She called some Jews ‘brutes.’ Jim says she did nothing wrong (Opinion)
If there's one thing that offends Jim Gearhart, it's how easily some people get offended.
The Jersey City Board of Education is operating in the wake of two scandals. In one, its president has been accused of corruption by state officials. And in another, board member Joan Terrell-Paige has been roundly criticized for a Facebook group in which she referred to some religious Jews moving into the community as "brutes."
Since since taken down the comment, which came after a man and woman shot and killed a police officer before moving the massacre to a kosher deli, where multiple other people were killed. Authorities have said the shooters expressed anti-police and anti-Jewish sentiments online.
The post by Terrell-Paige, who is black, brought up the practice of "blockbusting," in which residents are aggressively and unscrupulously encouraged by salesmen to sell their homes. It's been a point of tension in multiple New Jersey communities that have seen rapid influx of Orthodox Jewish communities from out of state.
“Where was all this faith and hope when black homeowners were threatened, intimidated and harassed by I WANT TO BUY YOUR HOUSE brutes of the Jewish community,” Terrell-Paige wrote in her post, which is no longer publicly available.
The controversy over her comments led officials to cancel at least one school board meeting, and calls for her resignation. Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop and Gov. Phil Murphy both called for Terrell-Paige to resign.
But House candidate John Flora took a less damning tone: “To me her remarks were an invitation for the entire city to discuss honestly what led up to such a horrific event. There is a lingering resentment in certain transitioning neighborhoods that I’m not sure repeated sit-downs with the same community leaders will ever resolve.”
Jim Gearhart asks in this week's episode of his weekly Facebook Live show and podcast ... what's wrong with calling someone a "brute?"
It's not a slur, Jim says. And he doesn't think Terrell-Paige should apologize for calling out certain members of the community.
"Lady, you did nothing wrong," Jim says.
He asks: "Why is it not enough, in a simple matter like this, that's relatively innocent ... why is it necessary to jump all over her and start yelling and condemning it?"
Jim says a brute's a bully -- and that it's easy enough to turn around and say "No, I'm not."
Cohost Bob Williams, however, notes the comments came as the community is recovering from a horrific killing spree, and touched a never.
"Anybody involved in that situation would be offended because of the volitility," Bob says.
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That's just part of what Jim and Bob Williams take on in the latest installment of his show, also available as a podcast. Check out the full episode to hear the rest.
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— New Jersey 101.5 staff. Includes prior reporting by Dan Alexander
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