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.