FARMINGTON — A Community Relations Commission member said he regretted calling the notion of celebrating white history month "repulsive," and he pledged to choose his words more carefully in the future.

Commission member Randy Joslin, after stirring debate and offending some people with the comment, apologized Wednesday in a telephone interview.

"I wouldn't want my remarks to cause division in the community," said Joslin, who is white. "I certainly apologize to those who have been offended by my poor use of words."

The decision comes after Farmington resident Zang Wood, who is white, said prior to Monday's meeting that he felt the commission was discriminating against him by celebrating black, Hispanic and American Indian cultural periods, while not recognizing whites.

Joslin tried to compromise on Wednesday by saying that "somebody from the community" could organize a white history celebration, but he didn't think the commission should do it.

"I just see the focus of the commission in being those things that unite us and bring us together," he said. "I would like to see us celebrate what unites us rather than celebrate what divides us."

Joslin has discussed with commission chairman David John whether the commission could hold an event celebrating cultures of people who wanted to participate. Commission members haven't worked out details of the suggestion.

Commission members plan to recognize African American History Month in conjunction with a local church's celebration this month.


The commission celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month by playing host to a storyteller who told folk tales in November. Commission members attended a Native American Heritage Month event held by the Farmington Intertribal Indian Organization in November.

Wood, a member of the San Juan County Historical Society, said he only wanted to make a point that the commission should celebrate all races and cultures or none at all. He said he wasn't trying to promote one race over another.

Commission member Catalina Liles said she would organize a white history month, but she withdrew her motion to do so Monday after criticism from people at the meeting and fellow commissioners.

Wood, who missed Monday's meeting because relatives were in town, didn't expect the commission to celebrate white history month.

"What made this country great is the melting pot," Wood said. "You either make a level playing field and honor everybody or honor nobody."

Wood doesn't think the city should "honor some of the citizens some of the time, but none of the citizens the other times," Wood said.

The federal government does not sanction a white cultural period as it does Hispanic Heritage Month, Native American Heritage Month and African American History Month.

Joslin said he received one e-mail complaining about his comment. It also was addressed to city councilors.

Joslin's photo was posted in an online forum for a national white supremacist group riddled with disapproving comments. Other neo-Nazi Web sites also mentioned the matter.

Wood said though he disliked Joslin's comments, he felt bad that the commission member's picture was posted.

"I hope nobody posts my picture up there and tries to use me as a spokesman for white supremacy group because I am not that kind of a person and I wouldn't be," Wood said.

Farmington Mayor Bill Standley formed the Community Relations Commission in 2008 following a summer of racial tension in 2006. The commission reviews complaints from people who say they are discriminated against in Farmington. The commission also promotes cultural events.

The nine-member volunteer commission aims "to set the standard for positive human relations. Cultural diversity is highly valued and our community welcomes all people with integrity, fairness and respect," according to the city of Farmington.

"My heart is for the unity of the community," said Joslin, senior pastor of The Oasis in Farmington. "I want to do the things that are going to bring us together, not the things that are going to separate us."

Online Editor Patrick Hogan contributed reporting to this article.