The former fire chief of White Settlement, Texas heard City Manager Jeff James use the “N-word” several times during a meeting, in reference to city residents. But City Council members declined on Monday to investigate, KXAS-TV reported. Given the city’s history, it’s no wonder the council members think it’s no big deal.
“I feel blessed that all these people here today came out, and I really appreciate the show of confidence, and I’m happy to be the city manager of the city of White Settlement,” James said, surrounded by residents and city employees after the lawmakers finished their closed-door meeting about the incident.
If the name White Settlement sounds familiar that’s probably because the police charged three White brothers, ages 17 to 23, on capital murder charges in September for luring an 18-year-old Black teen and shooting him to death. The city’s history goes back to the 1840s when White settlers from Tennessee and Kentucky began moving there, displacing Native Americans. The city’s name sent a message that apparently still resonates with its more than 85 percent White population. In 2005, the city’s then-mayor, James Ouzts, led a failed effort to rename the city, in the hope of attracting businesses put off by the name. But residents soundly rejected the measure and tried to oust the former mayor.
“You shouldn’t be afraid to be White. It’s like showing we’re not proud of our history,” a resident named Konnye Wilkerson told The New York Times after voters rejected the proposed name change.
Fast forward to the present, Mayor Ronald White is sweeping the incident under the rug. “As far as I know, and as far as I’m concerned, it’s over for now. I don’t know that it wouldn’t come up again, but I don’t think so,” he said.