‘I’m not a racist’: Woman speaks out after ‘white privilege’ accusation
Posted March 10, 2019 14:06:59A female student at the University of Alabama-Birmingham has filed a lawsuit against the school claiming she was verbally and physically harassed by her white male peers for being a Black woman.
The suit alleges the school “engaged in a pattern of intentional discrimination against Black students and students of color.”
It is seeking unspecified damages.
“I have been discriminated against and have been denied access to a safe, inclusive environment,” the woman, who asked that she be identified only by her first name, said in the suit.
The lawsuit was filed Tuesday in a Birmingham federal court.
The woman is the first Black woman to file a class-action lawsuit against a school.
The school has not yet responded to the lawsuit.
“These students, many of whom are also female, face multiple forms of racial and sexual harassment, including racial slurs and derogatory remarks.
These harassment incidents are perpetrated by many of the same people,” the school said in a statement.
The woman’s lawsuit claims that she and other Black students were subjected to racial slurs during their first year at the school.
“During a class, a student of color used the word ‘white’ to describe a Black student, the woman alleged in the lawsuit, according to a copy of the suit provided by the university.”
As a result of the alleged mistreatment, I was unable to participate in any of the classes I was supposed to attend, and was subjected to inappropriate and demeaning remarks,” the lawsuit says.
The case is one of several against schools nationwide that have been accused of targeting students of Color for being Black.
The Southern Poverty Law Center, a nonpartisan watchdog group, said at least 21 schools in the United States have been named in lawsuits alleging discrimination based on race or ethnicity.
Last week, two Black women filed suit against a California high school, alleging the school has discriminated against them in classes because of their race.
In a statement, the school’s vice president for student affairs, Michael Houser, said, “We are confident the lawsuit filed today does not represent an allegation of discrimination at UAB.”
In the suit, the accuser is also seeking unspecified monetary damages.
The women said the university “has repeatedly and unfairly targeted” them for “their race, religion, gender, sexual orientation and disability.”
The complaint also alleges that the school was aware of the allegations when it implemented an “enhanced investigation” after the initial complaint.
The university has not responded to The Associated Press’ request for comment.