FIRST ON CBS7 UPDATE: ECISD school board member says "culture and personal experiences" keep him from seeing and understanding racism
Late last week, Ector County ISD school board member Doyle Woodall told CBS7 he uses Facebook to share things with his friends.
Ideas like a meme that says, "If we want to make American great again, we will have to make evil people fear punishment again." All that typed on top of a noose on a black background.
Another shows Nazi officers with the words “It’s not murder" and “Jews aren’t actually people," and another photo of a pregnant woman and another woman with “It’s not murder” on top and “Babies aren’t actually people” on the bottom.
A third shows groups of Muslims in prayer and says “Spill a few gallons of bacon grease on that street and it would clear out fast,” followed by three American flags.
Woodall believes Islam isn't a religion. He told the Odessa American, “I believe it is a geopolitical hate group, just like the skinheads and the white supremacists are. No religion ... cuts off people’s heads for being gay or kills their wives because they weren’t obedient to their husband. ...”
Woodall defended all of the memes on Thursday with CBS7 - and again on Friday with a reporter from the Odessa American.
Now, after two major stories have run on TV and in the newspaper, after dozens of people have left negative comments about them on local media Facebook pages, after being rebuked by the ECISD superintendent and the school board president over the weekend, and a state teaching association on Monday, Woodall has changed his tune and is apologizing for posting the memes.
In an email sent to local media this morning, Woodall says, "There are things I don’t see and understand because of my culture and personal experiences. For years I have prayed daily for God to remove my blinders."
Woodall said as of Sunday, he's gotten death threats.
A group of Odessans plans to be at the ECISD Board of Trustees workshop this evening at 6:00 p.m. to demand Woodall's removal.
Esteban Hernandez has started a position at CHANGE.org to have Woodall removed as well. He's looking for 5,000 signatures. As of Tuesday morning around 10:30 a.m., he had gotten 4,300.
Here is Woodall's full apology email:
"I am truly sorry for my offensive Facebook posts. I am committed to earning back your trust. I have blinders. There are things I don’t see and understand because of my culture and personal experiences. For years I have prayed daily for God to remove my blinders.
"Last Friday, I was being interviewed by Ruth Campbell, a reporter from the Odessa American, and I was still angry at what I saw as a small group of people trying to interfere with my constitutional right to free speech. Near the end of our interview Ruth asked me if I knew she is Jewish, and I said, no. She told me what one of my posts meant to her as a Jewish woman and I felt I had been kicked in the stomach. It was the opposite of my intent for the post. I had seen it only from my perspective. A blinder came off.
"On Saturday, I visited with A.J. Crabill, the former Deputy Commissioner for education in State of Texas. We have known each other for a couple of years. We have worked side-by-side for multiple hours on several occasions. I have a lot of respect and admiration for Mr. Crabill. He is Black man, and I asked him what that post meant to him and when he told me what it meant to him as a Black man, again, it was like another kick in the stomach. Another blinder came off.
"Because of these experiences, I am a better man today than I was at this time last week. Today, I understand why my posts were offensive. I will remove them from my page. I have a lot to learn about cultural differences and I will dedicate a great deal of time learning by attending cultural awareness and sensitivity training. I want to say again, I am truly sorry."
When asked on a CBS7.com poll Monday if ECISD board member Doyle Woodall should resign after posting racist memes on Facebook? -- 61% said yes, 39% said no.