The national NAACP is now joining the call for Wake County school board chairman Ron Margiotta to resign following his "here come the animals out of the cages" comment at last week's board meeting.
In a press release today, national NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous said he's joining the state NAACP in calling for Margiotta's resignation as board chairman. He said Margiotta's comment was 'racially insensitive."
“The racial insensitivity exhibited by Mr. Margiotta underscores the lack of consideration for the interests, needs, and concerns of Blacks and other racial and ethnic minorities in North Carolina,” said Benjamin Todd Jealous in the press releae. “We support the North Carolina NAACP in their call for justice and sensitivity in Wake County, and believe the resignation of Mr. Margiotta is a necessary step in that direction.”
Last week, the Rev. William Barber, president of the state NAACP, had said Margiotta was "unfit" to be chairman. Barber used the remark as part of the complaint filed last week with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
Margiotta has said he was "out of line" for the remark. But he's denied it had racial intent. He's pointing out that he was upset that a mostly white crowd was booing a black speaker for criticizing the diversity policy.
Here's the press release:
NAACP PRESIDENT BENJAMIN TODD JEALOUS, NC NAACP CALL FOR RESIGNATION OF BOARD CHAIRMAN IN LIGHT OF RACIST COMMENTS WAKE COUNTY SCHOOL BOARD CHAIRMAN RON MARGIOTTA REFERRED TO PEOPLE OF COLOR AS "ANIMALS OUT OF THEIR CAGES"
NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous joined the North Carolina NAACP State Conference in calling for the resignation of Wake County School Board Chairman Ron Margiotta based on comments made by Margiotta the organization deems racially insensitive. In a recent public school board meeting, Margiotta referred to several stakeholders of color as “animals out of their cages.”
“The racial insensitivity exhibited by Mr. Margiotta underscores the lack of consideration for the interests, needs, and concerns of Blacks and other racial and ethnic minorities in North Carolina,” said Benjamin Todd Jealous, President and CEO of the NAACP. “We support the North Carolina NAACP in their call for justice and sensitivity in Wake County, and believe the resignation of Mr. Margiotta is a necessary step in that direction.”
Margiotta’s comments come in the midst of a contentious and racially charged battle over proposed changes to Wake County school district busing policy that will effectively re-segregate the county’s school system. While the battle for good jobs, good schools and economic solutions continue statewide, North Carolina NAACP State Conference President Rev. Dr. William Barber II asserts that attitudes like that of Margiotta will only increase the divide between people of all races who are affected by the surrounding social conditions.
“The vivid imagery evoked by Mr. Margiotta of uncaged wild animals takes another step toward dehumanizing African Americans while trivializing our concerns,” said Barber. “The racial undertones present in Mr. Margiotta’s comments stand to undermine cohesiveness between racial groups at a time when it is most needed as we work together to achieve a better North Carolina for all.”
Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation's oldest and largest civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities, conducting voter mobilization and monitoring equal opportunity in the public and private sectors.
UPDATED TO INDICATE THAT THEY'RE CALLING ON HIM TO RESIGN AS BOARD CHAIRMAN