BY SARA TABIN
Daily Post Staff Writer
Los Altos Councilwoman Jeannie Bruins apologized on Thursday for making a racist comment at a public meeting.
The council convened over the telephone on May 20 to decide whether to mandate masks in the city because of the coronavirus outbreak.
Councilwoman Neysa Fligor, who was born in Jamaica and is the city’s first black councilwoman, said she wanted to require masks. She said a city ordinance would help clarify county rules for people.
Bruins responded that she thought another ordinance on top of county and state orders would confuse people.
“This whole hierarchy of orders … anybody who thinks that is adding clarity, I think you are out of your cotton-picking mind,” she said.
The original comment drew backlash online over the past few weeks after it was first reported in the Post. The term is considered offensive because “cotton-picking” is associated with slaves being forced to pick cotton in the American South. Merriam Webster says “cotton-picking” is used for emphasis but is “old-fashioned.”
Yesterday Bruins and Fligor released a joint statement saying Bruins had apologized and Fligor had accepted.
“Based on her years of friendship with Council Member Bruins, (Fligor) knows the words did not come from a place of malice, hatred or racism,” reads the statement. “Bruins also apologizes to all who heard her words and especially to those who were offended or hurt. There is no excuse for making that statement.”
Petition drive started
A Change.org petition calling for Bruins to apologize had 2,025 names last night.
The push back came at the same time as discussions of racism have inflamed the nation after the police murder of George Floyd.
Ryan Lion said on Twitter that he was proud of his hometown for electing an all-female council but was disgusted to hear of Bruins’ remark.
In 2018, former Trump campaign official David Bossie had to apologize to a black panelist on Fox and Friends after telling the panelist he was out of his cotton-picking mind, according to Politico.