Feature

A high school's 'completely moronic' Wigger Day celebration

A black student sues a Minnesota high school for $75,000 after administrators allegedly turned a blind eye to a racist dress-up day

The story: Quera Pruitt, a young black woman, has filed suit against her former high school over a "Wednesday Wigger Day" celebration that took place during spirit week. ("Wigger" is a pejorative portmanteau for a white person who appropriates fashions and mannerisms typically associated with blacks.) Pruitt attended Red Wing High School from 2008 to 2009. During that time, a dress-up day that was officially deemed "Tropical Day" was allegedly treated by the student body as "Wednesday Wigger Day." Many students "wore clothes that, from their perspective, mimicked black culture," including "oversized sports jerseys, low-slung pants, baseball hats cocked to the side, and 'doo rags' on their heads," according to the lawsuit, which calls out the principal, superintendent, school board, and a number of teachers and administrators. Pruitt says these people knew about Wigger Day but turned a blind eye, even after she and her mom complained to school officials. Pruitt says the predominantly white school was a "hostile environment," and that she suffered from "extreme emotional distress including depression, loss of sleep, stress, crying, humiliation, anxiety, and shame" due to Wigger Day. Her attorney is seeking $75,000 in damages.

The reaction: The fact that adults turned a blind eye to this "perfectly exemplifies... the countless... ways that ignorance makes its way into our daily lives," says Jenée Desmond-Harris at The Root. Yeah, kids can be "completely moronic" at times, so it's important that adults intervene in such situations, says Evalynne J. Saeyang at Gather. "It's not too hard to see how something like this could really impact the self-esteem of a young teenager." Sadly, this isn't an isolated incident, says Jessica Lussehop at City Pages. There's also a Facebook group based in Texas that celebrates Wigger Wednesday.

Editor's note: This article originally misstated the precise location of Red Wing High School. It has since been corrected. We regret the error.

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