How Racist Is An Event Called “Wigger Day” Featuring High School Students?
A school district in Minnesota is currently facing a lawsuit for allowing students to hold an event called “Wigger Day” during its annual homecoming celebration in 2009. Despite the fact that the Red Wing High School in Minneapolis voted to have a tropical theme for homecoming ’09, a large group of students decided to hold what they called “Wigger Wednesday” during homecoming week. They dressed up in XXXL sports jerseys, baggy jeans, and large baseball caps cocked to the side. The event—which was also known as “Wangsta Day” at the school—even had its’ own Facebook page.
Not surprisingly, black students at the predominantly white school were offended by the event and recently filed a lawsuit against the school district as a result of it. The main plaintiff in the case, former Red Wing student Quera Pruitt, claims that she experienced emotional distress after “Wigger Day.” She also claims that there may be more than 40 other people who join her in filing the lawsuit against the school district.
“[Pruitt's] mom came up to the school, attempted to reach out to the school board, the superintendent, and the principal, but Red Wing’s response was essentially to sweep this under the rug and act like it didn’t happen,” her lawyer told the Huffington Post recently. He also said that “Wigger Day” took place in 2007 and 2008 as well. “The students shouldn’t have felt empowered to hold ‘Wigger Day’ in 2009. These students were not disciplined, they were not counseled, and they were not punished. This could have been a teachable moment.”
To say the least! Just about everyone involved with this story—with the exception of Pruitt—is an idiot. Holding an event called “Wigger Day” in 2009 isn’t just insensitive, offensive, and more than a little bit racist. It’s unacceptable. That this event happened is embarrassing; that it happened at a high school is a travesty.
Seriously, who is teaching the kids out there the difference between right and wrong? Someone, anyone—a teacher, an assistant principal, a custodian—had to see that “Wigger Day” was going on and realize that it was wrong. Yet, nothing was done to stop it. And it went on for not one, not two, but three consecutive years—meaning that this event probably would have had a chance to become a staple at Red Wing High, if not for Pruitt’s complaint.
It’s pretty amazing that we still have to say this in 2011, but events like “Wigger Day” are not okay. At this point, it’s too late for Red Wing to use the event as a teachable moment for the students. But we hope Red Wing’s school district—and school districts all over the country—learn a lesson from this. Just say no to ridiculous events like this.