State schools super nominee says no to ‘Color Purple’
by Jon Gillooly
August 03, 2014 04:00 AM | 7995 views | 11 11 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Richard Woods
Richard Woods
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Kenya Pierre
Kenya Pierre
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MARIETTA — A reference to “VHS copies of ‘The Color Purple’” made by Richard Woods, the Republican nominee for state schools superintendent, has left a Cobb school board candidate cold.

Woods spoke to the monthly breakfast meeting of the Cobb Republican Party, where he blasted the U.S. Department of Education and called for an emphasis on reading, writing and arithmetic.

“We have to make sure that our kids know our history. They are going to know the true American history,” Woods said. “It will not be liberalism, it will not be progressivism, but it will be something that is based on our Founding Fathers. It will be the Constitution, it will be the Declaration of Independence, it will be the Federalist Papers. We will teach the truth, because last time I heard, the truth will set you free, OK?”

Woods called for support from the audience, saying he needed help. He faces Democrat Valarie Wilson, a former chairwoman of the Decatur school board, in November.

“Come November, again we need to stand together, because we are going to let the Democrats know that they are living on Fantasy Island, OK?” Woods said. “They may dust off their copies of their VHS copies of ‘The Color Purple,’ but it isn’t going to happen, all right? We are going to remain Republican red in our state, and we’re going to move this state forward so that we can do the very best, and again, I look forward to being your next state school superintendent of schools.”

“The Color Purple” is a 1985 film starring Whoopi Goldberg, based on a book about a 14-year-old black girl growing up in Georgia in the early 1900s.

Attorney Kenya Pierre of Smyrna, a Democrat running for the Post 2 seat on the Cobb Board of Education, was not pleased by Woods’ remarks.

“I have no idea what VHS tapes or ‘The Color Purple’ or anything has to do with bettering education for our children,” Pierre said. “To bring ‘The Color Purple’ in, it makes me wonder: ‘What are you alluding to?’ Are you alluding to you want things to be back the way they were where slavery was dominant? Are you alluding to the fact that you don’t want diversity within your state where there was a separation of what African-Americans could do and could not do? I don’t know. I mean, I don’t know what that has to do with anything, and I think if we’re talking about education, then maybe we need him to be a little bit more educated in the history of this nation and how horrific a time that was.”

Republican Susan Thayer, an education consultant challenging Pierre for the school board seat, was among those at the GOP breakfast. Thayer believes Woods was referencing a desire to keep Georgia politically red, rather than a mix of red Republican and Democratic blue.

“Because you know red and blue combined makes purple, so that’s what I thought, but that was the way I took it that we don’t need to become purple. We need to maintain our red Republican influence,” Thayer said. “I think you can play it either way, but I don’t think it was his intent (to make a racial reference), and I didn’t feel it was at the time. I felt he was strictly talking from a political standpoint of purple. You know, we don’t want to become purple, we want to maintain our Republican influence.”

Pierre said to comment about “The Color Purple” is to reference the film, not the lavender color.

“You’re not talking about the color. Good try to cover him up, but that’s not where he was going,” Pierre said. “Even if that was the explanation, why would you want anything to be divided when it comes to education? That could have been a good spin, but it wasn’t a good conclusion. That still bothers me as a parent who is trying to raise her children to be diverse and accept other cultures and accept other views and values.”

“That is very disturbing to say, ‘Oh yeah, that’s what it meant,’ because that’s just not the world we live in. I think it’s a little disturbing that people want to be separate,” she said.

Comments
(11)
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anonymous
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August 10, 2014
Oh QUICKLY! An opportunity to paint a republican as a racist!

Get a campaign, get a life, get over the race card.

Marge345
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August 06, 2014
I do not think the color purple is a literary achievement. It is a good story, but it has violent scenes. It may be better placed in a social studies class. Blacks need to stop getting upset every time a black novel or similar is not popular. Stop bullying everyone into your political agenda. Other races could use a good book too. Color purple is not like the Good Earth or anything. It is really a book about the old and current mistreatment of women.
Eric S
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August 05, 2014
Cobb county needs educated children, not thinly veiled bigots using the education system to climb the political ladder. Flush this moron.
Jerrold Thompson
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August 04, 2014
I'm sure at some point someone who actually reads books, not just lists titles he hasn't read, will point out the fact that candidate Richard Woods opposes a book composed of a child's letters to God when he defames and threatens to ban THE COLOR PURPLE. I am sure he does not realize that fact or it's import and yet speaks so boldly and disrespectfully, more or less disqualifying himself as an educational leader. I would not want such a careless thinker and irreligious individual guiding my daughter's education. As Dr Maya Angelou has said of Alice Walker's Pulitzer & Natl Book award winner," If we cannot take our troubles to God, who can we take them to."
Rick D Day
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August 04, 2014
I want to ask those who utter such things why we NEED, I repeat NEED to "Keep Georgia Red"? Do 'those people' think that if the GOP lost control of the schools, that the white state would become subservient to "those not like them"?

What you NEED to do, sir, is sit down, shut up, TRY HARD not to break anything else with your flailing elbows, and quit motivating people to go vote AGAINST you.

What you propose as your educational focus would take 2-3 months' tops (ANCIENT US WHITE HISTORY 101). Monroe wrote in the Federalist papers there should be no Bill of Rights, and there should only be one leader.

Just what is it you think is so critical that making the Federalist Papers a cornerstone of your curriculum?

So what ya got in store for the next 11 years and 8 months....mandatory BIBLE study? Most GOP voters I know would love that!

Someone ought to beat this guys butt purple at the polls.
MikeBT
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August 03, 2014
Clearly his way of thinking is as old as the VHS tape format. Thank God he didn't say anything about The Color Purple DVDs.
Mister Purple
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August 03, 2014
This guy Woods has panicked early by using a not too well insertion of race into the race for a seat on the Cobb School Board. His reference to “VHS copies of ‘The Color Purple’ have left a many of us fearing there may be even more gutter politics used by his campaign.

Using code words to rally support and injecting threats of imagined violence, lowering of property values, and protecting the chastity of southern belles is not what Cobb needs in a member of the school board.

Watcher...
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August 03, 2014
"Mister Purple," please get your information correct.

Woods is NOT running for the Cobb School Board!

Are you one of the "low informed" Voters that Rush Limbaugh talks about?
Just Wait
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August 03, 2014
The arrogance of Republicans has no bounds.
Paper Mill gal
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August 10, 2014
The thin-skinned reply of this man's challenger to the position lets me know right away that she'll be an activist supporter of Common Core and the dumbing down and politicizing of the curriculum. No doubt she's also attempting to catapult herself into a position with one of Obama's agencys, probably does not care which one, as long as it provides a comfy cubicle from which to spout her race card and a hefty and early government pension, preferably with full benefits and the right to double dip.

Pile on Democrats. Your president is the LEAST popular president ever, and that is with blacks, whites, Hispanics and yes, even terrorists. They laugh at him and project laser shows on the U.S. Embassy in Moscow of Obama eating a banana. Now, that's racist you dimwits.
IceDogg
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August 03, 2014
Speaking as a libertarian with no allegiance to either the democrats or republicans, I can say in a fair and balanced impartial way that Woods sounds like an idiot. Don't count on my vote.
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