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A board of trustees meeting in the Village of Oak Park, Illinois, took an ugly turn Monday night, when one elected official went on a tirade against several of her colleagues for daring to give input on updates to the town’s equity, diversity, and inclusion statement.
What are the details?
Trustee Susan Buchanan came unglued after another trustee, Dan Moroney, suggested defining what it means to “break down systems of oppression” as part of the language in the proposed new version of Oak Park’s diversity statement.
Moroney used the example that the local police department had recently been accused by some in the community of being a “system of oppression” and he would therefore “hesitate to send the message to our police department that they are a system of oppression.”
Moroney went on to note that it was important to define such terms, because someone in the local newspaper had recently said racial equity could be achieved via wealth redistribution through socialist policies.
“That’s not something I’m in favor of,” Moroney emphasized, adding that capitalism would actually lead to greater equity.
Buchanan, a medical doctor who has served on the board since April, criticized Moroney for bringing up the police and capitalism, and then another male trustee stepped in delicately to try to assist in working out language that would satisfy all parties.
Buchanan had heard enough.
“I am so tired of hearing two white men tell us what systems of oppression are,” she said to applause from the audience. “You have been white from birth. Why are you arguing what is a system of oppression? You’ve never experienced it, so shut up! I don’t want to hear from you! Just stop Dan, just stop Deno. You are not oppressed people and people in Oak Park are and we are trying to recognize that as a community.”
She continued, “This mayor and this board is obviously not willing to face history. We have a chance to make history. It is time for this community to face equity. Enough!”
Then, pointing fingers at the men directly, she said, “And you stop it! You are a white male! You stop it, you are a white male!”
According to West Cook News, Buchanan even turned her ire to Mayor Anan Abu-Taleb, a Palestinian immigrant, pointing at him and telling him, “Your skin is light enough. Stop it!”