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 EditorLarry Johnson, the editor and publisher of the Cobb County Courier

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.


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

  1. They won’t answer your questions, so you call them racists? Nice work.

  2. I appreciate the Courier making this point. It is an important distinction, and helpful for the community to read it here — written by you.

  3. Summer Josephson | September 25, 2021 at 11:20 am | Reply

    Thank you for speaking clearly on this issue & for your continued efforts to shine a light on what’s happening in Cobb County. The Courier’s candid reporting is a breath of fresh air amidst the dangerous ‘bothsidesism’ style of reporting that we see in so much of the media these days. Your article is exemplary of the bravery & clear language we need to call out the racist policies and actions of the Cobb County school board. We need more of this to overcome the silent treatment we receive as individuals appealing directly to the white Republican members of the board.

  4. Larry- This is nothing more than Slander. There are plenty of people that disagree with CRT curriculum taught in public schools. That doesn’t make them racist. Furthermore, Dr. Howard kneeling during the pledge of allegiance is unacceptable. I enjoy reading your stuff, but this time I fervently disagree with you. Calling the White members of the Board racists is reckless and absurd.

    • It’s just a petty tantrum because he doesn’t like their response to his questions. It’s pretty far from journalism.

  5. Post the specific rule that says a black member must get a white sponsor.
    Show that you are not just stirring the emotions.

    • I had decided to minimize my engagement with the comment system here because I don’t want to whip people into a fenzy that makes this look like the Brietbart comment section, but I can’t resist helping people with their math.

      When the number of Black members of the school board reached 3, the rule for getting items on the agenda was changed so that it required four members to get an item on the agenda. Hence there has to be a white sponsor to get an item on the agenda.

      You’re welcome.

      • By that reasoning is it accurate to say that black school board members jeopardize Cobb’s accreditation, or do you only inject race when it helps further your political opinion?

  6. Thank you for attempting to shed light of the true reality of the situation~

  7. Although, I would tend to believe there is a racist agenda in the CCSD, one must provide some proof before protesting racism.

  8. This is spot on. Racism is alive and well on the school board. One meeting alone was enough to prove that to me. And frankly, I’m sick of it. I’ve watched it in the schools, I’ve seen it in athletics. The fact that the rules were changed preventing the three black members from raising a topic is despicable.

  9. Thank you for calling this out for what it truly is, Larry.

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