Monday, August 29, 2011

VMA Shocking Announcement: Beyonce is Pregnant

Another year, another unbelievably action-packed Video Music Awards. As expected, viewers were treated to mind-blowing performances and several jaw-dropping surprises. The most unexpected moment came courtesy of Beyoncé Knowles, who not so subtly announced to the world that she and husband Jay-Z are expecting their first child.

When B unbuttoned her sparkly jacket and rubbed her belly with a knowing smile, after which the camera panned to a visibly elated Jay-Z and Kanye West cheering from the audience, the Nokia Theatre was bursting with warm and fuzzy well-wishes for the soon-to-be parents. And that very public moment of celebration was just the beginning.

When Beyoncé returned backstage to her dressing room, she was greeted by a team of people who enveloped the visibly happy star with hugs, cheers and congratulations.

Click for photos of Beyoncé's big VMA night.

"I'm free!" she said to one of the well-wishers, indicating that she and Jay are thrilled to not have to keep such a big secret any longer. "We're all free!" she said to the group.

A few minutes after her arrival backstage, she was joined by her husband, a very excited West (whose first words upon entering the dressing-room area were "Where is Beyoncé?" as if he could not wait to give B a huge hug) and her former Destiny's Child ladies, Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams. Even with the doors to their dressing rooms closed, the applause and whoops of joy could be heard everywhere backstage.

"That was an eventful night, to say the least," Jay, still smiling, said to some of the revelers in the hallway, who continued to shower him with congratulations and hugs.

The 28th annual MTV Video Music Awards have wrapped, but the real action is just getting started! Stick with MTV News for winners, fashion pics, video and behind-the-scenes stories about everything that went down.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Idris Elba: "Black Men Are Never Called Sexy" (Video) - The Snob Blog - Danielle Belton's The Black Snob

Idris Elba: "Black Men Are Never Called Sexy" (Video) - The Snob Blog - Danielle Belton's The Black Snob

Oakland Should Fire Racist Schools Police Chief Pete Sarna : Zennie Abraham : City Brights

Oakland Should Fire Racist Schools Police Chief Pete Sarna : Zennie Abraham : City Brights: Oakland Should Fire Racist Schools Police Chief Pete Sarna
5 More at Follow me on Twitter! Get my widget! Visit YouTube Visit

UPDATE: Chief Pete Sarna quit before he could be fired.
According to Matier and Ross in the San Francisco Chronicle, Oakland, California School Police Chief Pete Sarna went out on a charity golf tournament, and, well this is how Matier and Ross explain it:
The district is looking into accusations that the chief, who is white, let loose July 18 with a half-hour tirade loaded with racist epithets against his two sergeants and a police driver - who apparently was called to the event at the Sequoyah Country Club in Oakland so no one would be driving drunk.
Sarna allegedly told the African American sergeant, who lives in Orinda, that "the only good n- is a dead n- and they should hang you in the town square to prevent any other n- from coming in the area."
That's racist. Pure and simple. Racist. (As a note, we're talking about the Oakland Public School's Police Chief, not the Oakland Police. But to someone like Oakland Tribune Photographer Jane Tyska, that didn't matter when she was assaulted by then Oakland Schools Police Art Michel, who also retired.)

Monday, August 15, 2011

Anti-Black Websites Continue To Thrive Online And Social Networks.

Digital Hate: Report shows bigots' influence on Internet

Exposing bigotry on Facebook, YouTube and other social media

Bigots have ramped up sharply on Facebook, YouTube and other social media, with very anti-social aims -- including racism, anti-Semitism, homophobia and Islamophobia -- according to a new report on the topic.

"They come for all the reasons everyone else does," Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, said during a recent visit to South Florida. "For bigots, it's a way to reach the mainstream with its message."

Cooper was sharing the results of "Digital Hate," an annual report issued by the Los Angeles-based center.

The 13th annual report analyzes the spread of prejudice over blogs, message boards and other new media.

The rabbi was in South Florida to share the material with religious leaders, alerting them on what to watch for.

