On Thursday candidate Willie Wilson spoke on the issue of race in the city. Wilson said whites don’t sufficiently understand how race impacts the black community and that black lawmakers in the city have sold out to the white mayor.
“I want to call it like it is,” Wilson said during a luncheon, the Chicago Tribune reported. “It’s unfortunate that in this kind of era, this time of the year that we have to sell ourselves out.”
Wilson expressed disappointment at blacks who’ve been selling out to Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel by “voting pretty much 100%” with the mayor. Then Wilson went on to assure white people that he’s not prejudiced, which may’ve gone over well had it not been for Wilson’s language.
“To the whiteys here, I’m letting you know, I ain’t prejudiced,” Wilson told the luncheon attendees.
Wilson denied making the comments, but an audio recording released later seems to confirm the Sun’s reporting.
“I’m not sure where this is coming from,” Wilson said in the statement. “I am proud to count people of all races as friends and supporters and would never refer to anyone as ‘Whitey.’ Maybe the reporter didn’t understand my Louisiana enunciation.”
In a debate on Thursday night, Wilson again denied that he’d used the term “Whitey.”
“Absolutely not. . . . I did not say that. That’s the bottom line,” Wilson said. ”We don’t use those kinds of things.”
“That’s a defensive word, ‘whitey’ That’s a defensive word. That be like somebody calling me the “n” word. So I would not do that, all right?”
Wilson did, however, attempt to make it clear during the luncheon that he’s committed to all of the city’s citizens.
“I pledge to give my life to all citizens of American and in this particular case, here in Chicago as mayor,” he said. “It doesn’t matter what color you are to me. I’m not running because I’m black or African-American or colored, or Negro. I’m running [because] I’m the best human being for this job to get it done.”