Millry, Ala., is a town where racial tensions have allegedly been running high for a very long time. The boiling point was hit recently, when a white father came to the town’s high school and threatened one of the Black players on the basketball team.
The infuriated parent told one of the boys that if any of them made contact with his daughter, he would “kill him and his black friends,” at least that’s what was reportedly told to Latisha Mitchell, the step-mother of one of the players.
Mitchell claims that her son was only friends with the man’s daughter and that they would text message each other. The NAACP took notice of the man’s racial threats, and the town is in an uproar. There is even conversation about the Ku Klux Klan planning a retaliation against local residents who held a meeting to discuss what had occurred.
Since the incident, the father has been banned from school property, but some parents are saying that the father should be arrested for his public threats.
“If a Black male stepped on campus and made that threat, other action would have been taken. It’s just a matter of being fair,” said Mitchell.
When I was 15-years old, there was a white girl on my track team who was as cute as a button. I was pretty shy growing up (believe it or not), but I made an exception and reached out to tell the girl that I liked her.
Well, fortunately for me, she liked me also. So, she and I continued to court each other, passing notes in the hallway, sharing a kiss under the bleachers and doing all the other corny stuff that kids do when they are too young to drive a car. I knew the girl’s father from track meets, where he would tell me how fast I was and that I was a “good kid.”
After about two weeks, the girl just stopped speaking to me for no reason. She wouldn’t return my notes and she wouldn’t return my calls. Every time I called the house, her mother would tell me that she wasn’t home. I didn’t know what happened, and I was deeply hurt. I later found out that the very same father who admired me for my athletic prowess didn’t feel that I was worthy of dating his daughter. His daughter also confirmed to me that, in the eyes of her father, I wasn’t good enough solely because I had brown skin.
That situation was among the first I’d experienced in the South that let me know that I was less of a human being than the white kids around me. After that day, I never dated another white female, primarily because the fear of inexplicable rejection tore me down to the core of my soul. I simply could not understand why this man hated me simply because I was black.
When we analyze our broader society, we have to consider the fact that there are quite a few white parents in America who are happy to have Black friends, will play sports with African Americans and even invite us in to their homes.
But many of those same people would be repulsed by the idea of their daughter bringing a Black man home as her boyfriend. This form of racial animosity, at its root, is built on the lasting American notion that whites are superior to Blacks.
In the case of the small town of Millry, Ala., the community cannot miss this opportunity to discuss the roots of racial division and oppression. This father said what a lot of other whites in town are already thinking, and these young men are likely scarred from having their lives threatened by a dangerous adult.
The idea that he was simply doing what any father would do to protect his daughter is undermined by the fact that he mentioned the boy’s “Black friends,” seeming to argue that being Black is part of what made them unworthy of dating his daughter.
Also, local officials and leaders should be scouring Alabama state law to determine if there is a way to justify arresting this man for what he did. Kids in public schools across America are regularly disciplined harshly for making threats on the lives of other students (thanks to the Columbine incident in 1998). Also there is the case of James Jones, the Florida man who confronted his daughter’s bullies on a school bus last year. Jones wasn’t sent to jail, but was charged with several offenses and given six months probation, a $1,000 fine and classes in anger management. This father should certainly be taught that his behavior is both inappropriate and disruptive to the community.
So a parent who comes to a school and threatens to kill underage students should certainly be made to pay a hefty price. I am in agreement with those in the community who’ve stated that if a Black man had come in to a school and threatened to kill some white kids, the authorities would not have been nearly as lenient.
Watch the incident here: