A councilor refuses to call his black…
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A councilor refuses to call his black colleague "doctor" in a business meeting and is fired

April 30, 2021 • By Alison Forde

A city council in North Carolina fired city planning councilor Tony Collins, a white-skinned man, who refused to use the title "doctor" whenever he had to address one of the black women at the meeting of the planning commission. The continuous corrections by the woman, Carrie Rosario, repeated several times during the long meeting that took place via the Zoom platform, were of little use. "Call me Doctor Rosario, please", but the public official continued to call her "Mrs Rosario" even after the woman pointed out his mistake. What's the problem? Perhaps, we are once again faced with a case of racism and sexism which, rightly, has been punished. Otherwise, why would Mr. Collins have so stubbornly refused in the face of such a simple request?

Carrie Rosario has a doctorate and is an associate professor at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. During the long meeting on Zoom with the various city councilors, Dr. Rosario raised some concerns regarding a construction project in her area, near her home. It was in this context that a first municipal commissioner mistakenly called her by the wrong title of her and immediately apologized to her, as soon as the woman pointed it out to him. After a while, however, the city planning councilor, Tony Collins, began to refer to her as "Mrs Rosario". The man continued to refer to her in that way even after being reprimanded several times by the woman: "Please call me by my title, Doctor Rosario." "I read her name is Carrie Rosario, so I'll call her that" - at that point, it was evident that officer Tony Collins was deliberately disrespecting the woman.

Doctor Rosario, for her part, was very frustrated by the exchange that took place with Commissioner Collins, also because she had made him a simple and more than legitimate request. Tony Collins' pride apparently got the better of the man, which is why the Greensboro City Council decided to sack him from his role as councilor. 


A well-deserved victory, therefore, for Dr. Rosario, who sweated and struggled like everyone else to achieve her degree. Why would anyone want to denigrate her like this?

Tags: EthicalStories

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