Category: Post Racial\

Apex Middle School teacher suspended after being caught on video berating student

— A teacher at Apex Middle School was suspended Thursday after he was caught on video arguing with a student and using language that raised concerns for Wake County Public Schools administrators.

The video shows the teacher, Dick Wesendunk, who also serves as a coach, in a confrontation with a black student. He can be heard saying, “That’s what happened to the slaves. They were controlled by their owners. You’re letting them control you.”

The incident happened during study hall between a teacher and seventh grade student.

WRAL News obtained a copy of the video from the student’s mother. It appears to have been shot with a cellphone by another student in the classroom. WRAL has removed parts of the video that show other students.

The student’s mother, Ayonna Wilson, said she was upset by the video.

“It’s 2017, we are not going through slavery anymore, so I just felt like it was the wrong choice of words,” she said.

Principal Allen Ellzey sent a message to parents saying said an investigation into the incident was pending.

“This morning I became aware of a video that showing a teacher arguing with a student. I immediately contacted the WCPSS Human Resources department because the language used by the teacher raised concerns. They, in turn, suspended the teacher pending an investigation.

While we are not at liberty to discuss confidential personnel information, please be assured that the district takes any complaints against personnel seriously and is committed to fair and thorough investigations and resolutions of such matters.

In addition, I want to make it clear that we have high expectations for behavior and policies addressing codes of ethics for the teachers in our building. We strictly adhere to these expectations and enforce these policies.

I regret having to share this news with you, but I assure you that I am committed to maintaining a standard of excellence for our school. Please contact me with any questions.”

But Wilson said she was not satisfied by the response.

“That’s not satisfactory for me,” Wilson said. “I feel as though he should not be working with children.”

She said she is also concerned about her son.

“He is worried about the students because he was humiliated,” she said. “They were laughing in the video and found it funny.”

Wilson did say she has not had problems with Apex Middle School until now and still considers it a good school.

Respectable White Man used N-word before trying to stab African-American man, prosecutors say

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HOUSTON – A Houston man was charged Wednesday with a hate crime after he used a racial slur before he tried to stab an African-American man Tuesday, prosecutors said.

Harris County prosecutors said James Scott Lee, 32, chose his victim based on the victim’s race.

Prosecutors said Lee was heard saying, “I hate (N-word)s, and I’m going to kill me one today,” before he brandished the knife. They said the victim was able to escape Lee by jumping into a car and locking the door.

Lee was also in possession of brass knuckles at the time of his arrest, prosecutors said.

According to prosecutors, Lee is either mentally ill or has a deep-seated animosity toward African-Americans.

“It’s shocking even though things are happening like that lately it still shocks that people would want to do this,” resident Steven Maiden said.

Lee was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. A hate crime enhancement was added to the charge.

Lee was being held in jail on a $250,000 bond.

Prosecutors said Lee could be sentenced to between five years and life in prison if convicted. Without the enhanced charge, he would face between two and 20 years in prison, they said.

Black students find bananas on nooses at college campus

Washington D.C.- American University is investigating after bananas scrawled with racist messages were found hanging from fixtures around the Washington D.C. campus Monday morning.

The bananas, strung up in black noose-like rope, were marked with the words “Harambe bait” — a reference to the lowland gorilla who was shot at the Cincinnati zoo to — and “AKA free” in reference to Alpha Kappa Alpha, a predominantly Black sorority, and were found in three different places on campus.

The university president spoke out against the incident on Monday, calling it a “crude and racially insensitive act of bigotry.”

“Racially charged acts of bigotry are done to instill fear and inflict pain in our community—especially at stressful times, such as at the end of the term,” university President Dr. Neil Kerwin said in a statement on Monday night. “I regret this happened, apologize to everyone offended, and state emphatically that this incident does not reflect what American University truly is.”

The campus president continued to state that despite the “targeted” nature of the incident, “our entire university community has been adversely affected by this cowardly, despicable act.”

This is not the first time there has been a racial incident involving bananas reported at American University. Last September, a banana was thrown at a black student who was among a group from the Black Student Alliance preparing for a demonstration. There was also a report of a banana being placed near another black female student’s door.

The university’s Department of Public Safety is investigating, and surveillance video from around campus is being reviewed.

