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Racist vandals drive black family from home — but mayor ‘more concerned’ with getting paint off that ‘pretty building’

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A black family has moved out of their Tennessee home after enduring months of racist abuse — but the town’s mayor doesn’t think it’s a big deal.

The family, who did not wish to give their names, said they were targeted with vandalism and discrimination after moving into their rental home last year, reported WBBJ-TV.

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“From vandalizing my car, garage, breaking in, stealing things, beating on the door late at night,” said the father, who did not wish to appear on camera.

He found racial slurs spray-painted on their home Wednesday morning, and the family decided to find another place to live.

“It’s always been a message that we were not wanted here in Friendship, Tennessee,” the father said.

The mayor spotted the graffiti — which read “kills n*gs” and “get out n*ggers” — around the same time as family, but he doesn’t share their concerns.

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Mayor Casey Burnett outside black family’s home (WBBJ)

“That’s a pretty building, and it’s right on the corner there in the downtown area, and I was just more concerned with getting the paint off the building than I was anything else,” said Mayor Casey Burnett.

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The mayor said he didn’t consider the incident to be a hate crime.

“It did have a little bit of a racial slur to it, but we’re not a racial community at all, and things like that are not at all reflective of our community,” Burnett said.

The father disagrees, saying the racist graffiti felt menacing to him and his family.

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“If they’re bold enough to walk up on a lit — I’m saying this is a well-lit house at night and do this, there’s no telling what they’ll do next,” the man said.

About 85 percent of Friendship’s 608 residents were white in the 2000 census, and about 12 percent were black.

Police are investigating surveillance video recorded at a nearby business that might show evidence in the case, but Friendship’s mayor said he’s not terribly concerned about the incident.

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“If we had a problem, we won’t put up with it,” Burnett said. “We’ll put a stop to it, but I think this will blow over in a day or two.”

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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news outlets, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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