The North Carolina branch of the NAACP is demanding the resignation of a Burke County School Board who sent racist, curse-word-laced emails from his personal account.
Between September 2008 and February 2009, Rob Hairfield fired off numerous emails that contained the “N”-word, taunted Black victims of the Hurricane Katrina, and showed President Obama as a big-eared shoe-shine boy.
“While Mr. Hairfield has attempted to apologize for utilizing racist, stereotypical and offensive [I]nternet communication, his apology is not accepted,” said NAACP North Carolina State Conference President Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II. “The use of the ‘N’-word, particularly by a public figure, used verbally or electronically, is not free or protected speech. Furthermore, we do not believe we can trust the decision making on behalf of our children by anyone who agrees with the racist sentiments of these emails.”
The NAACP wants the school board to take immediate action by condemning the racist emails and demanding his resignation. The civil rights group is also calling for an internal investigation to determine if others in the school system were recipients of the e-mails in question and if so, their response.
“Even the very presence of this kind of activity should cause the entire community to be outraged,” said NAACP Burke County Chapter President Barbara Myers. “The mindset reflected in these egregious acts are not excused by a visit to an NAACP banquet, having a few Black friends or an attempt to present them as being humorous. …One of the investigations we are demanding is to find out how deep does the action run.”
She said that Hairfield’s actions run deeper than they appear on the surface.
“This is both about Mr. Hairfield and even more the trail of racist hate speech/images and how far it runs. We call on the rest of the school board to join us in pursuing this investigation and calling for Mr. Hairfield’s resignation,” added Barber. “These actions represent more than a personal failing but a racist public disposition by someone charged and elected to care for the welfare of all children. This is why we are calling for and pursuing his resignation.”
In late April, Hairfield apologized for sending the emails. “I'm not going to sit here and deny I forwarded jokes," he said at the time. "I don't have anything against Obama. I don't have anything against [B]lack people.” He has said he will not resign his position on the board.