CUSD Board member in online controversy The Chandler Arizonan

CUSD Board member in online controversy

CUSD Board member in online controversy
City News

Arizonan News Staff

Chandler Unified School District board member Lindsay Love is defending statements she recently made suggesting she believes “politeness is white supremacy.”

Love, who is African-American and often the center of online controversy, attracted a significant amount of criticism earlier this month after posting a statement highlighting her thoughts on how society should disrupt systems of racial oppression.

“Politeness is white supremacy,” Love wrote. “Every time you prioritize politeness and civility over everything in a conversation, you are complicit in upholding white supremacy.” 

Many parents and community members quickly condemned Love’s rhetoric, calling it a form of racism itself.

Some commenters made threats to recall her from elected office.

Justin Flitton, a Queen Creek resident, has started an online petition to oust Love from the board because he found her statement “disturbing.” As of Tuesday, more than 1,000 people had signed the petition.

But Love isn’t bowing down to her critics and shrugged off threats to thwart her from finishing the two years she has left remaining on her term. 

“If all of this bothers you and makes you want to recall me, then cool,” Love wrote in a follow-up statement.

“But then we know what the motivation truly is, which is upholding white supremacy and masking it as polite disagreement with the Black woman you’ve accused of ruining the district.”

Love further explained how her original statement regarding white supremacy was meant to highlight how silence and inaction has long allowed discriminatory policies to be the norm in American culture.

She argued that politeness and civility allowed for the indoctrination of Native American children in American boarding schools during the late 1800s and the passage of discriminatory Jim Crow laws that enforced racial segregation in Southern states up until the 1960s.

Love said the negative reaction to her original statement only reinforces her point that bigots will try to stop anyone who disrupts the status quo.

“All of the attacks only continue to prove my points about the insidious nature of white supremacy and the weaponizing of politeness to silence marginalized groups,” Love wrote.

Some other elected officials have come to Love’s defense by publicly pledging their support for the school board member amid the backlash.

Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a Democrat, declared herself one of Love’s supporters and described the attacks against Love as “slander.” 

Love has been known for not being afraid to express her opinions online and during school board meetings – even if it results calls for her to step down.

Members of Purple for Parents, a grassroots organization that formed in reaction to the statewide teachers strike in 2018, demanded Love resign in January after she got into a Twitter fight with one of the group’s members.

She was chastised for blocking some of the group’s members from her Twitter account – an action the courts have deemed unconstitutional for an elected official.

Love has since formed a separate social media account intended to represent her official position as a school member.

The Purple Parents group has further insisted Love abstain herself from any votes involving the district’s sex-ed curriculum due to her association with Planned Parenthood.

The criticism hasn’t intimidated Love out of vocalizing her beliefs online or from making decisions as a school board member that might upset the district’s parents.

Last month, Love was one of two board members to reject a plan for reopening Chandler Unified’s campuses because of concerns she had about students and teachers contracting the COVID-19 virus.

The district later reversed the plan by delaying the reopening of schools until October.

Barbara Mozdzen, the school board’s president, recently said Love and other board members still have constitutional rights to free speech that must be protected. But any personal comments made by a board member should not be interpreted as being representative of the district, she said.   

“The comments made by individual board members do not represent the opinions of the Governing Board as a whole or the administration,” Mozdzen emphasized earlier this month.

Three seats on the CUSD board are up for election this November. Mozdzen and two newcomers and running to fill the seats.

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