Flint, Michigan Official Resigns, Caught Using the N-Word to Point Blame to Black People for the Ongoing Water Crisis

Another day, another insensitive use of the n-word. This time, it was by Flint, Michigan public official Phil Stair, who was caught on tape by water activists using the n-word to refer to black residents of Flint. Stair has since resigned as of Monday (June 5) when the conversation leaked on Truth Against the Machine.

As reported by Michigan Live, Stair was formerly the sales manager for Genessee County Land Bank, a county agency that managed foreclosed homes. The controversial conversation happened last month and was recorded by journalist/activist Chelsea Lyons. In the conversation, Stair basically blamed the ongoing water crisis Flint has been enduring on the city’s black residents while using the n-word to refer to them.

“I don’t want to call them n*****s; sh*t, I just went to Myrtle Beach [with] 24 guys, and I was the only white guy,” Stair told Lyons in the recording, “I got friends. I mean, there’s trash and there’s people that do this sh*t. They just don’t pay their bills. Well, Detroit didn’t collect on their bills, so they charged everybody else, but Flint, Flint had to pay their bill to Detroit.”

“Detroit was charging all its customers for the cost — they weren’t collecting from their residents, they were shutting water off, they were letting bills go forever, they were charging everybody else,” Stair added. “Flint has the same problems as Detroit — f**king n*****s don’t pay their bills, believe me, I deal with them.”

Lyons and another woman met with Stair in May at a local bar to have a two-day conversation about Stair’s former employer forcibly evicting Flint residents out of their homes. Due to the refusal of residents paying their water bills for poisonous, undrinkable water, companies like Land Bank are cracking down on foreclosures.

The manmade water crisis has been affecting Flint residents for nearly two years, so understandably the citizens there are fed up. Foreclosure is a radical move for a city that is not rushing to fix the water infrastructure issues that have led to citizens being without clean water for years. And although there have been announcements of six figure donations and pipes to help rebuild their toxic pipeline, it seems like years later, they are still very much at square one.

Stair blaming the crisis on n-words not paying bills is overly simplistic and incredibly ignorant, not to mention racist.

He went on to tell Lyons that black people were “derelict mother f***k***s” and “f***ing deadbeats” that destroy communities. ”They f**k the houses up and then leave, and we tear them down,” Stair added.

In his resignation letter, there was also a formal apology. Stair stated, “I feel that I cannot carry out nor be effective in my position at the Land Bank with the social media [recording] of my private opinion on the Flint water crisis and the insensitive language used. I am deeply sorry for what I said and those offended. I do not know how I can face my friends and co-workers.”

Lyons told Michigan Live that that recording was the first of many that she plans to release to the public in the coming days. “We’re not going to let this die,” she said to the publication.

Photo Credit: iStock

Sheriden Chanel is a twenty-something writer, Beyoncé enthusiast, and lover of all things visual art. Keep up with her and her musings on social via @indiebyline.