SPOKANE, Wash --- Racist comments appear on former NAACP president’s Facebook post of him with the Gonzaga women’s soccer team.
Former NAACP president, Phil Tyler, works as a security officer on Gonzaga University’s campus. Last week he posted a photo with members of the Gonzaga women’s soccer team. Tyler interacts with students daily on campus as part of his job and said the post was a way to show engagement with students and the community. What followed next was unexpected.
“In response to both of those posts we’ve got some really hateful, nasty, just mean, racist comments on that site that evoked a lot of emotion and pain in my fiancée and myself,” said Tyler.
The comment is too offensive to be posted here but the summary of the comment is that Tyler is ashamed of being black with a lot more profanity.
Tyler is getting married next month and he said he and his fiancée talked it over and thought it was important to keep the post online to show hate still exists in our society and hope it’s something we can all learn from.
“Just because it may not be happening to you, doesn’t mean it’s not happening at all and I hope they learn this is a convo, as tough as it is, still needs to be had in our community and broader nation. The more we talk about it the more we can come together and heal,” said Tyler.
Multiple people spoke out against the hate in the comments, including former Spokane Representative Kevin Parker. Parker’s post said, “No one who has met Phillip Tyler would say anything of the sort. Judgment usually surfaces from places of insecurity and feelings of inadequacy in our own personal lives.”
Parker also left his phone number asking the person to call him directly to have a frank conversation.
Spokane Fire Chief Brian Schaeffer also commented,” I’m with Kevin Parker on this one. If you would like to engage in a formable conversation about human relationships, American ideals and what social justice are all about feel free to call or visit. Typing hate from a keyboard is not fair for anyone else. I would be willing to sit down and discuss your perceptions if you would be willing to listen to mine.”
“It was really an emotional response, I saw young, old, Republican, Democrat, elected, non-elected, religious, some people even posted their phone numbers out there saying, you want to have a conversation about this call me. And it moved me and my fiancée so much I get emotional now,” said Tyler.
Tyler hoped people would learn from this hate and instead turn it into something positive.
“Instead of going on social media and going to your in-groups, really post something to someone who doesn’t look like you, believe like you and really find something positive to say. It’s a powerful medium and when used appropriately it’s effective, but it’s also a way for us to really be mean because we wouldn’t otherwise do it face to face.”