He plans to return in mid-April to brief law enforcement officers and political leaders, he said. And he has plenty to share.

The current report counts 14,000 sites, up from 11,500 just last year. They're run by everything from Klansmen to neo-Nazis to radical Muslims to Bulgarian, Japanese and other nationalist extremists.

And they're increasingly using otherwise legitimate sites like Twitter, MediaFire, even eBay. The report says "" uses the photo-sharing site to post free wallpapers, or desktop computer pictures, glorifying the three terrorists who bombed a nightclub in Bali in 2002.

They even spoof or imitate other sites, the Wiesenthal researchers have found.

"Real Zionist News" looks like a Jewish newsfeed, but the articles instead say Jews control the White House and are attacking Christianity worldwide.

That's a standard theme of anti-Semites: that Jews control nations from behind the scenes. "800 Pound Gorilla," which uses the Wordpress blogging site, blames Jews for the terrorist attacks of 9-11. The site also denies the Holocaust and connects Kaballah with Freemasonry.

Bigots also have their own music stars. Alcoholocaust is best known for its black-hating and Jew-hating song "Joo Slaughter," posted on YouTube. People Haters produced "Day of the Rope," which adds gays to the death-wish list -- to a background of giggling children.

The "subculture of hate," as the Wiesenthal Center calls it, includes hate games. "Ethnic Cleansing" lets a player hunt blacks, Jews and Hispanics. And in an Iranian version of the old game "Snakes and Ladders," the snakes bear British and Israeli flags and Obama's face, the Wiesenthal report says.

Distortions even creep onto otherwise legitimate sites., which tries to persuade Christians to become Muslims, says the whole United States is the Antichrist. The site also argues that the 9-11 terrorist attack was an "inside terrorist job" of the U.S. and the Mossad, the Israeli spy agency.

The Wiesenthal report also notes a rise in online attacks against religious and ethnic communities.

"Bulgarian National Union" is an anti-immigrant, anti-gypsy and homophobic group, the Wiesenthal Center says. "Zaitokukai" focuses Japanese resentment against Koreans, Chinese and Christians in Japan. The group has grown almost purely through the web, Cooper says.

And the hate often goes beyond words. Several sites offer instructions for making poisons, explosives and cell phone detonators. "Black Tearful Days," a posting in December on several jihadist sites, has diagrams showing how to place bombs in a vest and an SUV.

"If you believe in religious freedom, you're committed to a world in which families should be able to go to prayers and return to their homes without fear of intimidation or violence," Cooper said.

Computers themselves become weapons. Members of a group based in Algeria, Turkey and Morocco say they hacked several Israeli websites, including, the Wiesenthal report says. Reposting on the Al Qassam forum, they showed pictures and propaganda that they'd planted.

Cooper shares the "Digital Hate" report not only with local groups, but also the FBI and Homeland Security.

The group's website,, also sells the CD to the public for $20.

Finally, the Internet can police itself, the rabbi says. Social site managers can ban users who violate terms-of-service-agreements, which usually cover bigotry.

Once alerted, Facebook took down "Burn a Jew Day," "Kill a Jew Day" and "Kill a Jew Year." The site has also removed pages by Canadian neo-Nazi Kevin Goudreau. Each time, however, Goudreau simply starts another page -- more than 20 times thus far.

Cooper smiles. "Facebook is our biggest problem and our biggest ally."

Matt Drudge has cool new white supremacist fans!

The neo-confederate Council of Conservatives Citizens notes that the Drudge Report looks like their site these days 

By Alex Pareene 


Matt Drudge has cool new white supremacist fans!
AP Matt Drudge
Remember how news aggregator Matt Drudge has basically turned his site into a one-stop shop for news about black people being scary? ThinkProgress has found some people who are really excited about this development. They are, of course, the white supremacists of the Council of Conservative Citizens.

ThinkProgress and the Southern Poverty Law Center report that the neo-confederate CCC recently crowed on their website that Mr. Drudge's famous report looked remarkably like their own work.

