Latino dad in Michigan asked ‘Why didn’t you stay in Mexico’ after describing the racist abuse his son endured at school
During a meeting in Saline, Michigan to discuss a racist incident between students at a Saline area high school, one Latino dad shared his son’s story of racial abuse in the school district and was asked by another parent why he didn’t just “stay in Mexico.”
According to The Washington Post, the Saline Area Schools District held a “diversity and inclusion meeting” this month for parents to discuss a recent altercation involving high school football players using racist slurs towards their black teammates in a private Snapchat conversation. The football players reportedly talked of “white power” and used the n-word among other terms.
During the meeting, Adrian Iraola, who immigrated to the U.S. in the ’80s and had three kids graduate from Saline Area high schools, attended the meeting to share his son’s experience with racial abuse in the school district in solidarity with Brian Wright, a black parent at the meeting whose son was one of the students targeted in the Snapchat group. In a video obtained by The Washington Examiner, Iraola is seen sharing the story of how his now-adult children were subjected to their peers calling them “taco,” “enchilada” and “dirty Mexican” when they attended the high school.
“I remember when I went to his bedroom to say goodnight, and he was crying because of the abuse that he was enduring in this school system,” Iraola says in the video.
In the middle of sharing that anecdote, white parent Tom Burtell cut him off to ask “Why didn’t you stay in Mexico?”
The crowd collectively gasped, rushing to Iraola’s defense with some parents even suggesting that Burtell leave the room, calling his comment “disgusting.” Fellow parent Wright added that Burtell’s blatantly racist question is “indicative of what our children are experiencing.” Burtell then went on to insist that “black racism” against white people is a greater threat to their children.
Sadly, the video has a number of vile comments, proving that there are many people who agree with Burtell’s repulsive sentiment:
Video from the meeting made the rounds on social media and afterward, Iraola told The Washington Post that “we wanted to tell the audience that this [kind of discrimination] was alive and well. We were very surprised to see that, right then and there, is the ignorance manifested by those comments.”
According to Michigan State Data, white students made up more than 85 percent of the student body at Saline Area Schools, but fortunately, there is hope for the future as Burtell’s own son took to Facebook to condemn his father’s racist remarks during the meeting.
“Today my father asked a deliberately racist question at the Saline Area Schools diversity and inclusion meeting. His views of hate in no way represent my own,” Matt Burtell wrote online. “I stand in solidarity with the refugees and immigrants of the world.”