White male Student makes Craigslist ad to sell black classmates as plantation slaves

A high school student in Florida photographed two black female classmates and uploaded the photo to the Craigslist. The ad was titled “Two slaves for sale” with a price $470. The ad was geographically tagged to “Fleming Island Plantation,” which is an actual place in Clay County, Florida.

Skye Fefee, one of the girls in the photo, said she first saw the image when a friend sent it to her on Snapchat. By then, it had been shared and passed around by several students at the school.

“I feel disturbed by it,” Skye, a senior, told CNN. “It shows me that there is still a lot of racism in this school.”

Autumn Olsen is friends with the girls in this Craigslist ad. Olsen said, “I was mind blown about it, I’m surprised that this type of thing is still happening in 2017.”

The ad titled: Two Slaves for Sale 470 dollars. The description: Two healthy slave gals for sale. Good condition hard work ethic. If you need another pair of hands in the farm or house you are in luck.

The ad has since been taken down but it still lives on social media through comments like this: “It’s sad. Parents send kids to school to get an education and kids have to deal with stuff like this. This is wrong on so many levels.”

The student who posted it – a senior at Fleming Island High School – has since been suspended and is facing possible expulsion.

These girls’ classmates stand by them and hope everyone learns a valuable lesson from this.

The Clay County school district said in a statement: “We do not tolerate this type of behavior and we are disheartened that any of our students would be subject to discrimination. Fleming island high school administration and district leadership are working together to create a school-wide plan of action to strengthen the climate and culture while celebrating the school’s diversity.”You

White protesters threaten to murder workers for taking down confederate statue

New Orleans officials removed the first of four  Confederate monuments today, the latest Southern institution to sever itself from symbols viewed by many as a representation racism and white supremacy.

The first memorial to come down was the Liberty Monument, an 1891 obelisk honoring the Crescent City White League. The Crescent City White League attempted to overthrow a biracial Reconstruction government in New Orleans after the Civil War. That attempt failed, but white supremacist Democrats later took control of the state.

An inscription added to the obelisk in 1932 said the Yankees withdrew federal troops and “recognized white supremacy in the South” after the group challenged Louisiana’s biracial government after the Civil War.

In 1993, these words were covered by a granite slab with a new inscription, saying the obelisk honors “Americans on both sides” who died and that the conflict “should teach us lessons for the future.”

Workers arrived around 1:25 a.m. in an attempt to avoid disruption from supporters who want the monuments to stay.  City officials said protesters have even made death threats to those removing the statue.

The workers inspecting the statue ahead of its removal could be seen wearing flak jackets and helmets. Police officers watched the area from atop the parking garage of a nearby hotel. Meanwhile, a handful of people opposed to the move held a vigil at the statue of Jefferson Davis, who was the president of the Confederacy during the Civil War.

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu has called the Liberty Monument “the most offensive of the four” to be taken down, adding it was erected to “revere white supremacy.”

“If there was ever a statue that needed to be taken down, it’s that one,” he said in an interview Sunday with The Associated Press.

Three other statues to Confederate Generals Robert E. Lee and P.G.T. Beauregard and Confederate States of America President Jefferson Davis will be removed in later days now that legal challenges have been overcome.

The removals are “about showing the whole world that we as a city and as a people are able to acknowledge, understand, reconcile — and most importantly — choose a better future,” Landrieu said in a statement released by his office. “We can remember these divisive chapters in our history in a museum or other facility where they can be put in context — and that’s where these statues belong.”

People who want the Confederate memorials removed say they are offensive artifacts honoring the region’s slave-owning past. But others call the monuments part of the city’s history and say they should be protected historic structures.

Robert Bonner, 63, who said he is a Civil War re-enactor, was there to protest the statue’s removal.

“I think it’s a terrible thing,” he said. “When you start removing the history of the city, you start losing money. You start losing where you came from and where you’ve been.”

Man strangles cab driver for looking “Muslim”

A Willmar man has been charged with bias-motivated assault after a Somali cab driver said he was choked by a passenger while driving from downtown St. Cloud to a bar east of the city.

