A city council meeting in Pasadena, Texas turned ugly on Monday, when Mayor Johnny Isbell made a condescending, racially charged remark to Hispanic Councilman Cody Ray Wheeler. Wheeler was saying that he had not had the opportunity to speak about a matter the council was discussing, to which Isbell responded, “Well, you better speak up, boy!”
Councilman Wheeler immediately called him out on the term, historically used to demean minorities, saying, “Excuse me? That’s very offensive. I’m a councilman of the city, don’t call me boy.” To which Isbell replied, “Act like it,” with Wheeler responding, “Don’t talk to me like that again.” The uncomfortable exchange keeps going for a while.
According to The Houston Chronicle, Isbell later told Wheeler, “You’re right, council member, and that was a slip of the tongue on the ‘boy,'” but did not apologize after the meeting was over.
Councilman Wheeler told the newspaper, that whether it was a slip or not, he believes it had racist sentiment behind it, given the mayor’s history. “This is a mayor who has … pushed through discriminatory voting practices and now is using condescending language to minority council members,” he said. “I don’t know how else you take it, when you put it in context.” Wheeler added, “I’m sure he didn’t mean to say it. But that doesn’t mean he didn’t feel it.”
[Image via screengrab]
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