Dr. Boyce: The Student Who Sued Her School Over “Wigger Day”

3 Aug

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action

A high school in Minneapolis may end up having to pay up after allowing its students to openly engage in a tradition called “Wigger Day.”  On this “sacred” occasion, the students in the school would wear clothing and engage in behavior that “from their perspective, mimicked black culture.” This was all according to a federal class action lawsuit filed on Friday.

The suit claims that a group of roughly 60 students voted to have “Wigger Wednesday,” where students would dress up as African Americans from “the hood.”   The outfits included oversized sports jerseys, fitted hats and “doo” rags.  Some of them even threw up gang signs to celebrate the occasion.

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

Quera Pruitt, a former student at Red Wing High School, the school being sued, claims that the school did not intervene in the decisions being made by the kids.  She says that the school’s lack of action caused her  “severe emotional distress including depression, loss of sleep, stress, crying, humiliation, anxiety, and shame.”

Pruitt also says that her mother came to the school and tried to address the school board, the superintendent and the principal, but they did nothing about it.

A statement from the district “denies the allegations that it has created a racially hostile environment and looks forward to meeting these allegations in court.”

Obviously, this kind of behavior at any high school is beyond inappropriate, but it might help to put things into context.  First, the decision by this student and her mother to sue the school district reminds us that legal remedies may be necessary for African Americans to gain ground in our quest toward true equality.  Millions of Black people across America experience similar discrimination, and feel powerless to control their environments.  Well, this lawsuit is a “small step for Ms. Pruitt, but a giant leap for the Black kids who will no longer have to endure this kind of abuse.”

Secondly, we must realize that most of the time, when young white kids behave in this way, they don’t quite realize the significance of their actions.  Rather, I point the finger at the adults around them who never took the time to teach them racial sensitivity.

White kids see ridiculous black behavior being splattered all over the media, and come to think that this is what black people are all about.  Their parents, teachers and other adults responsible for teaching them how the world really works, don’t take the time to explain the matter to them, so they end up doing things like this.  I felt the same way years ago, when Syracuse University officials sought the expulsion of white students who’d engaged in racist behavior.  I personally felt that the students could be salvaged, while it was shameful that their teachers and parents had never taught them better.

Third, we must blame ourselves as a community.  If a white kid wants to learn about black people, he might turn on BET.  If he does, he’s going to see the BET Awards, with black people behaving in the most pathetic, irresponsible, and coonish ways imaginable.  In fact, they see that the biggest buffoons are actually getting awards for their behavior (you hear that Lil Wayne?).  So, as odd as it may sound, there are probably some white kids out there who feel that they are actually paying tribute to black people by acting like “wiggers.”  We must challenge those in high places who seek to distort who we are.

Where do you think they got the idea for Wigger day anyway? 

Dr. Boyce Watkins is the author of the book, “Black American Money” and the founder of the Your Black World Coalition.  To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here. 

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30 Responses to “Dr. Boyce: The Student Who Sued Her School Over “Wigger Day””

  1. Bob Lee August 4, 2011 at 2:52 am #

    Yes Sir! you are asolutely right on all three acounts. 1. America’s African (ex slave populous) never realised any ‘true’ sense of equality here in these united states/stakes. 2. Without the psuedo culture our people have managed to ‘carve out’ of ‘dis enfranchisement’ ( and rank racial hatred, imagine what these same causcasoids would “think”. 3. You right, ‘we do’ act like a bunch of ‘circus clowns’, always joshing, and dancing to slow rythmic sounds of overly sexed crazed animals!!!! Just something which replaced the ‘culture/s’ that were beat out of our memory! The vugarities are what we heard from the wretched drivers of “human” chattel! “move you black mother fucking niggers”, (crack! went the whip), bale that hay, you stupid animal, they would balk for 300 years. “Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome” says Dr. (J. Degruy). To ‘them’, we may seem a tad bit ‘strange’. We follow all the ‘strange’ ways they lead us! Do we not encourage our children to follow ‘Halloween’? We’ve got them (our children) so they can’t wait for ‘x-mas’, and ‘independence day’ they want to see ‘the bombs bursting in air’…..How many know ‘Black Solidarity day’? “let us”…………

