By Nikki Waring.
Too often we see people deny that racism still exists in 2015. However, along with insidious forms of racism, blatant forms are still sadly seen in society on a regular basis. That is why we need to point out the problems when we see them: to remind ourselves and others this is still an ongoing problem, and to hold others accountable for their actions. Racism is not a thing of the past and this story shows how prevalent it still is in our world and how far we still have to come.
For this man and his friends, racist comments were seen as acceptable and normal. They didn’t think twice about making fun of his skin color, blatantly and brutally.
It started when a man named Geris Hilton (real name Gerod Roth), director of operations at Polaris Marketing Group (well, former director since Polaris has fired him over this) posted a photo of himself with a co-worker’s son. Cayden, the three-year-old child in the photo, joins his mom at work every afternoon after daycare.
Geris posted the photo with no caption but when asked where he “[got] a black kid” Geris responded with “He was feral.”
His friends continued with their racist comments and he stayed quiet. However, someone messaged him asking for clarification on the “feral” remark and he thought it would be funny to slander the child. He claims Cayden was abandoned, parent-less and mute.
Neither of these are true, not that it would make a single comment on that thread okay if they were.
In a statement about the incident, Michael Da Graca Pinto, President of PMG, said that the lies, slander, and racism Cayden, and his mother Sydney, had to endure was “intolerable”. Not only have they terminated his employment but also have vowed to blackball him with all known associates of theirs.
Geris is not the only one to lose their job over this conversation. The Black Lives Matter movement has demanded justice for Cayden and are asking employers of the other people who made such sickening comments to follow PMG’s lead. At least one commenter, Emily Irene Red, has been fired from her job at a restaurant.
Let’s be very clear on this matter: Jokes about slavery are not funny. Jokes about race are not funny. Stereotypes are not funny. Making fun of children is not funny. Making fun of a disability is not funny. Racism is, sadly, still alive and well in this world. This needs to stop.