Georgia mayor’s post that ‘privilege is wearing $200 sneakers’ is slammed as racist

A Georgia mayor is under fire over a Facebook post about “privilege” that took aim at people who receive government assistance or are unemployed.

Benjamin Rozier, the mayor of Bloomingdale, about 18 miles from downtown Savannah, posted a statement Tuesday to a community Facebook group saying what he thinks it means to be privileged.

“Privilege is wearing $200 sneakers when you’ve never had a job,” the post on the Gossip Bloomingdale GA Facebook page said. “Privilege is wearing $300 Beats headphones while living on public assistance.”

Rozier, 59, continued, “Privilege is having as many children as you want, regardless of your employment status, and be able to send them off to daycare or school you don’t pay for.”

He also took aim at protesters, seeming to focus particularly on young people.

“Privilege is the ability to go march against, and protest against anything that triggers you, without worrying about calling out of work and the consequences that accompany such behavior.”

The post has been removed but screenshots of it remain in the Facebook group.

Rozier declined to comment when reached by phone Thursday.

In a statement on Facebook, the Bloomingdale City Council and administration said it is aware of the post Rozier made Tuesday and the reaction by the general public.

“The Bloomingdale City Council wishes to state collectively that this action taken by Mayor Rozier is his action and his action alone,” the statement on the city’s page said. “We in no way condone or endorse any single or collective posts made by the Mayor.”

“The City of Bloomingdale is a Municipal Corporation that is charged with the protection of the health, safety, and welfare of its citizens,” it added. “This includes all citizens regardless of race, gender, color or creed.”

The Bloomingdale City Council said it will always strive to live up to this mandate and to be a governing body of service, inclusion and promote a cohesive community. Bloomingdale is a small, predominantly white city with a population of about 2,700, according to Data USA.

Rozier drew public scrutiny in 2018 when he called a commenter on Facebook a “cotton picker,” according to The Savannah Morning News. He later told CBS affiliate WTOC in Savannah that he used the phrase after reading the bio of a woman whose comment he replied to, “and it said she was a cotton picker at a cotton field or a cotton patch. At that point, I found that to be either humorous or weird. I replied to her, and her thread the words ‘cotton picker.'”