One of the speakers at the Feb. 4 City Council meeting suggested that Greensboro Police Chief Brian James was hired because he is an African American.

That statement didn’t sit well with City Councilmember Justin Outling, who is the only black male on the City Council. Outling, unlike some of his fellow councilmembers, didn’t say anything at the time in keeping with City Council policy, but near the end of the meeting when it was Outling’s time to speak he had more than a few words to say about the earlier statement that had been made by an African-American speaker.

Outling said, “A statement was made to the effect that the new chief of police was some how a token hire. To me that is a perfect reflection of white supremacy and racism that all of us including persons of color experience.”

Outling continued, “What I heard consistently from community members and staff persons alike was that Brian James was by far the best person for the job on his merits irrespective of whether or not he is a person of color or whether or not he graduated from A&T, so on and so forth, although he is all of those things in addition to.

“So that someone would make the assumption, quite frankly a person of color, that because of his race he was only hired because of his race is a perfect reflection of the ideas white supremacy and racism that all of us experience thinking that a person of color is lesser than because they are a person of color.”

Outling concluded by saying that this was an issue that came up with some frequency and “we all can do a better job of checking our prejudices and internalized racism.”

Outling also invited everyone to Java with Justin, which will be held Friday, Feb. 14 beginning at 8:30 a.m. at Dolce Aroma coffee shop 233 N. Elm St.