Protesters carried small anti-racism placards and walked up and down the street in the affluent Northwest Dallas neighborhood where Parker Rice lives.
He’s one of the young men who was expelled from the University of Oklahoma earlier this week for leading racist chants in a video that has now gone viral.
Some demonstrators wore ski-masks to hide their faces, while raising their signs in the air. Others, with children in tow, followed behind quietly in solidarity.
Dominique Alexander is founder of the Next Generation Action Network, the group that organized this protest.
“This didn’t just start at the OU campus,” he says. “This was taught to him.”
Alexander wants the Department of Justice to investigate every Sigma Alpha Epsilon chapter to ensure that African-Americans will not be harmed. In the video, Parker Rice is heard using the N-word and chants about lynching.
He Was Taught
“Nineteen years old,” he says. “He was taught that. He was taught the history, and he was taught how to keep on hating, in spite of it all. In spite of whatever strides American has made to make everybody equal, to bring everybody together.”
Ashley Green is not a member of the protest group, but she drove 20 minutes from Carrolton to support the demonstrators.
“It’s really not ok for anyone to express those sentiments,” she says. “Myself, I was in a sorority, and I’ve experienced similar things as to what I saw on that video. And I think it is a problem. It’s a much bigger problem than Parker Rice, his family, this street.”
Neighbor Stacy Moretta watched the protesters from a few houses down.
“Yeah, it’s a few houses away,” she says. “His community is my community, and we couldn’t be farther apart.”
She says she hasn’t been able to sleep since all this started over the weekend.
“I have four children,” Moretta says. “One is African-American, one is half and half, one is Hispanic, and one is white. I watched that video and that was my child he was chanting about.”
One of her children, 14-year-old Olivia, says she couldn’t believe it because her siblings know Parker Rice’s little brother.
“I don’t even know what to say about it,” she says. “It was really surprising to me. That, that people haven’t found it in their hearts to see that this is so wrong.”
But another neighbor, Mike Schutz, saw it differently. He’s an alum of Jesuit Dallas, the same school Parker Rice graduated from.
“The fact that Jesuit was even brought into this disgusts the hell out of me,” he says. “The fact that they’re bringing his parents into this, disgusts me. Let’s just concentrate on this person that made this mistake. To hear somebody say that… I don’t get it, I don’t get it.”
Parker Rice was just trying to be the ring-leader, he says, the funny man.
“It’s just ignorant that he would say it,” Schutz says. “Whether he feels it or not, the fact that he would say it, to me that’s where a lot of the ignorance comes out.”
A candidate for the Dallas City Council, District 8 seat, Eric Williams, was at the protest too. He suggested forgiveness, not punishment.
“We all need forgiveness,” he says. “And I think that this young man, unfortunately did something that was really stupid, but I don’t think he should be penalized forever for his actions. He’s already been expelled from his school. His family’s being protest out in front of his home, that’s enough. We need to think of creative ways for his redemption process and healing process to begin.”