GOP state school super candidate's quizzical 'Color Purple' reference leaves us baffled

I was taken out of context, says Richard Woods

Richard Woods is the Republican nominee for State School Superintendent. In November, he will battle Democratic contender Valarie Wilson, the former president of the Georgia Schools Board Association and executive director of the Atlanta Beltline Partnership. He's gonna need support so, like other serious candidates, he's out shaking hands and meeting voters.

On Sunday, Woods spoke to a GOP crowd in Cobb County. For Woods and other Republican candidates to emerge victorious, he said, the party needed to be united. Here's how he framed it, according to the Marietta Daily Journal:

“Come November, again we need to stand together, because we are going to let the Democrats know that they are living on Fantasy Island, OK?” Woods said. “They may dust off their copies of their VHS copies of ‘The Color Purple,’ but it isn’t going to happen, all right? We are going to remain Republican red in our state, and we’re going to move this state forward so that we can do the very best, and again, I look forward to being your next state school superintendent of schools.”

"The Color Purple," is, as readers probably know, an acclaimed film based on Alice Walker's Pulitzer-winning novel about growing up in the South during the early 1900s. Probably not the best example to use.

In addition, Woods also told the crowd that the state's early American history curriculum would get an overhaul. Also from the MDJ:

“We have to make sure that our kids know our history. They are going to know the true American history,” Woods said. “It will not be liberalism, it will not be progressivism, but it will be something that is based on our Founding Fathers. It will be the Constitution, it will be the Declaration of Independence, it will be the Federalist Papers. We will teach the truth, because last time I heard, the truth will set you free, OK?”

We found these to be very interesting opinions! The MDJ didn't follow up with Woods about his comments so we sent the candidate a line last night. We've included his response after the jump.

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Woods writes in a late-night email:

The MDJ piece includes two takes. One from a person who did not attend the meeting or hear my speech in full and is seeking to over-politicize the incident because they are a candidate for political office. The other take is from a person who actually attended the breakfast and heard the entirety of my speech.

It should not be a surprise that the intent of my comments are in line with the assessment of the attendee. The purpose of the Republican Unity event was to express the importance of Republican dominance in Georgia. In that regard, I used two movie titles to reference the hope of a Democratic comeback — Fantasy Island and The Color Purple (Georgia becoming a "purple" state). Both references were made because of the words in their titles, not the content of the movies. In fact, I immediately followed the movie title reference with keeping Georgia "Republican red." I understand how the intent of my references could have caused confusion for those who were not present or did not hear my entire speech; I sincerely apologize for that confusion.

Regretfully, some seem more eager to create sensationalism than to cover key issues that I raised at the meeting — a fair evaluation system for teachers and a diagnostic approach to standardized testing.

We're guessing he's never heard of "Purple Rain." Hell, he could have even made a joke about "Purple Reign." In regards to the comments about American history, Woods writes:

We need to make sure that any curriculum that is used is as balanced and as unbiased as possible. Many American History teachers struggle to adequately cover the history of our nation within the time frame of instruction presented. Because of this, much of early American History is skimmed over — like the founding of our nation. These are issues that I have heard from many History teachers while on the campaign trail.

We don't know whether the curriculum will be free of conservatism.