"Drudge Report currently resembles," goes the headline.. (Heads up: link goes to neo-confederate white supremacist site!) "The extremely popular news aggregate Drudge Report appears to be the only major news outlet bringing up the astronomical amount of black crime taking place." And then there is the link to Drudge's list of all the "melees" and "chaos" that happened during a holiday weekend when lots of drunk revelers across the nation sometimes get rowdy (and are sometimes shot dead, by police officers).

So: Nice new friends you have made, Matt.

You know how every so often the lamestream media publishes or airs a bunch of stories about how influential and important Matt Drudge is? And it's proper "news" when he hires right-wing journalists to help him "cover" the elections or even when he simply promotes a friend's book? How come no one besides a couple commie liberal bloggers has actually said anything about Matt Drudge's impossible-to-ignore habit of blatant, shameless race-baiting, exactly?

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

A Teenage Murder-Suicide Sparks Racist Fliers In West Chester, Ohio

Amy Hosier, 35, of Deerfield Twp., shows one of the many fliers she picked up off of cars in her neighborhood, Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2011.
Kareem Elgazzar/Staff photographer Amy Hosier, 35, of Deerfield Twp., shows one of the many fliers she picked up off of cars in her neighborhood, Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2011. "If I saw (the fliers), I threw them away, " she said. There's never a reason any of it should happen." 
By Denise Callahan and Gin Ando, Staff Writers 6:21 PM Tuesday, August 9, 2011

DEERFIELD TWP. — A national organization has targeted a neighborhood here to pass out raciest fliers pertaining to the Aug. 3 shooting deaths of two teenagers.

The National Alliance placed the racist letters on car windshields, telephone poles and on doors in the area of the Four Paws Grooming and Kennel on Landen Road.

Four Paws is where Troy Penn, an 18-year-old black Kings High School senior, and shot and killed his ex-girlfriend, 17-year-old Amanda Borsos, with a shotgun. He then fled the scene and staged a brief standoff in his nearby home before killing himself with the same gun.

The letter is addressed to “White Parents” and warns “Don’t let your daughter date blacks, it might be a matter of life and death.” The two-page diatribe attacks blacks and those of Jewish faith and refers specifically to the murder-suicide.

Warren County Sheriff Larry Sims said nothing in the fledgling investigation into the murder-suicide points to a racial motivation. He said it looks as if the incident was over a breakup.

Sims’ office is investigating who is passing out the fliers.

“On the surface we don’t know that there is anything criminally wrong, but they certainly are inciting,” he said. “The language in there is certainly very disturbing, we’d like to know the motivation behind it. There is no indication at all this homicide-suicide was racially driven.”

Sims said the flyers began appearing on cars and telephone poles, and one was even posted on the day care sometime after midnight on Tuesday.

The National Alliance is located in Hillsboro, W. Va., according to the group’s website. The group is listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks such organizations. The National Alliance was for decades the most dangerous and best organized neo-Nazi formation in America, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

A neighbor who lives near Penn’s home, Amy Hosier, has been collecting and disposing of the “offensive” messages.

“If I saw (the fliers), I threw them away. There’s never a reason any of it should happen,” she said.

“Anytime they can get their pedestal and soapbox, they do.”

The owner of Four Paws, Rob Ashe, who was Borsos’ boss, said his staff was upset when they arrived to work.

“The staff came in this morning and they were disgusted,” Ashe said.

Sims said it will be a couple weeks before they are finished with the shooting investigation, including where Penn got the shotgun.

Borsos was buried on Saturday and funeral arrangements for Penn have been kept private.

Mississippi Still Burning! Young Men Charged With A Hate Crime Murder!

Prosecutors in Jackson, Mississippii say that Deryl Dedmon, Jr. and John Aaron Rice were looking for a black person to hurt when they left a party on June 26.

“Let’s go fuck with some niggers,” Dedmon had reportedly said to friends.

Dedmon, Rice and several other teens drove from a white suburb to a prominently black part of town where they came across James Craig Anderson, a 49-year-old black auto plant worker.

Witnesses claimed that after beating and kicking Anderson, the teens yelled “White Power!” and other racial epithets.

