Barry Presgraves, the mayor of Luray, Va. is facing backlash after posting an offensive statement to Facebook claiming that “Joe Biden just announced Aunt Jemima as his VP pick,” the Washington Post reports.
It is not news that many have been encouraging presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden to consider several powerful women, including Black women to be his VP, with names such as Sen. Kamala Harris and Stacey Abrams at the top of the list, making Presgraves racist, sexist comments even more out of pocket.
The Aunt Jemima trope also has painful roots, bearing the name and likeness of a Black woman inspired by minstrel shows. In June, Quaker Oats, which owns the brand, said that it would no longer be using the logo, acknowledging that it’s “based on a racial stereotype.”
Presgraves’s post has since been deleted from his’ social media, however, the language quickly drew attention from social media users, including from individuals on the Luray Town Council, as the report notes, many of whom asked Presgraves to resign.
“It was just inappropriate and disappointing. We are trying to get in touch with him. It’s been a sleepless night for me,” Councilmember Jerry Dofflemyer told the Post.
According to the report, Presgraves is not running for reelection in November, and despite the calls for his resignation, he has refused to hear it.
“I saw it last week, and I thought it was funny,” Presgraves told the Page Valley News. “ I thought it was humorous. I had no idea people would react the way they did. I think people have gone overboard on this…It’s an election year.”
“Hell no, I’m not resigning,” he added. “The people elected me and I have a few months more to serve.”