In an act of gender and racial discrimination, the Jasper County Council chairperson addressed the executive director of Beaufort-Jasper-Hampton Comprehensive Health Services and the superintendent of schools using only first names, but properly addressed the president of the Technical College of the Lowcountry. Subsequently, the chairperson requested, "Let's work together." I am pleased to know leaders want unity.
Our leaders must demonstrate mutual respect. Council members act inappropriately and unwisely when addressing presenters by their first names without the appropriate titles. As a resident of Jasper County, I am aware that such disrespectful behavior is harmful to the relationships among leaders, as well as between leaders and constituents, the very people you have pledged to serve and protect. Disregard for simple acts of etiquette, equality and equity hurt our local collective interest.
For example, all people -- not a few, -- presenting to County Council are in a formal setting and are due their proper titles. Denying respect to some constituents, while other constituents are accorded respect, promotes an atmosphere of disunity, not unity. Such disrespect demonstrates inequality and inequity in the treatment of the residents and voters of the county. It is a symbol of the intolerance for fellow citizens that Americans have committed in the past.
I urge officials to be fair and just regardless of demographics, such as race, gender, age, ethnicity or economic status. I urge officials to promote unity and demonstrate a desire to act in the best interest of all their constituents.