When the beating was over, security footage showed Dedmon’s Ford 250 truck driving over Anderson, killing him instantly.

“I ran that nigger over,” Dedmon allegedly told the other teens in a phone call.

“He was not remorseful,” Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith told CNN’s Drew Griffin. “He was laughing, laughing about the killing.”

“This was a crime of hate. Dedmon murdered this man because he was black,” Smith added.

Anderson family attorney Winston Thompson agreed, saying, “It appears there is no doubt that this was a racially motivated killing.”

Dedmon has been charged with murder and faces a double life sentence. In July, Judge William Barnett reduced the murder charges against Rice to aggravated assault. He was released on $5,000 bond.

Other teens involved in the case have not been charged.

“Life sentences?” The Root’s Nsenga Burton wondered. “Why not the death penalty? We’re also wondering why Rice and Dedmon, Jr. are the only people being charged in this senseless murder? If multiple teens participated in the beatings and were in the car during the murder, shouldn’t they also be charged?”

Monday, August 08, 2011

Love in black & white: Janet Langhart and Bill Cohen speak out on racism and interracial marriages

Love in black & white: Janet Langhart and Bill Cohen speak out on racism and interracial marriages

by Lynn Norment

Comments .123Next ..Spending time with Bill Cohen and Janet Langhart is to be immersed in a great American love story--but also into a frank, sometimes emotional discussion on race and politics and interracial relationships in America.

For some, the couple--he a retired U.S. senator and defense secretary and she a former newscaster and civil rights activist--symbolize love between two people from distinct backgrounds who came together across a "major divide" despite racism and taboos against such unions. For others, the Cohens, now married 12 years, represent a reality viewed with scorn. Interracial marriage still makes some people, including some African-Americans, uncomfortable, if not outright angry.

That's okay with the Cohens. They gladly accept the role of catalysts for discussion, even debate, on race and love in Black and White in a society they say is still plagued with inequities. It is time, they say, to discuss openly why racism and negative views about interracial relationships continue to tinge our society. "It is shameful how we [Blacks] have been treated and continue to be treated in America," says Langhart, known for speaking her mind. "The racism here is a disgrace to a nation that claims to the world it is fair and just. Katrina demonstrated that our dirty little secret of racism isn't a secret anymore.

"Many Americans say they are tired of hearing from Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson. Well, where is the White leadership that is saying to their own, 'This is wrong!'--in the Jena 6 case, the Black girl who [reportedly] was raped [in West Virginia], the Imus issue, the nooses and swastikas. Where is the leadership of the free world, President Bush? It is we, Blacks, who have led America to face up to her claim of justice and equality for all. America is not who she says she is."

The Cohens maintain that because racism is so pervasive in our society, taboos against Black-White marriages persist. "Bill and I still get those looks and stupid things said to us despite the so-called 'elite' circles we travel in," Langhart reveals. "A U.S. senator once asked Bill which one of my parents was White. When Bill said neither and asked why, the senator replied, 'Well, because she's so intelligent.' That's more than racism, that's stupid. It's interesting, when Bill and I are in public, Blacks recognize Bill and like him--because of his political views and because he is married to me. A group of Black guys at a [Washington] Wizards' game gave him high-fives and said: 'This is a cool dude. He's married to a Sista'... I tease Bill that Black people like him for choosing me, but question me for being with him. This race thing is all so warped."

Both Langhart and Cohen acknowledge that mixed marriages are more accepted by Blacks than society at large. "Yet, within the Black community," says Cohen, "it is as though they are saying, 'She married a White guy, that means she wants to be White.'" He adds that some are confused as to whether Langhart is Hispanic or Arab or African-American. And many are not aware of her social activist background, that she led an effort to get an apology for the lynching of Black men. "Janet--she's Black, trust me," says Cohen. "Janet has always been that way, and has sacrificed her career by speaking out on Black issues. It cost her virtually ever job she's had. She followed Malcolm X more than Dr. King. King was her mentor, but he wouldn't let her march. She was too angry."

