Elgin School Board member Jeanette Ward posted a racist message on the school board’s official Facebook page on February 1st. Though the post has since been removed, its text read as follows:
"'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 solve their problems does them a disservice."
The first line is a quote from Jason L. Riley’s book “Please Stop Helping us: How Liberals Make It Harder for Blacks to Succeed”. At a school board meeting last Monday night, Ward’s post was called both “irresponsible” and regarded as “racist speech”.
Ward, refusing to back down, believes she was offering a different perspective; she does acknowledge that the whole school board should not be held accountable for what she wrote. She believes she honored an African-American by quoting Riley and said “I want all people to succeed. There is one race — the human race.”Danise Habun, a member of the Elgin Human Relations Commission, did not agree that Ward was offering a different perspective and said "It continues to blame the victim and ignores institutionalized racism. "
While many people spoke out against Ward, there were a few who agreed with her. There was some concern as to whether or not she was fit to remain a board member. Many wished Ward would be accountable for her actions and recognize that she may have erred. It does not seem likely that any action other than the board meeting will take place, meaning that Ward will likely maintain her position as a school board member.