Killeen resident clarifies ‘Black dudes’ remarks made at council meeting

James “Jack” Ralston speaks at Tuesday’s Killeen City Council meeting in this screenshot from a video of the meeting. Comments made by Ralston at the meeting have generated controversy.

Following remarks made by a Killeen resident at Tuesday’s City Council meeting, a number of other residents have taken issue with those remarks.

During the citizens comments section of the meeting, James “Jack” Ralston voiced his objection to the notion of installing metal detectors at City Hall, which he equates to a form of gun control.

Without specifying a meeting date, Ralston said this issue came about mainly because of one particular City Hall meeting, which a number of Second Amendment activists attended.

The comment made at Tuesday’s workshop that has generated criticism is as follows:

“The whole concept of metal detectors is kind of abhorrent to me. I know what started it. A bunch of big, Black, scary dudes came into the city council chambers, and some other folks came in to express their First Amendment speech rights, and people got scared. But they didn’t do anything.”

Ralston, a vocal supporter of both the First and Second Amendment rights, clarified by phone on Wednesday that he thinks funding for street repair should come before funding for metal detectors, and that such detectors will prevent law abiding citizens, who are legally carrying guns, from attending City Hall meetings.

Councilmember Shirley Fleming, also a gun owner and a Second Amendment supporter, has expressed her support for installing metal detectors at City Hall. She also said on Tuesday that she has received approximately 25 phone calls from her constituents, many of whom feel Ralston’s comments were racist.

“It was not racist,” Ralston said on Tuesday, adding that he used shock value to make his point and the meeting attendees he mentioned were not to be feared.

“My point was that people overreacted — that these folks were ‘scary’ and the fact that they were Black made them even more ‘scary.’ My point was that just because someone is ‘big and scary and Black’ doesn’t’ mean they are going to attack you.”

Speaking in a historical context, Ralston also noted during the Tuesday meeting the work of anti-slavery activist Harriet Tubman and Civil Rights activist Ida B. Wells, in honor of Black History Month, both of whom were also supporters of the Second Amendment.

Councilmember Debbie Nash-King said on Wednesday that Ralston’s use of “scary, Black men” in his comments was “a terrible example.”

“In honor of Black History Month, he used examples of Black people carrying a gun or weapon,” Nash-King said. “Black History Month is the time to honor those who have contributed to making America a better place for all.”

Nash-King touched on the Second Amendment issues Ralston had raised.

“I do understand that he doesn’t want us to ban weapons from city council meetings, but he went about it the wrong way,” she said.

swilson@kdhnews.com | 254-501-7463

(3) comments

LynnLVNRNB1

Mr. Ralston’s explanation to the racist comment he made during council meeting equates to “ open mouth, insert foot”...

Alethia

The subject of concern was the need to use the word "Black" and "Scary". This person felt the proposal to have "metal detectors", was the result of his quote, "A bunch of big, Black, scary dudes came into the city council chambers, and some other folks came in to express their First Amendment speech rights, and people got scared. But they didn’t do anything.”

I am not sure what he was expecting them to do ("But they didn’t do anything.”) or was this a quote expressing the men respectfully and peacefully addressed Council. He did use Black as discriminatory and went as far as to express that he felt the men were "scary dudes". What people got scared?

Each and every resident has the right to express their concerns and by vote we receive the results. Americans shout to the roof tops that we are a freedom State. If every person acted accordingly there would be no need for laws, but even Biblical (for those who read) speaks of decent and order and the need for laws. Many times the miss-communication begins with the lack of understanding or when one magnitudes the problem to get their point across.

The pros and cons of metal detectors in Chamber should have been the focus. Not what one perceived why another felt the need to address. Unless the man asked what was the root cause of one's concern. Again, this was discriminatory and once again many walk away with an image and perpetuate negative racial stereotype of a race of people, especially Black Men. Black Men have been building, supporting and sacrificing for not only the U.S. but the entire world. Before one speaks, check their thoughts, hearts and words. But, if that is what's in you it will truly come out.

killeenisterrible

This is only an issue because a white person said it. He's a soft right too, without people like him, our country would still be good and safe. You better recognize your "white allies" and appreciate them as fewer and fewer of them exist.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.