anelist Burg would bring up the term "white privilege." She intimated how everyone in the room was incapable in walking in others' shoes.
That's when the conversation took a tense turn. Bauman said she "resented" Burg's talk of privilege, as if the life she had somehow required no effort.
"Because I'm white, you think I was privileged my whole life?" she asked. "Are you kidding?"
Johnson's voiced changed. She said Bauman was "the exact reason" New Brighton needed a task force. If Bauman didn't understand white privilege, the mayor continued, she was handicapped in representing the community in its entirety.
"What you have just said," Johnson said, "is the most racist — "
"Excuse me?" interrupted Bauman. "Don't you ever, ever accuse me of that. You have no basis to say something like that in public."
The mayor offered clarification: "Let me rephrase it. That statement was one of the most racist things I've ever heard.… That statement that you're not feeling the white privilege thing."
They started yelling.
"You're interrupting me! By golly, I'm running this meeting!" said Johnson.
Bauman shot back that she probably knew more people of color than the mayor.
"You're out of order!" Johnson said.
"And you're out of line!" retorted Bauman.
The exchange simmered when Johnson got teary-eyed: "Goddonnit, Gina! I'm passionate about this! I'm so passionate about hearing all sides of the story and for you to disregard the fact that white privilege exists is beyond me."
Things chilled when City Manager Dean Lotter diplomatically intervened. He didn't want to lose sight of the fact "that everyone around this table" has the same goal "to know people feel good" about living in New Brighton.