  2. WizardG August 4, 2011 at 4:41 am #

    We live in a very racist white supremacist society. We raise our children to be like them as we were raised to be like them, to imitate their distorted culture, to speak their bastard ‘English’ language, to buy their retractable property in their polluted greed driven society.
    They black us out on their televisions for the most part. They always portray themselves as supermen and women and families. Half of their media is filled with aggressive white men and blond women, and a quarter aggressive curly headed Jews. The rest they manage to squeeze in a few serious ‘blacks’ and others. The white children are segregated once again and their schools are again better than ours. That makes no difference because those of us who do graduate college wind up working for them and they don’t share their jobs too easily these days. As a matter of fact they are searching for better educated people from overseas!
    Our people have been so disenfranchised, abused, and fractured by this racist white supremacist society that we can’t recognize ourselves let alone act the way they want us to act even when we should be rebelling on every level! Yet even if we can manage to master their sordid ways and work their bastard language we are never accepted on the same level. Ask your pseudo-president Obama. Ask your college professor who was arrested at home and made to have beer with a racist white cop. Whatever!!!

    • Sue August 5, 2011 at 2:59 pm #

      I totally agree with every word you wrote. Than You!

  3. Harold Mason August 4, 2011 at 4:17 pm #

    This is why we have to say no when kids want you to be their friends and not their parent and/or authority figures for those that think it’s a cultural thing!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Anonymous August 5, 2011 at 2:30 am #

    Real Black people need to seperate themselves from those ghetto trash and dont acknowledge them, most of those whites are dumb asses anyway….

    • Anonymous August 5, 2011 at 2:57 pm #

      A statement from the district “denies the allegations that it has created a racially hostile environment and looks forward to meeting these allegations in court.” …..the superintendent and the principal, did nothing about it.

      Has the NAACP been contacted to investigate the situation and will a rep from the NAACP attend the court hearing with the Pruitts?

  5. Chaddi K August 5, 2011 at 4:57 pm #

    Folks, when are u going to realize that white folks will never “allow” true equality. Vote all u want. Its fruitless. True change can only come from Revolution. But how many of u are willing and dedicated enough to take part in it? Stop waiting for white folks to save the day for us cuz its not gonna happen. Start makin changes with self and in your own homes. Speak to the youth about the past with blacks and whites in this country, all of the sordid and sadistic details. Where’s brotha Malcolm when we need him? Im ready. Are you?

    • caroline beck August 5, 2011 at 8:30 pm #

      i’m proud to say I come from a mix culture, my mom who is white and indian and my father who is black and rician. thankfully, my parents stepped up and taught me all i would need to know about my hertiage.
      i agree with you and the you’re right to the fullest degree

      • Blkpanther August 6, 2011 at 11:58 am #

        What do you mean you father is a “rician”? are you implying that Puerto Ricans are a different racial/ethnic group? This is giving the impression that by him being “rician” he’s a special negro with some white blood in him and is not like them “other blacks over their”..You need to get over your multi-cultural self, because you’re pushing this “i’m better than them blacks over there, because of all the different ethnicities running through my veins, especially the white blood”… Apparently your parents have not done a very good job with you and your educational process, because you would come on this blog with your superior attitude…

    • famous August 10, 2011 at 5:32 pm #

      Well spoken!!!! Quit waiting on the “vote” or Barack to miraculously change things in a silent racist society. Like Stephen Douglas (little giant) said when he was debating Lincoln for president elect in the mid 1850’s. “America was built by white men, for the betterment of white men, for their posterity forever”. Douglas spoke those words in the 1850’s, and those words are still pertinent in 2011 in North America!!!!!

