Minn. High School Sued Over Racially-Charged ‘Wigger’ Homecoming Theme
A former student is taking Red Wing High School to court. Quera Pruitt, a 19-year-old who graduated from the Minnesota school last year, is suing for allowing what she sees as an offensive, racially-charged homecoming event to go on without punishing the offending students.
The event, called “Wigger Day,” was celebrated by students who commemorated it by coming to school in oversized jerseys, baggy and sagging pants, side-cocked baseball caps and, perhaps most indicative of the racial nature of the celebration, doo rags.
To opponents like Pruitt, the premise (not to mention the name) of the event was a play off of the infamous “n-word,” which is highly offensive to African Americans. Watch her mother, Maxine, appear on MSNBC to discuss the situation:
Pruitt is charging that Red Wing High School officials, including the principal, were well aware of the offensive nature of the event and that they simply ignored it. She is seeking $75,000 in damages, citing emotional distress, depression, stress, crying, humiliation and a plethora of other emotions.
As a result of the event, she claims she dropped out of cheerleading and student council; she even considered leaving the school. Time’s NewsFeed provides more background about how the situation has devolved:
Homecoming typically involves a flurry of themed events that lead up to the big game. In 2009, the student body designated Sept. 30 as “Tropical Day,” but according to the federal class action suit, about 70 students declared it “Wednesday Wigger Day” instead. Pruitt says the high school, where 3% of the 900 students are black, celebrated “Wigger Day,” also known as “Wangsta Day,” between 2007 and 2009.
The offensive nature of the event was captured when it first happened back in 2009. In an interview published on KARE11.com, Pruitt explained her take on the event as follows: ”They hurt my feelings. No one asked me how I felt about it.”
Another student, Alissia Humphreys, explained, “I have a right to be comfortable at school, and I don’t appreciate that being taken away from me and making me feel uncomfortable.” But, back in 2009, at least according to KARE11.com, school officials seemed like they were taking control of the situation:
Red Wing Superintendent Stan Slessor says the district is disappointed with the students actions and words — whether or not they were intended to be offensive. Officials did require the students to change their clothes immediately. No more punishment has followed, but the district does plan to use the incident to teach tolerance.
Interestingly, CityPages.com reports a fact that didn’t make its way into some other outlets: The principal did tell students to change their offensive clothing. Regardless of whether this is true with certainty, the news site corroborated the fact that no one was punished for participating in “Wigger Wednesday.”
There’s another element here, though, that further complicates the situation. Following the incident, it appears as though a Facebook group called “Wigger Wednesday” (which has now been removed) was used to potentially cyber-bully Pruitt. Apparently, it read, “let’s keep wigger wednesday goin til that [derogatory term] quits.” One wonders: Was this “quitting” in reference to Pruitt’s cheerleading? If so, the students’ efforts were successful.
You can read the entire text of the legal complaint here.
(h/t Time’s NewsFeed)
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