Reaction to Councilman Sharing Racist Post: "I'm Shocked People Are Shocked"

The subject line on a recent email sent to Denver City Councilman Albus Brooks. The complete post is on view below.
The subject line on a recent email sent to Denver City Councilman Albus Brooks. The complete post is on view below. Facebook
This week, Denver City Councilman Albus Brooks shared on his Facebook page a racist email he received as a way of underscoring and decrying the hateful speech, messaging and behavior he feels has been unleashed by President Donald Trump and the forces behind his rise to power. According to Brooks, Caucasians and people of color have reacted to the post very differently.

"The predominant responses I received were from white constituents and friends who just couldn't believe it," he notes. "One said, 'I wouldn't have believed it if you hadn't put it up.' But an African-American wrote, 'I'm shocked people are shocked.'"

Brooks definitely wasn't caught off-guard. He estimates that he's received racially ignorant messages once or twice a month throughout much of 2017 "because of the current regime we have in office nationally." So when the latest one arrived, he decided to use it as a way of demonstrating the disturbing nature of such sentiments.

Here's a look at the complete image, headlined "Let me ax you a question:"

"I receive racist emails all the time," Brooks revealed in the introduction to his post. "I am going to start exposing the hate and racism that exist in our Country/State/City in 2017. Disgusted but unfortunately not surprised. In the face of hate we will rise STRONG and lead with LOVE."

The latest email is fairly typical of the offensive material he's received over time, Brooks maintains. "I can't believe the blatant racist and white-supremacist attacks I've seen personally, and I'm tired of them — and tired of responding privately."

In addition, he goes on, "I'm tired of having these discussions with people in the dark. I wanted to bring this into the light."

Such views put other national events into context, Brooks contends — including the reasons behind national anthem demonstrations by some NFL players prior to games.

click to enlarge
An Albus Brooks self-portrait shared earlier this month.
"Some folks see players kneeling as a divisive issue," he acknowledges. "But I want people to see why they're kneeling, and why they're saying black lives matter. It's because of things like this."

In many ways, he sees the Age of Trump as "a really sad time. But at the same time, I feel more emboldened to just lead this life of love and transparency and fervor around justice — and to call things out. That's why I did this."

Abhorrent thinking of the sort seen in the email "has no place, especially in a city like Denver, Colorado," Brooks goes on. "Even though the city has Klan roots, this is not who we are today. We're better than this."

With that in mind, he not only plans to continue sharing racist attacks that come his way, "but I'm asking other people to do the same. Because this is ridiculous. It has no place in 2017."
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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts