CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The mayor said he stands by his comments that black youth are imitating gangsters, despite a call from the local NAACP to apologize.
Mayor Pat McCrory, who is white, said he was accurate when he wrote that “too many of our youth, primarily African American, are imitating and/or participating in a gangster type of dress, attitude, behavior and action.”
His remarks came in a July 5 letter to the city manager in which McCrory congratulated police for their presence the night before, when 169 people — mostly black — were arrested.
The mayor painted “African American youth with a broad swath that cuts deep in many of our communities,” said Ken White, president of the Charlotte branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
“Mr. McCrory’s comments reinforce that stereotype, especially to those inclined to hold onto racist thinking and behavior,” White said.
McCrory told The Charlotte Observer that he understands his remarks offended some people, but he cited statistics that more than 60 percent of Charlotte’s gang members are black.
“My role as mayor is to communicate what I consider to be concerns and in doing so you have to step on some toes,” he said.
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