Elgin School Board Member Chastised for ‘Racist’ Facebook Comments

Madhu Krishnamurthy, Daily Herald, February 8, 2016

Dozens of parents, teachers and community members chastised an Elgin Area School District U-46 school board member Monday night over a Facebook post about Black History Month, with some calling for her resignation.

The Feb. 1 post by school board member Jeanette Ward quotes author Jason L. Riley’s book “Please Stop Helping Us: How Liberals Make It Harder for Blacks to Succeed.” It was posted on Ward’s U-46 board member Facebook page.

Ward quoted Riley as saying, “Blacks have become their own worst enemy, and liberal leaders do not help matters by blaming self-inflicted wounds on whites or ‘society.’ The notion that racism is holding back blacks as a group, or that better black outcomes cannot be expected until racism has been vanquished, is a dodge. And encouraging blacks to look to politicians to solve their problems does them a disservice.”

It created a firestorm of criticism. Speakers Monday called Ward’s post “racist speech” and “irresponsible” coming from a school board member under the guise of honoring Black History Month.

“When we honor Black History Month, we ought to know what black history is all about,” said Myrna Becker adding she was appalled by the racism embedded in Ward’s post.

Ward, who is white, has said her Facebook post on a page where she is identified as a U-46 board member was intended to offer a different perspective on Black History Month.

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At the end of public comments, Ward unapologetically said her Facebook page represents only herself and not the entire school board.

“I want all people to succeed. There is one race–the human race. Did I not honor that African-American author by quoting him? I stand by quoting Jason L. Riley,” she said.

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