The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

Willie Wilson Calls Out Black Aldermen For Backing Emanuel In His Own Peculiar Way

By Chuck Sudo in News on Feb 6, 2015 3:35PM

Businessman and mayoral candidate Willie Wilson has denied comments attributed to him at a City Club of Chicago speech Thursday, the latest in a series of verbal gaffes that have plagued Wilson's campaign.

Speaking on issues of race in politics before the City Club, Wilson criticized black aldermen for being in lockstep with Mayor Rahm Emanuel on City Council votes and said, “it’s unfortunate that in this kind of era, this time of the year that we have to sell ourselves out.”

It's a reasonable criticism from a candidate hoping to capitalize on the disenchantment of black voters who supported Emanuel four years ago only to find the mayor's policies have hurt them the most. But Wilson continued and delivered the quote that had his campaign team doing damage control Thursday and is likely spurring water cooler conversation in offices across the city this morning.

"To the whiteys here, I'm letting you know, I ain't prejuidiced."

The Sun-Times published their story on Wilson's speech late Thursday afternoon. Shortly after, Wilson's camp released a statement denying Wilson used the term "whitey" and intimated reporter Tina Sfondeles "didn’t understand my Louisiana enunciation.” The Sun-Times stands by its reporting and posted audio of the "whiteys" clip and Wilson's full speech before the City Club of Chicago.


Wilson has become more polished with the media as the mayoral race moves towards its conclusion but it's verbal gaffes like these that paint his candidacy as nothing more than a cynical play for black votes. We assume Wilson's "whiteys" comment to be nothing more than a joke that wound up falling flat and is now blown out of proportion.

Wilson later said, “If I said something like that, that ain’t me. How could it be me when I support, you know, white candidates?”

One white candidate Wilson supported? Gov. Bruce Rauner, a fact that may have many black voters asking if Wilson sold out.