Wayne Scott was away in Virginia visiting family Tuesday morning when woke up to a text from his Florida neighbor, Jamal Clark. It was a photo of his home in Pinellas Park, Fla., with racist graffiti-sprayed message: “Dumb Nigger Black Lives Matter For Target Practice.”
At first, he thought, “What is this?” because he had just woken up. It took him some time to process the texts. It was only when his neighbor said that his house was tagged and he looked at the photos again that he realized the gravity of what had happened.
The retired Army sergeant who served America for 17 and a half years told AlterNet that he is still processing what happened.
“I’m an injured military vet and they’re doing this to my house,” Scott said. He is black and his wife is white, which is likely why his house was targeted.
Scott has been in the Ciega Village neighborhood for seven years and hasn’t had any issues before, but the neighbor who sent him the text had experienced a similar racial incident in May. Someone spray painted “KKK” on his black Impala. Six weeks later, his wife’s car was sprayed with racist language. Like Scott and his wife, his neighbors are an interracial couple.
“We’re the only two mixed families that are on this block,” Clark told Bay News 9. “So, someone’s doing it on purpose.”
“The first time they did it to his car, I thought he was some racist prick, he said. “When they did it again, I thought it was personal. And now that it has happened to me, that finalizes it. It’s definitely personal. Racial and personal, if you want to put it together like that.”
Workers from the city have since painted over the racist message.
Pinellas Park Police Sgt. Mike Lynch that there have been at least seven incidents like Scott’s that have taken place in the neighborhood. Last week, someone spray painted “impeach Obama stupid n-word” on the vehicle of a 60-year-old white resident. Cops say this may be the work of a serial vandal. There are no suspects but Sgt. Lynch encourages anyone to call his department with any potential leads.
Scott recalled another incident from two years ago with another neighbor.
Between 7 and 7:30 a.m., a man of Asian descent knocked on his door and showed him a note. He couldn’t read the handwriting and asked Scott to translate it for him in understandable English. “Basically, it told him that he needed to go home and used the racial slur for those type of people and that this is America,” Scott remembers the note saying. “We don’t need you here.”
The man left the neighborhood soon after that incident. Scott, however, says he isn’t going anywhere.
For one, he says the neighbors are nice and have been supportive since his house was tagged earlier this week. A Go Fund Me campaign was started on Scott and his wife’s behalf to repair the damage done to their home. So far, more than $2,500 in just two days have been raised.
It is something that makes Scott happy and resolute in his decision not to let a racist scare him away.
“I’m going to be fine,” he said. “I got a military background. It’s going to take a lot more than that to scare me.”