruby hates white people.

    • Nancy

      She back up MS. Brooks when interviewed stating, “We all make mistakes”. But what Henri Brooks said wasn’t a mistake, you have to feel hatred to make statements like that.

  • Nancy

    Are blacks the only ones in Memphis that need a job? Don’t hispanics have the same right to work?

  • Chuck Finley

    I have not heard anything in entirety that counts Ms. Brooks as a racist. I hear her comments after the fact but I never hear what was said before. Until I hear and understand the who story, the jury is out.

  • Arguenot

    By Webster’s Dictionary a minority is “the group that is the smaller part of a larger group”.
    Federal law recognizes Hispanics as a “minority” group. Who is Ms. Brooks to decide not only what laws to uphold but to then go further to denigrate and warp the term “justice for all”?

    Impartial and even protection under our laws should be the driving force behind a government official. This is the standard to strive for, regardless of race, religion, or any other category.

    Ms. Brooks callous contempt, and blatant ignorance of another culture, which she uses, is complete disregard for Federal Law, is contemptible.

    Every race, at one time in history, was a slave to another. Every race held slaves, including those in Africa. Before machines, people were a common commodity. This is unfortunate but true of EVERY race, religion, or category you would choose.

    You can not demand equality, while at the same time, denying it to others.

  • Eva Toussaint

    Memphians pretend that everything is ok in Memphis but its not. This city still has a slave way of thinking. The whites think all Blacks are from housing projects,uneducated,and have criminal minds. The Blacks are angry from all the pains of slavery and abuse over 200yrs of someone telling you are less because of the color of your skin. Nobody wants to admit the parts they play in this ugly situation. My question is WWJD? Here we have Black ministers preaching LOVE THY Neighbor? But we are not showing love to our neighbor. All Latinos are not from Mexico or
    illegal. And by the way for some of us who failed HISTORY. Latinos do have people who are of Africian ancestory. So when you see a difference in someone try to find the things you have in common. Preach love not war. Since yall love Bibles and Barbecue lets use them to make race relations better in this city. Show some REAL love for thy neighbor. Remember Jesus is watching and I know some of you do really want to go to Heaven.

  • Ms. Cassie Pulliam

    I agree with Mrs. H. Brooks because, I experienced the kind of racism that she is referring to every day. I have worked in an Industry for over twenty years and I watch people without an high school education and little of no experience receive promotions that I applied and weren’t consider for. The place of employment has a lot to do with the continuous violence and poverty that surrounds and devours our community’s. I made and attempt to reach out the corporate office with my concerns and was mocked, demoted and harassed. The people I work with have had their self-esteem taken away. I am 47 years of age and to experience the type of racism in the year 2014 is deplorable. The fact that I watched Darryl Greene be rude and disrespectful to Mrs. Brook reminded me of the types of incidents when my employers tried the same tactic with me. Darryl Greene came out with the energy that Darryl Greene wanted to provoke Mrs. Brooks, by speaking rudely to Mrs. Brooks and not allowing her to cover the issues rather make and creating racial war. Dr. Gray was correct when he told Darryl Greene that the media had already crucified Mrs. Brooks, Dr. Gray was referring to him(Darryl Greene). I know that Mrs. Brooks words may have hurt but the ones it hurt are the ones who continuously inflect pain on others.

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