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Mayor apologizes for racist comment about black resident

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Posted at 1:39 PM, Jun 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-19 13:49:05-04

YPSILANTI, Mich. — The mayor of a Michigan college town is apologizing after saying she would support the appointment of a human relations commissioner only because she would be “crucified” if she voted against a black person.

Beth Bashert’s comments were made Tuesday during a Ypsilanti City Council meeting that was held through video conference.

The council was voting on the reappointment of Ka’Ron Gaines to a commission that advises the council on eliminating prejudice and discrimination.

Bashert, who is white, was the only council member to vote in favor of Gaines, the Detroit Free Press reported.

“Since I will be crucified if I vote against any black person on any commission, I’m going to vote ‘yes,’” Bashert said.

Gaines’ appointment was defeated. Ypsilanti, 35 miles (55 kilometers) west of Detroit, is the home of Eastern Michigan University.

“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,” said council member Nicole Brown, one of three African Americans on the council.

Bashert apologized and posted a statement on Facebook.

“I made a biased statement and voted based on that statement,” she said. “Then I compounded the whole thing by digging in and getting defensive when questioned. All of those actions were racist. 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.”

Some critics want Bashert to resign as mayor. A protest is planned for Monday.

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