From the Editor: Dispense with the BS. The continued silencing of Black Cobb school board members is about race

Larry Johnson, the editor and publisher of the Cobb County Courier seated in an office chair in front of a small table with a laptop in article about Cobb County Courier Meet the Editor

Anyone who’s been paying attention to the Courier knows that our relations with the Cobb County School District have not been warm lately.

The district recently announced its intention to refuse to answer our questions (not that the district has been renowned for its transparency to begin with).

That’s really no big deal. We’ll continue submitting questions to the district, and when the district doesn’t answer, We’ll submit a corresponding open records request, and keep our readers informed about the process via the ongoing Twitter thread I’ve embedded below:

But racism in the school district is a big deal

But while the CCSD’s remarkably petty response to the Courier isn’t a big deal, what is a big deal is the overtly racist silencing of the Black members of the school board by the white majority.

We’ve gotten some pushback from readers in framing this as silencing of Black school board members by the white majority instead of silencing of Democrats by Republicans.

That’s because the elephant in the room, (no pun intended) isn’t partisan politics. It’s racism.

When the school board went on its book-burning campaign against Critical Race Theory and the 1619 Project, it wasn’t because CRT and the 1619 Project had anything whatsoever to do with the Democratic Party.

It was because both those were efforts by people of color to draw attention to the central role of racism in American history, and in the case of CRT, how that racism continues to manifest itself in the criminal justice system, the education system, and in fact in most aspects of our lives.

So when the school board put a rule in place that a Black member can’t get an item on the agenda without getting a white sponsor, it’s an overt, mind-numbingly, shockingly racist act.

So no, the Courier is not going to frame this as “the four Republican members silenced the three Democratic members.”

Because that isn’t what it’s about.

The school district and the school board have performed amazing verbal gymnastics to avoid dealing directly with this issue of racism and other forms of bigotry (antisemitism, xenophobia) in the school district.

But it’s time to dispense with the BS.