Susan Buchanan, a town trustee of Oak Park, Illinois, verbally attacked fellow trustees who spoke out about revisions to the village’s diversity and equity statement during a board meeting on Monday, according to West Cook News.
The reason they drew Buchanan’s ire? They dared to be white and have opinions.
Watch a series of clips from her melodramatic tirade below.
“I don’t want to hear what you have to say,” Buchanan begins as she cut off a white board member. “No, I’m serious. Jim, why can you have an opinion on this?”
She then focuses her efforts on other white male trustees, calling out Dan Moroney and Deno Andrews by name.
“You shouldn’t have an opinion on that,” she tells them. “This is the point. Why do you have an opinion on equity?”
“You have been white from birth. Why are you arguing what is a system of oppression? You’ve never experienced one! So shut up!” she rails to the tune of rousing applause.
“Just stop. Just stop, Dan. Stop, Deno. You are not oppressed, and people in Oak Park are. And we are trying to recognize that as a community. This mayor and this board is obviously not willing to face history.”
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“We have a chance to make history,” she continues. “It is time for this community to face equity. Enough! You stop it, you are a white male. You stop it, you are a white male.”
She then turns to the town’s Palestinian immigrant mayor, Anan Abu-Taleb.
“Your skin is light enough,” she scolds him. “Stop it!”
Unfortunately, it is now controversial in some circles for people of certain races and sexes to have opinions. Notice how Buchanan, who is white herself, doesn’t dare take on the actual opinions of her opponents.
Instead, she rails against the fact that they even have opinions in the first place. Though the clip doesn’t explicitly reveal that Buchanan is on the left, it shows her using the common leftist tactic of shutting down dissent before it even happens.
She is implicitly admitting that she cannot win the debate, so she defers to removing her opponent’s right to speak. It’s like a lawyer moving to strike incriminating evidence just because he doesn’t like where it came from.
It’s important to note that the debate in question centered around revisions to the town’s diversity statement, which apparently didn’t go far enough. Notes from the meeting reveal that some at the meeting wanted a stronger commitment to equity, or equality of outcome, in the statement.
The fact that a town would commit itself to fostering equality of outcome between races has its issues, and people should be more than welcome to bring those issues to light — especially if those people were elected for the express purpose of giving their opinions.
What Buchanan doesn’t seem to understand is that these men don’t have to live under a system of oppression to know what a system of oppression is. It may come as a surprise to her, but a lot of white men have brains that can form complex thoughts and rationalization.
This notion that one must be a victim of something to have an opinion on how to fix it doesn’t hold much water. We would never exclusively hire poor people to write fiscal policy, and Buchanan, a medical doctor, would surely scoff if only sick people were allowed to comment on medicine.
Social issues are the same way. People of all races, sexes, religions and sexual orientations spend a lot of time researching and thinking about these issues. They are more than entitled to their opinions, and frankly, some of those opinions might even be better than Susan Buchanan’s.
Perhaps if she did more listening and less ranting, she could learn from the experiences and expertise of other people.
Yes, even white males.
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