The mayor of a small town in Virginia is refusing calls to resign after saying presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden picked “Aunt Jemima” to be his running mate, a reference to the fact that Biden pledged to select a woman of color as a vice presidential candidate.
Luray Mayor Barry Presgraves wrote in a since-deleted Facebook post on Aug. 2, “Joe Biden has just announced Aunt Jemima as his VP pick.” The comment was met with backlash from members of the Luray City Council, as well as from some residents of the 5,000-person town in the Shenandoah Valley.
According to The Page Valley News, council member Leah Pence posted on Facebook, “Barry — I am writing to strongly urge you to resign over a racist comment you made on Facebook. The comment you posted has a type of humor that [has] not been appropriate or funny in my lifetime or yours.”
“While a resignation alone will not resolve the systemic subliminal racism that plagues our community, your resignation is imperative as we work towards ending racism in our community,” Pence continued. “You are accountable for your words and decisions as the leader of the Town of Luray and your recent actions have caused me and many citizens to lose faith and confidence in your capacity to effectively and justly serve as Mayor of the Town of Luray.”
“I have talked to several council members, and we are not pleased,” Ron Vickers, another Luray council member, said. “Barry Presgraves does not speak for the council, and he does not speak for Ron Vickers.”
Luray council member Jerry Schiro told The Washington Post, “All racial comments are inappropriate given the heightened sensitivity to racism in our country today. We are and should be held to a higher standard. I can assure the citizens of Luray that kind of thinking is not indicative of the council.”
Presgraves apologized on Monday for the post, telling the town council, “I understand what I posted on social media was wrong, offensive, and unbecoming.”
“I also want to make a direct apology to all people of color and women. Passing off demeaning and worn out racial stereotypes as humor isn’t funny,” he added.
Presgraves nevertheless remained unfazed by any call for his resignation. “Hell no, I’m not resigning,” Presgraves said. “The people elected me and I have a few months more to serve.” His term ends Dec. 31, 2020.
Quaker Oats removed the image of Aunt Jemima from their pancake and syrup products in June after claiming she was based on a “racial stereotype.” Kristin Kroepfl, the vice president and chief marketing officer of Quaker Foods North America, said in part:
As we work to make progress toward racial equality through several initiatives, we also must take a hard look at our portfolio of brands and ensure they reflect our values and meet our consumers’ expectations. We recognize Aunt Jemima’s origins are based on a racial stereotype. While work has been done over the years to update the brand in a manner intended to be appropriate and respectful, we realize those changes are not enough.
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Author: Jon Brown
Source: Daily Wire: Virginia Mayor Refuses To Resign After Saying Biden Chose ‘Aunt Jemima’ For VP