Ypsilanti Mayor Beth Bashert was asked to apologize by councilmembers after making the comment that she “would be crucified if I vote against any black person on any commission” during a Zoom call with city councilmembers on Tuesday, June 16, 2020
TheHill reports a Michigan mayor is facing calls to resign after suggesting that she had to support the reappointment of a Black commissioner despite performance issues because she would be “crucified if I vote against any Black person.”
Ypsilanti Mayor Beth Bashert made the comments regarding the reappointment of Ka’Ron Gaines to the city’s Human Relations Commission during a public Zoom meeting on Tuesday, the Ann Arbor News reported.
“Since I will be crucified if I vote against any Black person on a commission, I’m going to vote yes,” Bashert said, without acknowledging alleged absentee issues.
Several members of the council immediately erupted in protest, saying she should vote based on qualifications.
The motion to reappointment Gaines ultimately failed in a 6-1 vote, with Bashert being the only one to vote yes.
Councilwoman Nicole Brown requested that Bashert apologize.
“I think that is disrespectful, honestly, to our constituents and our community to say that you have to vote yes because then, if not, you would be attacked because you didn’t appoint another Black person,” Brown said.
Mayor Pro-Tem Lois Richardson added that “we have a responsibility to call out racism when we see it and all of that is a very explicit display of racism.”
Bashert appeared to get defensive while apologizing to the council. She notably left out City Manager Frances McMullan, who is Black, during her apology due to an ongoing dispute.
“I understand that millennials like their words more than their actions,” Bashert said. “But my actions have spoken for years about my work and care about racism, homophobia, anti-Semitism, anti-poverty work in many areas of my life and this city. I will stand by that record every step of the way.”
Bashert elaborated on her apology in a Wednesday Facebook post, saying she should not have dug in and gotten defensive when asked about her statement.
“All of those actions were racist,” the mayor wrote. “I am deeply ashamed and saddened that I did this. I have spent the time since that meeting feeling remorse, shame, and anger at myself.”
She wrote that, as a white person, she is unfortunately a “racist person because I was raised in a racist culture and because I am an imperfect human being.
“I care deeply about confronting racism, yet that does not mean that I am not racist. I am trying to confront racism in myself,” she added.