A Michigan school board member is facing calls to resign over her inflammatory social media posts, including tweets that declared “whiteness is evil” and that white people are “more dangerous” than animals.
Kesha Hamilton, the school board member, defended herself at a tense Jackson Board of Education meeting on Tuesday as parents blasted her comments as “appalling” and “disgraceful,” while others showed their support, MLive reported.
In particular, parents took issue with Hamilton’s Dec. 18 tweet which read: “Whiteness is so evil. it manipulates then says, I won’t apologize for my dishonesty and trauma inducing practices and thinks you should applaud it for being honest about its ability to manipulate and be dishonest.”
In another tweet from December, Hamilton wrote in response to a twitter user “The last thing you have to worry about is an animal – though that could be a very real threat.. more dangerous are any whites you may see on the trail.. be safe!”
During the public portion of Tuesday’s meeting, many parents said the posts were divisive.
“Someone in her influential position must be held to a high standard. She must be a representative for all students in the JPS system,” parent Gina Hastings said, according to MLive. She called Hamilton “angry and bitter.”
“Her racist comments should not be condoned. How can all kids feel safe when physical characteristics over which they have no control are being call evil and dangerous,” she added.
Another speaker, Jackie Leslie, told Hamilton “You are not addressing the disparities, you are adding to them by your hurtful remarks. Your words are not unifying our community. Your words are dividing our community.”
Several other members of the school community voiced their support for Hamilton.
“Never once in these five years has she questioned me, a white man – a conservative Christian white man at that – in regards to teaching her children about their history, a history that is not mine,” Jackson High School teacher Paris Anderson said.
Hamilton, who works as a racial equity consultant, has been an outspoken critic of district policies she believes are discriminatory or racist, according to MLive. She is also chair of the City of Jackson’s Racial Equity Commission.
She outlined the reasoning behind her comments in a statement to Fox News.
“Whiteness defined is ‘white racialized identity (which) refers to the way that white people, their customs, culture and beliefs operate as the standard by which all other groups are compared,” she said.
“Whiteness is a construct, a normalization with a foundation in white supremacy, recent examples of the normalization of whiteness with a foundation of white supremacy are the murder of George Floyd, the massacre of Black residents in Buffalo, NY, the attempted kidnapping of MI Governor Whitmer, the attack on our Democracy on January 6th, 2021, inconsistencies of our criminal justice system, etc.”
She said the tweet comparing calling white people more dangerous than animals in the woods “refers to the challenges Black people in the United States continue to face when attempting to establish and protect their right to freedom of movement…. The United States has a longstanding history of efforts aimed at keeping Black people from enjoying freedom of movement and restricting them from entering spaces that have been racialized as white.”
The school district upped its security at the unusually crowded meeting after flyers with a logo similar to that of far-right extremist group The Proud Boys circulated in the community earlier in the week, MLive reported. The flyers included screenshots of Hamilton’s tweets and said “Jackson School Board hates White People.”