A NC Official Is Under Fire for a Racist ‘What is Privilege?’ Facebook Post

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By patmoran

June 26, 2020

A deputy register of deeds in Alamance County posted a message about “privilege” that deploys racist stereotypes to critique Black Lives Matter protesters. 

“What is privilege?” began a June 18 Facebook post by Alamance County Deputy Register of Deeds Cheryl Marley. 

Marley goes on to answer her question with language that, while not specifically mentioning any race, uses racist stereotypes about people of color that appears to critique Black Lives Matter protesters.

“Privilege is the ability to go march against and protest against anything that triggers you, without worrying about calling out of work and the consequences that accompany such behavior,” it says. “Privilege is wearing $200 sneakers when you’ve never had a job. Privilege is wearing $300 Beats headphones while living on public assistance.”

The post, which is similar to viral posts shared by at least three other local officials reported in other states,  flips the script on dialogue about white privilege, attempting to show that people of color are really privileged by listing numerous stereotypes, citing free smartphone data plans, subsidized housing, having “as many children as you want” in “daycare or school you don’t pay for.” 

Marley pulled the post down a day and a half later but not before several people reposted it.

Some social media users responded critically to the post.

“I work every day for everything and have NEVER been on assistance and NEVER worn a $200 pair of anything and NEVER had $300 Beats headphones,” responded one Black Facebook user. “[I] pay taxes and a water bill that is way too high, and paid for daycare for children and grandchildren.”

“Employees posting racist rants while on the clock is no way to run a government service,” said another Facebook user, who was white.

When contacted by the Burlington Times News, Marley referred all questions to her supervisor, Alamance Register of Deeds Hugh Webster, who denied the charges of racism against Marley.

“Those of us who work for a living, who save and struggle and scrimp and save in order to afford to buy a car to pay for it, in order to afford to pay the cost of these cell phones, in order to not depend on government handouts for food, shelter, clothing, cellphones and $200 tennis shoes, don’t think that’s racist,” Webster told the Times-News, echoing similar stereotypes about low-income people of color that Marley made. “That is a matter of character. There’s probably as many whites as Blacks who are on the dole.”

Alamance County’s Register of Deeds Office has received many angry phone calls about Marley’s post, Webster said.

“The whole thing has upset the employees,” he said.

Marley is reportedly retiring in six months, after losing her bid to become the next Register of Deeds in the Republican primary in March. Webster is retiring at the same time, the Times-News wrote.


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