News and Tribune

Floyd County

February 19, 2013

Schools discuss racism with NAACP

Group invited administrators to talk

(Continued)

NEW ALBANY —

“We could have done a better job responding to those questions,” Briscoe said. “I’ll say this — what happened was wrong, it was offensive and we know it was hurtful to people. We hope that the three kids and their parents learned from this. This is a teaching situation.”

He also said he hoped students in the stands and in the halls of the school also took away a lesson from the incident.

Nicole Yates, president of the New Albany NAACP, said some of the images used by students have long been recognized as racist icons in reference to blacks.

“It is no secret that it has been in the past that African Americans are referred to as gorillas or anything, monkeys and what have you,” Yates said. “And so it was offensive and it was offensive to a lot of people, a lot of parents. We know that Parkview in Jeffersonville has a great deal of African American students there.”

Mary Thomas, another parent of a Parkview player in that game, said it’s difficult to understand what it’s like to be of another race and that racism is ingrained at home.

“It really doesn’t sit well with me,” Thomas said. “Most white people do not realize what it’s like to be black, honestly. We know there’s very few blacks that attend the school, but they see it. Our president is black. And I don’t understand why a student was wearing a Barack Obama mask.”

Raymond Cousins, a member of the NAACP in New Albany, said he graduated from New Albany High School in 1973. He said back then, he felt the effects of blatant racism and didn’t want the current generation to experience what he did.

“It’s not right, it hurt our children’s feelings and it always breaks their self-esteem down,” Cousins said. “And I think somebody should be reprimanded for this, this is not tolerated.”

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