After an escalated situation, the Greensboro, North Carolina City Council decided to remove a construction contractor from his position on the Zoning Commission for not addressing a black woman as she wanted to be addressed.
During a recorded staff meeting, Tony Collins was seen in a heated exchange with Dr. Carrie Rosario, who was speaking about certain rezoning in her area that was concerning. Councilwoman Sharon Hightower who requested the recording of the meeting, says that Collins was exercising “white privilege” when he refused to address Rosario as “doctor” when she requested that he do so.
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The exchange between Collins and Rosario started from him referring to her as “Mrs. Rosario.” Here’s how the exchange went:
“It’s Dr. Rosario, thank you,” she said.
“If Mrs. Rosario has something …” Collins said.
“Dr. Rosario,” she replied.
“I’m sorry,” Collins said. “Your name says on here Carrie Rosario. Hey, Carrie.”
“It’s Dr. Rosario,” she said. “I (wouldn’t) call you Tony, so please, sir, call me as I would like to be called. That’s how I’m identified.”
“It doesn’t really matter,” Collins said.
“It matters to me,” Rosario said. “Out of respect I would like you to call me by the name I’m asking you to call me by.”
“Your screen says Carrie Rosario,” Collins said.
“My name is Dr. Carrie Rosario and it really speaks very negatively of you as a commissioner to be disrespectful,” she said.
“I’m not trying to be disrespectful, but you’re negotiating something that happened four years ago,” Collins said.
Hightower said after the video, “regardless of whether you agree or disagree, that was disrespectful. This is unacceptable.”
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Another black councilwoman and Ph.D. holder agrees that Black women are not afforded the same advantages as white women.
“The thing that has been one of the driving forces for African Americans is education,” Councilwoman Goldie Wells said.
Greensboro.com reports, “after a 30-minute discussion in which Councilwoman Nancy Hoffmann offered to speak with Collins about his behavior, Hightower made a motion to remove him from the Zoning Commission.”