Paris’ Notre Dame Cathedral nearly burned to the ground Monday, but Cincinnati Councilwoman Tamaya Dennard called the reaction to the tragic event a “prime example of privilege.”
Dennard, who serves as president pro tem of the Cincinnati City Council, made the comments on Twitter early Tuesday morning.
“I’m saddened that the beautiful cathedral in France was damaged. But this is a prime example of privilege. White people don’t have to see me if they don’t choose to. Black people don’t have a choice. Please read Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison,” she said.
She referenced the disparity in news coverage between Monday’s fire and the recent arsons against predominantly black churches in Louisiana as proof of her argument.
“It’s possible to hold multiple truth. I’m also saddened that Black churches in Louisiana were burned down. I’m sure they held significance as well. They were barely acknowledged,” Dennard wrote on Twitter.
I’m saddened that the beautiful cathedral in France was damaged. But this is a prime example of privilege. White people don’t have to see me if they don’t choose to. Black people don’t have a choice. Please read Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison.
— Tamaya Dennard (@TDennard) April 16, 2019
Joe Mallory, vice president of Cincinnati’s chapter of the NAACP, told The Cincinnati Enquirer that he agrees with Dennard.
“This is not the first time this has happened with black churches, where people set fires to them. There is not an outcry. It’s sad, but it’s the reality of this country what people value,” he said.
He said city officials will “leave no stone unturned to improve” local landmarks such as Music Hall or Union Terminal.
“If something happened to Music Hall, I guarantee they would rebuild it. Clearly, there is not a lot of value placed on black life; there’s no investment in trying to uplift the black community,” Mallory continued.
According to The Enquirer, Hamilton County Republican Party Chairman Alex Triantafilou criticized Dennard’s comments in a Facebook post.
“City voters made a mistake electing this person to lead our fine city,” he said. “It is a mistake I only hope they reverse in 2021. This is an embarrassment.”
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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of Battleground State News, The Ohio Star, and The Minnesota Sun. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo “Tamaya Dennard” by Tamaya Dennard. Background Photo “Cincinnati City Hall” by Greg Hume. CC BY-SA 3.0.