Muskogee City Councilor for Ward 2 Jaime Stout apologized just now for an earlier Facebook post where she presented a picture of the Confederate flag with the caption “Just posting this historical flag to offend the ignorant people.”
In the midst of a nationwide movement to repudiate the movement honoring the flag of the Confederate States’ rebellion against the United States a century and a half ago, Stout apologized and said she really wasn’t thinking of the racial connotations of the flag when she posted it.
“I was just looking at it as part of the history of Oklahoma and the South,” she said just now. “I honestly didn’t think of what it represents racially.”
Stout said she talked to black city councilors Marlon Coleman and Derrick Reed tonight and they accepted her explanation.
“I removed the post as soon as I realized that it might be taken in a racial way,” she said. “I don’t have a racist bone in my body.”
MuskogeeNOW.com received numerous reports of the post with calls to remove Stout from office, given the tide of protests and change accompanying the murder of George Floyd. Stout said she realizes now she should have thought more about the post before making it.
“I was honestly only thinking of the flag in context of representing our history,” she said. “I meant nothing racist by it.”
Reed, Coleman and Councilor Traci McGee were unavailable for comment.
UPDATE: Stout posted the following apology on Facebook:
I sincerely apologize for my recent Confederate flag posting on Facebook. It was wrong and insensitive given my position as an elected official, and as a person who strives to embrace everyone as being the same. The current cultural climate in our country requires elected officials to be sensitive to the times we live in and to help lead our communities to towards reconciliation and peace. The last thing I want is for the people in our community to feel disrespected in any way, and I therefore ask for your prayers and forgiveness as I work alongside others to bring healing to our community.
UPDATE: Marlon Coleman released the following statement:
Over the years we have known Councilor Jaime Stout to be someone who wants what is best for all of Muskogee. However, the recently shared Facebook posting by Councilor Stout was blatantly irresponsible and culturally insensitive. Neither Councilor Derrick A. Reed or I embraced an “explanation” for her actions as represented on the muskogeenow.com website. We expect that Councilor Stout will do the right thing and immediately issue a public apology for this action and work towards advocating for unity in our community. Many Muskogee residents strive to be far removed from embracing or accepting Southern symbols used to divide us as a nation, and do not intend to subscribe to those behaviors now. We believe in the power of people and trust Councilor Stout will do the right thing.
To clarify, our story did not say Coleman or Reed accepted her expiation, but only that she SAID they did.