For the first hour of the election forum in Marysville, Michigan, on Thursday night the debate between the five candidates for a city council seat dealt with the local subjects you might expect – how to improve Little League fields, new real estate developments and the like.
Then the question came: “Do you believe the diversity of our community needs to be looked at?”
First to answer was Jean Cramer, a local resident running her first political campaign. She replied: “Keep Marysville a white community as much as possible.”
Her response, reported by the Times-Herald newspaper in Port Huron, sent a ripple of laughter and then shock across the hall. Marysville, a small town of 10,000 north-east of Detroit, is 98% white and 0.3% African American.
Cramer’s unalloyed remark was immediately denounced by other Marysville figures. The town’s acting mayor, Kathy Hayman, said: “I don’t even know that I can talk yet, I’m so upset and shocked.”
Hayman added that her father was Syrian. “So basically, what you’ve said…