A Look Back At The Many Prejudiced And Racist Incidents To Make Headlines Across Dallas in 2016.
2016 was a pretty shit year. I think we can all agree on that.
Prince died. Donald Trump won. And, honestly, those two events alone would make for a shitty decade. But in 2016, they happened just mere months apart.
And in a garbage year that has just seemed to drag on and on and on, race relations also proved especially problematic in 2016, thanks in no small part to a polarizing presidential election that took up the bulk of the social conversation and was dominated by the subject. But that, of course, was just a reflection of other issues — officer-involved shootings and President-Elect Trump’s controversial (and empowering) rhetoric — that only further fueled a growing fire of mistrust among the nation’s various demographics.
Yet, somehow, things have only gotten worse in recent months: Since Trump’s election, the Southern Poverty Law Center has recorded close to 900 hate crime or hate crime-related incidents around the country.
It’s important to remember, though, that understanding these incidents is just as important as recording them. Racism has been a word that’s been lobbed – often inaccurately – at many of these incidents. It’s worth keeping in mind that racism refers specifically to sometimes negative traits being exclusively linked to a skin color and the untrue idea that one race is superior to the others. Prejudice, on the other hand, is the pre-judgment of specific demographics (i.e. cops, football players, journalists, etc.) — something that any subgroup or race can experience.
Also, Dallas faced a lot of prejudice and racism in 2016! Here, we’ve decided to take a look back at some of the bigger instances of these that went down in the Dallas-Fort Worth area over the course of these past 12 months as a way to recognize that we as a society can, and need to, do better in this regard.
It’s important to remember, though, that this is just a collection of the reported incidents that made it into the news. The actual number of incidents, in all certainty, far exceeds the volume listed below.
- A video surfaces at the end of January that shows Pantera frontman Anselmo doing a Nazi salute and shouting “White power!” at a music festival.
- Two coaches reportedly make a game of trying to come up with most insulting nicknames or racist phrases to say to students. They also ridiculed injured players and hosted a fight club at one of Plano’s most diverse high schools, SportsDay DFW reports.
- A group of mostly Black and Latino students touring the Texas A&M campus faced racist taunts and slurs from a group of white A&M students. They were also told to “go back where [they] came from,” the Dallas Morning News reports.
- 35 Denton organizers book Portland band Black Pussy and then quickly turn the band away after some uproar, as we wrote about earlier this year. The controversy here stems not only from the band’s name but as also from the fact that a group of mostly white organizers felt comfortable booking the band.
- A political flyer was sent out to residents of Texas House District 114 accusing Republican incumbent Jason Villalba of “Giving Felons Welfare Handouts.” The flyer featured a dark-skinned male in a hoodie as the supposed felon.
- Former Centennial High School coach Todd Campbell reportedly makes racist remarks against his players and threatens to hang a black player on the team, NBCDFW reports. Campbell apparently also referred to the Hispanic players as “eses.”
- Five white teens are arrested after tagging a rival high school with “Whites Only” and “Trans Only” messages, CBSDFW reports.
- None that we could find. Good job, March!
- Members of an anti-Islam militia protest outside a Nation of Islam mosque with guns, camouflage and body armor, CBS reports. Dallas Police stands guard around the mosque as members of the New Black Panther party also show up with weapons.
- None that we could find. Good job, May!
- None that we could find. Good job, June!
- The darkest day in Dallas since the JFK assassination takes place as Micah Johnson opens fire from a garage on Elm Street and kills five Dallas police officers. He wanted to “kill white people, especially white officers,” according to now-retired Police Chief David Brown.
- During the shootout, Dallas Police posts to its Twitter feed a photo of Mark Hughes, a black man in a camouflage shirt and carrying a rifle, naming him a suspect and leaving the tweet up long after Johnson has been arrested. Hughes is cleared that same night, but that doesn’t stop the death threats that came with being misidentified, the Washington Post reports.
- Bob Gooseman resigns from his radio meteorology job after writing “The DNC parading the mothers of slain thugs on their stage has made me furious” on Facebook, the Star-Telegram reports. Gooseman posted the status update after seeing the Democratic National Convention’s segment that featured the mothers of Trayvon Martin and Sandra Bland.
- A white man is caught on camera calling a group of employees the n-word and calling a group of white men who stood up for the employees “n-word lovers,” NewsFix DFW reports.
- “Fuck Black Lives Matter! 1488 Brought to you by Phreak of Nature Baby J and King Benji! All N****** Must Die!” is the message Charter customers found in their message inbox back in August – except it wasn’t censored, WFAA reports.
- Kevin Martinez, a popular Fort Worth chef, is verbally assaulted in the presence of his two sons by a man who takes issue with Martinez’s efforts to help a woman who’d a flat tire, Bud Kennedy writes in the Star-Telegram. The man said things like “I know how you Mexicans are with not having manners!” and “This isn’t Mexico!,” according to Martinez’s original Facebook post.
- A white sixth grade teacher at Hurst-Euless-Bedford ISD nicknamed her students as “Mrs._____’s Jighaboos,” Fox 4 News reports. The teacher’s name is, for some reason, redacted in all news reports about the incident.
- Colleyville students hold up a Trump-inspired, brick-patterned banner with the text “Paid for by Trinity” written over it at a pep rally, the DMN reports. The message references Trinity High School, which was named this year as Texas’ most diverse high school.
- A black man and his Hispanic co-worker receive receipts that label them as “N-word” and “Mexican” at a Sonic, the Star-Telegram reports.
- Hipster elote-wannabe peddlers Corn Connection refer to traditional elote vendor carts as being “roachin’ ass,” Eater Dallas reports. In sticking to a nasty stereotype about Mexican vendors being dirty, the business caused a social media uproar that ended with some digital vigilante justice.
- “Hispanic-looking” Homa Bash, an NBC 5 reporter of Indian descent, and black photographer C.J. Johnson are reported as “suspicious” to Plano police while working on a story near a neighborhood school, the DMN reports.
- Ernest Walker, a black U.S. Army veteran, has his free Veterans Day meal take away at a Cedar Hill Chili’s after an old white guy wearing Trump sticker convincea the restaurant’s manager that the veteran was a phony. Walker has also since had to move after receiving death threats and racist messages at his former home.
- A card was left on a Hispanic student’s desk saying that Hispanics were a “blessing” when it came to the construction of a new stadium, and that they would be missed because the school would no longer be very clean. The back of the card read “Make America Great Again!”
- Randy Smith is removed from his election day judge post after several comments he makes on Facebook are sent to county officials. Smith wrote “i [sic] know some good blacks so i [sic] dont count them if i [sic] did it would be done on one hand,” the DMN reports.
- Multiple Trump-inspired events happen at Plano East Senior High two days after presidental election votes are cast. Graffiti that reads “Can’t Stump Trump” and “Build That Wall” were found around the campus, and some Muslim students were intimidated by students, DFW CBS reports. Worth noting: A quarter of the student body at Plano East is Hispanic.
- Residents of a McKinney neighborhood find notes proclaiming Donald Trump as “God’s gift to white nation,” NBC DFW reports. The letter also reads “We want to get our country back on the right track. We need to get rid of Muslims, Indians, blacks and Jews.”
- Fliers found in a residential hall and academic building at Southern Methodist University detail “Why White Women Shouldn’t Date Black Men” and include false claims about increased likeliness of abuse and contracting STDs, the SMU Daily Campus reports.
Cover photo by Kathy Tran.