The state NAACP said some pretty nasty things on Friday about members of the Wake County school board majority as they announced they had filed a complaint with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
As noted in today's article, members of the NAACP hurled charges of racism and likened the board majority to clowns, Communists, dictators and the Mafia. School board chairman Ron Margiotta's educational background was questioned and he was called "unfit" to keep his post.
"[Margiotta] doesn't even have a college degree," said NAACP Attorney Al McSurely. "They've got clowns running this school board."
Margiotta, 71, enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard after graduating from Weehawken High School in the 1950s. Afterward, he started his own business to support his family. He took some labor relations courses at St. Peter's College.
The Rev. William Barber, president of the state NAACP, called on Margiotta to step down as chairman. He said his comparing the school board to the Mafia didn't compare to Margiotta's "here come the animals out of the cages" remark.
“My comment is not even comparative to what Margiotta said,” Barber said. “I believe he’s unfit. He shouldn’t be chair, not with this kind of attitude.”
“As African Americans, we know this language of comparing people to animals,” Barber said. “In this country, black people couldn’t even be baptized because they were considered animals."
But Margiotta has questioned how his remark can be considered racial when he was expressing how upset he was that a mostly white crowd was booing Bill Randall, a black speaker.
Other members of the NAACP stood by Barber's Mafia allusion even though the Italian-American community has historically considered statements like that to be an ethnic slur.
“[Those words] speak the truth, and that’s as simple as that,” the Rev. Nancy Petty of Raleigh’s Pullen Memorial Baptist Church told reporters at the press conference.
Petty had wrote an op-piece in January in which she warned that the new board is leading Wake toward a path of "segregation and intolerance" which "diminishes the value of every single human being living in Wake County."
Margiotta wasn't returning calls Friday but other members of the school board majority were indignant about the complaint.
"I don't know how any of this helps the kids in Wake County," said board vice chairwoman Debra Goldman. "I don't find anything positive in this."
Board member John Tedesco said it was "deplorable" for Barber to accuse the majority of being racists.