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Arizona School District Bans Lawmaker From Its Campuses After He Said African-Americans ‘Don’t Blend In’

An Arizona state representative who claims only white immigrants can successfully assimilate into American society has been banned from the largest school district in the community that he represents.

State Rep. David Stringer (R) was called to resign Friday after the Phoenix New Times published an audio recording of him speaking with a group of Arizona State University students after a lecture. The Republican lawmaker remarked that “diversity in our country is relatively new.” One student pointed out the immigration waves from Italy and Ireland. 

“They were all European,” Stringer disagreed. “So after their second or third generation, everybody looks the same. Everybody talks the same. But that’s not the case with African Americans and other racial groups because they don’t melt in. They don’t blend in. They always look different.”

Another student noted Polish immigrants also faced discrimination when they immigrated to America. Stringer responded: “The difference between the Polish-American immigrant and the immigrant from Somalia is the second-generation Polish immigrant looks like the Irish kid and the German kid and every other kid. But the immigrant from Somalia does not.”

Unfortunately for Stringer, the Humboldt Unified School District, who governs about 5,700 students in his community of Yavapai County, did not agree with his discriminatory comments. 

According to the Daily Courier, superintendent Dan Streeter sent a letter to parents, faculty, and administrators proclaiming that Stringer is banned from the district’s ten campuses, and is barred from attending school-related events. 

“Mr. Stringer has demonstrated a pattern of unacceptable public comments that confirm that he is unable to meet the minimum expectations that our administrators, board members, teachers, support staff, and families have set for participants in our educational community,” he wrote. “Viewed in the best light, these comments can be understood as incredibly insensitive, but a plain reading reveals blatant racism.”

Still, Stringer defended his remarks Thursday night during a council meeting in his district. “I believe that everything I’ve said — if you look at what I actually said — is defensible, that it is truthful, that it is factually accurate, that it can be supported by academic research,” he said.

Stringer reminded attendees of the 67,023 votes he received in the November election, the second-highest of any member of the Arizona House of Representatives, and declared that he had “no intention of resigning.”

“I am not going to disenfranchise the thousands and thousands of people who just returned me to office a month ago,” he said.

This is not the first time Stringer has made racially charged comments. Back in 2016, while speaking at a forum he said, “I think immigration is a huge problem, it is destroying our country, it is tearing us apart, it will inevitably — if we don’t do something about it — result in some kind of civil disorder and a dissolution of the United States as we know it.”

The next year, he published an opinion column online writing, “The United States may be the first nation in history to voluntarily surrender its traditional culture and national identity to other peoples. We are only beginning to experience the consequences.”

In June, the Republican lawmaker caused an uproar when he described immigration as an “existential threat to the United States.” Arizona Republican Party Chairman Jonathan Lines requested his resignation, as did Gov. Doug Ducey (R), who said that Stringer had “basically disqualified himself to lead at the state level.”

Stringer refused to step down and instead elaborated on his remarks in an interview with Capitol Media Services, where he said that Asian Americans “still have a sense of maybe not fully participating in American life” and African Americans “have not been fully assimilated into American culture.’’

The NAACP branch of Prescott, where the Stringer lives, is threatening to boycott the city. 

“Until Rep. Stringer is removed from office, the NAACP will recommend a travel advisory on the City of Prescott advising our members, supporters,  and allies to discontinue any shopping, travel, and lodging in hotels in Prescott, AZ effective immediately,” Roy Tatem Jr., president of the NAACP’s East Valley chapter, penned in a letter to State Rep. Rusty Bowers (R), the incoming speaker of the Arizona House of Representatives.

City council members held a special meeting Tuesday where they voted to request Stringer’s immediate resignation, citing that he could no longer effectively represent their community.

“As proud members of this community, we are horrified that the opinions expressed by Mr. Stringer exist,” the resolution approved by the council read. “Prescott prides itself on respect, honor, tradition and the physical embodiment of the spirit of Christmas. Mr. Stringer’s misguided, outdated and offensive opinions reflect poorly and inaccurately on all of us.”

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