Henri Brooks defends controversial comments about race - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Henri Brooks defends controversial comments about race

Shelby County Commissioner Henri Brooks, photo courtesy Shelby County Commission. Shelby County Commissioner Henri Brooks, photo courtesy Shelby County Commission.

(WMC-TV) – Shelby County Commissioner Henri Brooks made biting comments about white people throughout Monday night's commission meeting. Tuesday, the lawmaker said she has no apologies.

Brooks said she's heard from people in the community who support her. She also said she heard from hate groups, but stands behind the reference she made Monday night about the KKK.

During the meeting, Brooks said the county's dealings play out in black and white.

"Some people say ‘You don't want to say black and white.' Come on people. Get out of denial," Brooks said Monday. "It is black and white."

Several hours into the meeting, Commissioner Chris Thomas fired back.

"I'm continually sick of the racist comments coming from certain commissioners," he said.

"If you looked at the definition, you would know that I do not have the power to be racist," Brooks said during the meeting. "I may be prejudice. I said, 'may be.' That's the key word here."

Brooks said Tuesday that she doesn't understand the uproar and is simply proud of her African-American heritage.

"I don't suspect that they would hold the same offense to someone say of another ethnicity - maybe Jews - if they refer to their ethnicity in a proud manner," Brooks said.

During the meeting, Brooks said the county continues to grant funds to unproven social programs run by white people who make money off of poor black people.

"The decision-making positions are not African American, but the clientele are," Brooks said Tuesday. "These are really high-wage salaries, over $100,000 a year."

During the meeting she also said that for all she knows, the advisory councils for these programs could be run by the KKK.

"The comment about the KKK, I did make that comment, Kontji," Brooks said. "I'm not going to back up from that. It could be. I don't know."

Brooks also said during redistricting talks that the census calls for the new maps to make African-Americans the majority in no less than eight commission districts.

"Some people may have a problem with me acknowledging my ethnicity," she said. "That's their problem, not mine. I'm very proud of who I am."

Brooks said she will continue to speak her mind and stand up for the under-served.

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