OKLAHOMA CITY - State NAACP leaders are calling for a meeting with officials in an eastern Oklahoma town after two employees were recorded using racial slurs about Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
"This is appalling, true enough," said Anthony Douglas, Oklahoma State NAACP Conference President. "The reason to call for this meeting is we have city officials, employees of the city — not Joe Blow of the street just walking by. And, this tells me we have a serious problem in that city.”
The two employees have since resigned. An investigation about the comments began after two employees were recorded by a co-worker.
"We get Martin Luther King (sic) Day off?"
"No n***** day for us."
"We're off for n***** day?"
"Yeah, it says holiday on there."
"I'm going to celebrate n***** day. Or we can just call it JER day. I mean, James Earl Ray," referring to the man who assassinated King in Memphis in 1964.
"Not that we're--don't like black people."
"I'm not racist."
"I love everybody."
"I'm just saying that's what it's called here."
The employees' resignations were announced at a town meeting last week, attended by the man who recorded the conversation, who said the language used by his coworkers had been going on for two years.
"They just shouldn't been saying what they were saying," said Michael Wittmer to KJRH.
"We can’t let this go unchecked," said Douglas, adding he hopes to meet with town leaders in the coming days.
"Would like to see diversity training go on," said state NAACP attorney Nkem House. "What’s pretty clear, if an individual or individuals are that comfortable to speak like that on government time, then there’s a culture issue there."
It's an issue NAACP leaders hope to use as a springboard for change, calling for action on a day where Americans across the country came together to honor the legacy of King, the civil rights movement and is no doubt a day of reflection for the now former town employees.
"It’s bigger than just somebody making those statements at work. It’s the culture in that city that you worry about," House said. "Then, you worry about how minorities are being treated on a day-to-day basis."