  6. Renee Dakari August 5, 2011 at 9:52 pm #

    It is never ending. I agree with what you have written. However, we as parent’s must take a more active stand when it is the educational system. It is the first introduction our Black Children are introduced to when they leave their mother’s womb and home going to school. In the educational system is where the young black male and female’s mind is being molded and led to believe they are less. My grandson has gone from 80’s to 0 in the educational system. When I confronted them their tendency is to blame it on the home front. ‘Well”, I told them the home front is fine it is your system that need’s to be overhauled. If we are to combat the ravages of racism the educational system is where we need to start. White teacher’s men and women can have covert belief’s about children of color and it is time to take a stand and uncover them. No longer can they keep turning their covert discrimination’s on a problem at home. Some of these White men and Women come from White homes and no one know’s what has been instilled in their young mind’s when they were growing up, and what they still carry covertly in their mind’s when they are teaching our young Black CHILDREN. Stand and Fight the wrong’s. I am.

  7. Anonymous August 6, 2011 at 7:23 am #

    I think its a dumb law suit because then your going to have white people wanting to sue because a black person dressing white

    • Anonymous August 6, 2011 at 7:30 am #

      Not only that if they don’t want people to dress like that then they themselves shouldn’t dress that way

      • Anonymous December 11, 2011 at 7:21 am #

        you are way beyond wrong and you know. Stop acting superior or maybe you should dress like Snookie..

  8. Blkpanther August 6, 2011 at 11:48 am #

    This is what happens when black people encourage people like the Emenim, Robin Thicke and all these white boys and girls whom you’ll want to be Kool with, while they call you niggers behind your back and or steal our culture and make big money off it…Look at the Elvis Presley, Kenny G, Michael Bolton, Amy Winehouse, these white people all stole our music and made millions, while our artist are poor and their music royalties are stolen…You will never be friends with snakes or dogs, they will always revert back to their nature and show themselves for being what the are, genetic mutants Al Qaedas..

  9. Chaddi K August 6, 2011 at 3:50 pm #

    There is no such thing as dressing ‘black’ or ‘white’ etc. That thinking is part of the ignorance that we are bombarded with daily. The ‘Rican’ comment was taken out of context also. Please dont attack that person’s comment. The problem dates back to before the Willie Lynch papers and the sadistic thinking that makes a group of peopl say “Lets gp to this country an TAKE these people back to the land that we stole, oops, DISCOVERED, and commit some of the most horrific and disgusting acts known to man to them. There is so much more to say, but limited space. The dynamic behind that thinking process in itself is so much more powerful than people think. If u can truly grasp the magnitue of that, u will realize how fruitless, useless and pointless it is to try to ‘vote’ change into place in a system that was intricately designed to prevent us from simply receiving basic human respect.

  10. agentp009 August 7, 2011 at 11:22 pm #

    Of course white people see black people as just a bunch of clownish animals. Not only is this image plastered all over television, but many average black people copy the shameful buffoonery displayed by famous black people. Everything in this article is completely true. In my opinion, black people will never achieve true equality until they stop making jokes out of themselves. How can you respect people who don’t respect themselves? I agree with Blkpanther’s comment. Along with what I said, white people take all the good aspects of black so-called “culture” and take it as their own. When are black people going to wake up and stop screwing themselves over?!

    • Tha December 16, 2014 at 3:31 am #

      Wow. Some of these answers got further from the truth, the further down the page they got. American Culture is what it is; a beautiful messy melting pot. To try to claim people are stealing culture is racist. I understand, as an artist that it is shocking or uncomfortable when you feel like your art is stolen from you, but the world is soo big, bold and fast to be able to claim anything belongs to one so-called race forever. Basketball was invented as a sport for girls. Look where it is now. Of course it’s beautiful to understand and appreciate the context and history of where something came from, but you can’t automatically take away the credit of an artist because of their race. I was never the biggest Eminen fan, but I was also at Scribble Jam in 97′ where his aggressive persona, heart and effort led him to freeste rap battle victories. You have to be brave enough to contribute.

  11. Jessica Paula May 19, 2012 at 1:54 am #

    MEU SOBRINHO!!!!!!!

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