Zachary Todd Degraw, 23, was in Benton County District Court this week to face charges of assault motivated by bias, a gross misdemeanor, and two counts of misdemeanor fifth-degree assault.
The alleged assault was reported to have happened early March 25 when the cab driver picked up Degraw and a woman in St. Cloud. He was driving them to Rollie’s Rednecks & Longnecks bar east of St. Cloud when Degraw, who was seated in the back seat of the cab, put his arm around the cab driver’s neck and began to choke him, according to a criminal complaint charging him.
The cab driver was unable to breathe or call his dispatcher and had difficulty keeping his cab in the traffic lane. The cab swerved from side to side on Minnesota Highway 23 until the driver slammed on the brakes, stopping the cab as it was pointed to the ditch.

Degraw released his hold on the driver, who then called for help, according to the account in the court document.
The woman in the cab with Degraw “told deputies that the defendant was racist,” according to the complaint. She told deputies that Degraw attacked and choked the driver, according to the complaint.
When investigators asked Degraw what happened, he told them he believed that the cab driver was going to call some of his friends. When investigators told him that didn’t make sense, he said he thought the driver was going to call someone within his own race.
Degraw was questioned more about that statement and told investigators “Well, he is Muslim.”
Degraw denied choking the cab driver. Then he asked investigators a question.

“You tell me, do you not know what these Muslims will do with a white American girl?” the complaint quotes him as saying.

He also asked a deputy if he trusted Muslims and told that deputy a story about how he had been wronged by a Muslim in the past.

Dept. of justice may reopen Emmet Till case

Rumors are swirling that the U.S. Justice department will reopen the infamous Emmet Till case.

The revelation came a week after Attorney General Jeff Sessions expressed his support for pursuing and prosecuting killers who went unpunished in the civil rights era. “He said no one gets a pass,” said Till’s cousin, Deborah Watts, who met with Sessions.

Till’s killers were never convicted. The African-American teenager from Chicago, who was visiting family in Mississippi, was killed three days after he reportedly wolf-whistled at a white woman.
Justice officials are exploring the possibility of reopening the Till case because Carolyn Bryant Donham has admitted she lied when she testified that he touched her — a lie she repeated to the FBI a decade ago.
Donham admitted her lie to Timothy B. Tyson, author of the new book, “The Blood of Emmett Till.”
“Nothing that boy did could ever justify what happened to him,” Donham was quoted as saying.
“The Department is currently assessing whether the newly revealed statement could warrant additional investigation,” Acting Assistant Attorney General T.E. Wheeler II wrote U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson in a letter.

Wheeler warned against raised expectations.
“We caution, however, that even with our best efforts, investigations into historic cases are exceptionally difficult, and there may be insurmountable legal and evidentiary barriers to bringing federal charges against any remaining living persons,” he wrote.

The 14-year-old Till reportedly wolf-whistled at Donham, then married to Roy Bryant, on Aug. 24, 1955.
On Aug. 28, 1955, Bryant and his half-brother, J.W. Milam, abducted Till from the home of his uncle, Mose Wright.

Three days later, the body of the Chicago teen was found floating in the Tallahatchie River, a 75-pound gin fan tied to his neck. He had been brutally beaten and shot in the head.
To show the horror done to her son, his mother, Mamie Till Mobley, told the funeral home to leave the casket open.
More than 100,000 African-Americans passed by, some weeping, some gasping, some fainting — all moved by the gruesome slight.
After the arrest of Bryant and Milam, Donham told defense lawyers that Till “insulted” her, according to notes obtained by The Clarion-Ledger.

With the jury outside the courtroom, she was able to testify for the record.
She told those present that Till grabbed her, asked for a date and said he had been “with white women before.”
On Sept. 23, 1955, the all-white jury acquitted Bryant and Milam of murder. Months later, the half-brothers confessed to Look magazine they had indeed killed Till.
After the FBI reopened the case in 2004, agent Dale Killinger spoke to Donham, who divorced Bryant in 1975 and later remarried.

In 2007, a majority-black grand jury in Greenwood, Miss., declined to indict her, considering charges ranging from aiding and abetting murder to accessory after the fact. The FBI closed the case.

Sykes said Sessions expressed his support for the new Till Bill, which paves the way for the Justice Department to pursue civil rights cold cases dating back before 1980.
“Where he can, he wants to prosecute these unsolved cases,” Sykes said. “He said that he will be working with us in terms of coming up with the cases.”