In turn, Janet says people don't realize her husband as a senator worked hard to overcome racism and inequities, that "before my husband married me he was on the Senate floor talking about affirmative action," that he was involved in civil rights marches in Maine "when it wasn't cool to be in those kinds of parades."

Regardless, they are devoted to each other. "She is the most exciting woman I know," Cohen says, looking proudly at his wife seated next to him in their Chevy Chase, Md., penthouse. "She is so smart, so passionate and so underused."

"I look at my husband," Langhart says. "He's an extraordinary man. He's bright. He's handsome. He's kind. He could have had anyone he wanted. Just like that wall that keeps us out, it keeps them in. But he walked right through the wall." And toward Langhart.

Social commentator Michael Eric Dyson and his wife, Marcia, are long-time friends of the Cohens. "Bill and Janet are one of the great love stories of our time," says Dyson. "The magic they share is exhilarating and contagious... Bill and Janet are the epitome of love across racial lines, a couple that draw on their strengths and differences while forming a dynamic duo. Janet has never struck a false racial note in toadying to the White folks ... She is gracious and majestic, but she remains a true Black woman to her bones. The plight of her people is never far from her heart; the cause of her race is never from her lips."

In an August 2007 Gallup Poll, more than 75 percent of Americans say they approve of marriages between Blacks and Whites. As recently as 1994, less than 50 percent approved. The poll also indicated that Blacks are more likely than Whites to approve of interracial marriages: 85 percent of Blacks say they approve while 10 percent disapprove.

It was 40 years ago that the U.S. Supreme Court, in Loving v. Virginia, declared laws against interracial marriage unconstitutional. In 1967, such marriages were illegal in 27 states and made up only 2 percent of all marriages. Today, about 7.5 percent of all marriages are interracial.

The persistent negative attitude about interracial relationships is one reason Langhart insisted on delaying marriage until Cohen retired from politics. "I just didn't have faith in America," she says. "I just didn't have confidence that the people in Maine" would re-elect their senator if he had married a Black woman. The couple first met in the 1970s when Langhart interviewed the senator on her Boston television show. In the late '80s, after he divorced and her husband died, they began dating.

It was about that time that Langhart began to experience turbulence on her job. Her bosses complained that she was "too threatening to White women" and "didn't speak Black enough." She got into trouble when she asked why it was wrong for Andy Young to meet with the PLO. "I was told to stop talking about race on television because the audience didn't think of me as Black," Langhart recalls. When relegated to selecting lottery numbers, she responded, "My name is not Vanna Black," and was fired. As she pursued other career options, she ran into a series of roadblocks--many because of race. A job at BET didn't work out either--she says because she was "too fair [complexioned]." A spokesperson for BET says she is not familiar with the matter and has no response.

"People misjudge her," Cohen says of his wife. "They think that because she is lighter, that somehow she's just White. She is the most unappreciated talent, I think, in this country. She was penalized because of her attractiveness."

When Langhart finally consented to marry Cohen after he announced retirement from the Senate, she wanted the ceremony to take place in the Capitol, which she says is "symbolic of how Black slave labor built this country." What was conceived as a small ceremony turned into an event that political insiders asked to attend. She recalls vividly how the first person she saw when she walked down the aisle was longtime South Carolina Sen. Strom Thurmond, who had a "paternalistic gaze." She now feels he was thinking about his own (then secret) mixed-race daughter. "My grandparents would have been turning over in their graves at the thought of Strom Thurmond, who still symbolizes racism for many, at my wedding," Langhart says.

Initially, Langhart's own family was not pleased that she was marrying Cohen. "My sister was not keen on this," she recalls. "She liked Bill, but said she'd never date White." When Langhart was 17, she recalls her mother's words on interracial dating: "You can date him, but you will never be accepted by them. And when it's all said and done, you'll have to come back over to this side. This is home."

