In today’s episode of What In The Rachel Dolezal Is Going On Here? the first Black woman firefighter in Boynton Beach, Florida, was commemorated last year via the unveiling of a city mural in which she was depicted in celebration of her accomplishments and legacy.
There was only one problem: She was depicted as a white woman in the mural.
According to The New York Post, Latosha Clemons, a woman whose very name should have sent whichever caucasified “artist” was responsible for the mural to Google to see that she is, in fact, a Black woman, has filed a lawsuit against Boynton Beach seeking more than $100,000 for damages “including, but not limited to, loss of income, relocation expenses, and additional living expenses as a result of relocating.”
GSN-Boynton Beach, Florida’s first-ever black female firefighter, Latosha Clemons, has filed a $100,000 lawsuit against the city for defamation and negligence after it unveiled a mural last year that depicted her as a white woman. https://t.co/SqAinZCdpH pic.twitter.com/cpyQ0mEWDy
— HJ (Hank) Ellison (@hjtherealj) October 10, 2021
But before we get into the lawsuit, let’s talk about how we for here in the first place, because, apparently, this wasn’t some accidentally racist mixup and, Clemons wasn’t the only Black firefighter depicted as white in the mural.
According to The Palm Beach Post, Glenn Joseph, the city’s former fire chief and the first Black firefighter in Boca Raton, was also depicted as white in the mural.
Let’s put that a different way: Out of the three lily-white firefighters depicted in the mural, two of them were actually Black people.
Listen: I know it’s Florida and Florida is basically America’s diseased dong of white supremacy, but how does America’s long history of literally whitewashing Black figures to appease racist white spectators still happen in the 21st century?
Well, The Post reported that Debby Coles-Dobay, the city’s now-former public arts manager who was fired behind the egregious act of flagrant Klan-ish-ness, claimed she “was pressured to make this artwork change by the fire chief and his staff, as the City well knows.”
That former fire chief, Matthew Petty, was made to resign from his position over the incident.
I don’t know who this aptly named Petty person is, but clearly, he’s the type of racist, bologna-smelling, non-leg washing, clapping on the one and three and a half, wet dog kissing on the mouth, “Hey, what’s this washcloth thingy for?” no account who feels threatened by the sight of accomplished Black people being celebrated.
Anyway, the mural was up for a day last year before it was taken down amid backlash from people who don’t wish to see Black people aesthetically replaced by melanin-redacted images, but the mural’s removal wasn’t enough to cancel out Clemons’ pain and suffering.
“Being depicted as white was not only a false presentation of CLEMONS, it was also a depiction which completely disrespected all that CLEMONS the first black firefighter for the CITY had accomplished, her determination, focus and hard work,” Clemons’ lawsuit states.
The suit also says that Clemons, who spent 26 years in the department before retiring last year, was subjected to “ridicule, contempt, disgrace and/or humiliation,” after the mural was unveiled.
“It’s been my heart and soul and my lifeblood to serve in the community where I grew up,” she told The Post. “This is beyond disrespect and I basically want to know why it happened.”
Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be a complicated answer here. What happened was good old-fashioned American racism. That’s it and that’s all.
Luckily for Latosha, the city has agreed to “end discovery” and settle the lawsuit.
As they should!