Thursday, July 11, 2013

NYC Principal makes racist comments

A NYC Principal of Pan American International High School that serves immigrant students who have been in the country for less than four years, has been accused of making racist remarks about a few non-white teachers. Read more about this via the link below.

A Queens high school principal has drawn the ire of community members after allegedly making racially charged remarks about several employees.


Minerva Zanca, the principal of Pan American International High School, allegedly targeted several black teachers who recently filed complaints with the Department of Education Office of Equal Opportunity, according to the Queens Tribune.

Two of the teachers, who were fired, say they were victims of harassment and that their poor performance ratings were a result of racial discrimination. Another teacher, who quit, said she also felt targeted because of her race.

In a witness statement, the school's assistant principal, Anthony Riccardo confirmed their claims. He said Zanca called the teachers "gorillas" and made comments about their "big lips" and "nappy hair," according to WNYC.

"We're the only African-American teachers, and all three of us have left – which means there is no African-American teachers at the school when over half the population of the students look like us," Lisa-Erika James, the teacher who quit, told CBS New York.

"We really just want them to hold the principal accountable for her actions," John Flanagan, who was fired, told DNAinfo.


3girls1apple said...

Wow. Great, informative post. Definitely a story worth further research. Should the writings on the wall be true, the principal should be reprimanded with full force. It's just unacceptable.

Caribou said...

I can give you a shout-out on my anti-racism blog if you want!

And I can put you in my list of affiliates if you're interested. Just mention me on one of your posts as well!

YOLOtli said...

This is definitely something that is happening in a lot of places. There is a saying that I like a lot and that I believe in and it is, "There are always good people in bad places." The sad thing is, the good people may have been some of the students and not the administration or other faculty. It is very hard to get through when the number of bad things is outnumbering the good things. It's also an extremely fine line. That school will NEVER change if those teachers don't stay but if it's really bad for their mental and maybe even physical health, no one can blame them for leaving. I find myself in a similar situation at my University. I've been told to go back to Mexico so many times that I'm just about to leave but I know without my very small presence as a minority, my university will always stay the same. There needs to be more support systems within the education system. It is sad to see people getting pushed out and it is unacceptable.

-Sara Smith (Miami (OH) University)

Lily Alioto said...

Racism, especially in a school setting, is absolutely disturbing and wrong. Children are so very impressionable, and if they see the people they are supposed to follow and look up to discriminating, what are they to think? This kind of behavior is not acceptable, and should be put to an end immediately. I wish that the problem could have been resolved before the victimized staff members were forced to leave their posts, but at the same time I know leaving will have made their lives easier. I hope that in the future, the school will become more strict on this issue, and employ a more diverse staff, to show the students the importance of diversity and acceptance.

Lily Alioto
Miami University, Oh

Anonymous said...

This post highlights how racism in the school environment can directly affect teachers. It is also important to look at the affect it can have on students. The education system in America is designed to give students of certain racial backgrounds a benefit over others. There are three major types of racism affecting minorities: institutional, overt, and personal.

Institutional racism is evident in IQ testing and ability grouping. Recent studies have shown that IQ tests more accurately measure cultural differences rather than differences in intelligence. This results in minority groups testing lower on these tests and being placed into lower ability groups, which can have a long term impact on their educational experience.

Overt racism is made clear in that all-white schools receive more funding, better teachers, and a more rigorous curriculum than minority schools. This creates a glass ceiling that limits individuals from different ethnic backgrounds.

Finally, this post touches on personal racism. It takes form when individual biases can prevent minorities from being treated equally. This can happen to any minority in the education system, not just students and teachers. These send messages to all individuals of color in the system that they are inferior. In regards to this post, for instance, and minority children attending that school got a clear message that they were not welcomed when the three black teachers all left.

Individuals who believe racism to be a problem of the past are misguided. Racism has been deeply rooted in American society. Negative biases towards those of a different skin color are passed along through generations, and take form in many facets of our present day society, not just schools. Eliminating racism in schools is crucial because it teaches the next generation that this type of behavior is unacceptable. I hope that the racial biases at this school can be eliminated so that those students do not believe that racist biases are acceptable.

- Richard Pircon (Miami University)

Rehmat Rayatt said...


I'd like to share an article with you and your readers. I wasn't sure whether to send the entire article, so here is a small section of it:

"It wasn’t long before my fellow pupils figured out where I lived. My mum spent Saturday mornings cleaning accurately-fired egg off our conservatory with a broom bought specifically for the purpose, and Bombay mix off our doormat (‘What a waste of Bombay Mix!’ the policemen would jest). In an attempt to block out what was actually happening, I’d squint up at the dripping yolks and imagine them to be warm suns, raging balls of fire melting from the inside out; force my friends not to report the endless stream of Paki comments to our Head of Year; do everything I could to repress my skill at school so as not to stand out and attract more attention than my fortuitous skin colour already afforded..."

The full post can be seen here:

Please let me know if this is something you might be interested in. Thanks.

Andrew S said...

Racism in the school system is such a terrible thing. No child should be subjected to the subconscious prejudice in America today. Here is an article I wrote to white people, as a white man, asking that they would acknowledge and begin to correct this horrendous reality -

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