Friday, August 05, 2011

Fox Nation Calls Obama Birthday Party 'Hip-Hop BBQ' (PHOTO)

Media Matters for America, a non-profit liberal media resource group has been gunning for Fox News over the past few years. With the first African American to be elected as president, Barack Obama and the network have been at odds over issues. And with that, comes the blatant disrespect and subtle racism to him.
The conservative network wasted no time trying to tie the high educated Obama with racial stereotypes of Black culture. Last year, the president stated that his interest in  hip-hop music rappers like Nas and Lil' Wayne, the website Fox Nation post the president's love for gangster rappers. First Lady Michelle Obama host a poetry session at the White House and invites rapper Common. Common becomes a "cop killing" rapper. Three days after the killing of Osama bin Laden. Now as the  president celebrates his birthday at the White House and invites Chris Rock and Jay-Z to the event, it's a "Hip-Hop BBQ".

Say what you will—Fox Nation knows how to keep things unique. We also love the url for the item:

Towards the end of a recent interview with Rolling Stone, President Obama was asked about his musical preferences, he replied:
My iPod now has about 2,000 songs, and it is a source of great pleasure to me. I am probably still more heavily weighted toward the music of my childhood than I am the new stuff. There's still a lot of Stevie Wonder, a lot of Bob Dylan, a lot of Rolling Stones, a lot of R&B, a lot of Miles Davis and John Coltrane. Those are the old standards.
A lot of classical music. I'm not a big opera buff in terms of going to opera, but there are days where Maria Callas is exactly what I need.
Thanks to Reggie [Love, the president's personal aide], my rap palate has greatly improved. Jay-Z used to be sort of what predominated, but now I've got a little Nas and a little Lil Wayne and some other stuff, but I would not claim to be an expert. Malia and Sasha are now getting old enough to where they start hipping me to things. Music is still a great source of joy and occasional solace in the midst of what can be some difficult days.
Soul, folk, rock, R&B, jazz, "A lot of classical", and some rap; sounds like a fairly diverse musical palate. This represents the musical tastes of a number of Americans of the president's generation, especially those with school age children. Diversity is good, unless you are reading the Fox Nation website. According to Huffington Post, Fox Nation took this description and briefly posted the headline, "President of the United States Loves Gansta Rap" with photos of tattoo laden Nas and Lil' Wayne thrown in for "flava".

How does the president's acknowledgment of an appreciation for rap music become a love for "gangsta rap"?

This is not too subtle code language from conservative media that the "de-racialized" President Obama has an affinity for some element of African-American culture and this is something to fear. Here is another example in a long list of examples of how some elements in the media and politics continue to play to the fears of too many in America by fanning the flames of prejudice and racism.

Since his days as a candidate for the U.S. Senate in Illinois Barack Obama has talked about equality and one America. During his keynote address at the Democratic National Convention he said that the greatness of this nation can be summed up in the declaration, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal... There's not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America; there's the United States of America." In his famous "race speech" in 2008 Senator Obama talked about continuing the long march, "of those who came before us, a march for a more just, more equal, more free, more caring and more prosperous America."

For too many in this country, this de-racialized race-neutral politics coming from a man of African decent is something to fear. Former Republican congressman Tom Tancredo opened the Tea Party convention by calling for a reinstatement of Jim Crow type literacy tests for voters and saying, "This is our country...Let's take it back." Who's country is it and Tancredo wants to take it back from whom?

Recently in an interview with National Review's Robert Costa former House speaker Newt Gingrich said,

"What if [Obama] is so outside our comprehension, that only if you understand Kenyan, anti-colonial behavior, can you begin to piece together [his actions]? ...This is a person who is fundamentally out of touch with how the world works, who happened to have played a wonderful con, as a result of which he is now president." Again, not so subtle code language playing to the fear of President Obama's Kenyan heritage and to the unfounded rhetoric of the "birther" movement. Actually, anti-colonial behavior is a good thing if you are a victim of colonialism.

According to Rep. Pete King (R-NY), President Barack Obama is "probably the most threatened president ever." Most of these threats are not because of health care reform, the stimulus bill, or the problems with Israel. There are still too many people in America that refuse to allow him to govern as the president; they will oppose him at every turn because he's an African-American who is the president
Numerous cartoons have featured President Obama and/or first lady Michelle Obama as monkeys, terrorists, or Muslim suicide bombers. What are they afraid of? President Obama has called for change not Mau Mau revolution. He is working within the established structure, not working to overthrow it. The president loves gansta' rap? During the Henry Louis Gates arrest in Cambridge, President Obama said that the arresting officers "acted stupidly" not as NWA said, "F**k the Police".

The Fox Nation claim that the "President of the United States Loves Gansta' Rap" is a bit far fetched and nothing but a scare tactic. It's the latest example in a long line of contradictions that are grounded in a fear of the African-American influence in a fictitious "post-racial" America. Or as Public Enemy would say, "Fear of a Black Planet".

Dr. Wilmer Leon is the Producer/ Host of the nationally broadcast call-in talk radio program "Inside the Issues With Wilmer Leon," and a Lecturer in the Department of Political Science at Howard University in Washington, D.C. Go to or email:
Fox News and The Drudge Report caters to the worst of society. Subtle racism and misinformation creates the toxic environment that spawns in the conservatives who support the Tea Party let alone the entire Republican Party.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Minnesota School Faces Lawsuit Over Racist 'Wigger Day'


A Minnesota school district allowed a homecoming event called "Wigger Day," during which students wore clothes and behaved in a manner that "from their perspective, mimicked black culture," according to a federal a class action lawsuit filed against the district on Friday.

The suit alleges that despite student council voting on a "tropical theme" for homecoming in 2009, a group of approximately 60 students from the predominantly white school instead attended the event dressed for "Wigger Wednesday" in "oversized sports jerseys, low-slung pants, baseball hats cocked to the side and 'doo rags.'"

"Wigger is a pejorative slang term for a white person who emulates the mannerisms, language and fashions associated with African-American culture," the complaint explains.

Students also referred to the activity as "Wangsta Day" -- meaning "white gangsta" or "Red Winger gangsta" -- and created a Facebook group advocating for the event. (Warning: This Facebook link contains offensive language.)

The plaintiff, former Red Wing High School student Quera Pruitt, an African American, claims that the school's lack of intervention caused her "severe emotional distress including depression, loss of sleep, stress, crying, humiliation, anxiety, and shame." Pruitt filed the suit in U.S. District Court in Minnesota on behalf of an unnamed class of "all students who experienced discrimination as a result of Wigger Day." The complaint states the class could include more than 40 people.

Pruitt's attorney, Joshua Williams, says her family hoped the incident would be addressed following "Wigger Day" 2008. While it was never an officially-sanctioned school event, the family discovered "Wigger Wednesday" was something of a tradition.

After the 2009 incident, "[Pruitt's] mom came up to the school, attempted to reach out to the school board, the superintendent, and the principal, but Red Wing's response was essentially to sweep this under the rug and act like it didn't happen," Williams told The Huffington Post.

According to Williams, Pruitt became depressed, quit the cheerleading squad, left student council, skipped her senior prom and even considered dropping out of school.

Pruitt also declined to participate in the school's Martin Luther King Day ceremonies, considering the memorial a "farce." She graduated in 2010 and moved back to Little Rock, Ark.

Williams added that the school district has acknowledged that "Wigger Day" took place in 2007 and 2008, but neglected to prevent the event from happening in 2009.

Red Wing principal Beth Borgen and school district superintendent Karsten Anderson, both defendants in the suit, say the school is committed to creating a learning an environment free from discrimination.

According to a 2009 article on KARE-11, students participating in "Wigger Day" that year were immediately sent to change their clothes, but no additional punishment followed.

Williams, who is seeking $75,000 in damages for his client, did not know whether "Wigger Day" took place again in 2010.

A statement from Anderson obtained by HuffPost says the district "denies the allegations that it has created a racially hostile environment and looks forward to meeting these allegations in court."

Williams says that position is "symptomatic of Red Wing's response to 'Wigger Day' form the onset."

"The students shouldn't have felt empowered to hold 'Wigger Day' in 2009," Williams said. "These students were not disciplined, they were not counseled and they were not punished. This could have been a teachable moment."


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