Museum board president and director Phillip Thompson said he found the racial slur written on the roof of the Idaho Black History Museum’s storage shed early Wednesday, as he was grabbing his computer from the museum on his way to a meeting.
“I kind of chuckled and took a picture to send to the masses,” said Thompson, who shared photos on the museum’s Facebook page.
“Apropos of the current racial climate,” he wrote on the post, which had been shared almost 100 times as of late Wednesday morning.
Thompson said he left the slur carved into the inch of snow on the shed’s roof.
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“Me cleaning it up, wiping it up, serves no purpose,” he said. “You can’t run from it, hide from it and be fearful.”
He said when his mother, state Rep. Cherie Buckner-Webb, was a child growing up in Boise, the family had a cross burned on their yard. His grandmother left the cross there.
Thompson said he thinks the act is “a microcosm of what we’re going through as a country,” but not necessarily a representation of Boise, which he calls “the greatest place on the planet.”
“It’s not indicative of Boise. It’s indicative of some (expletive) walking by who decided to share his opinion,” Thompson said.
Thompson said he was “surprised but not shocked” by the occurrence. He said following President Barack Obama’s election in 2008, he found claims of a “post-racial America” misleading. “I thought it was asinine,” he explained. “That doesn’t erase 400 years of racial oppression.”
The 2016 election, Thompson said, saw a populist push that he thinks is a direct result of people not being comfortable with previous elections.
According to Thompson, the last instance of vandalism at the museum was a swastika carved into the door about 15 years ago.
The museum, located in Julia Davis Park, regularly hosts community events in addition to chronicling Idaho’s black history. Thompson said its next event is a “know your rights” discussion with the ACLU on Monday at 7 p.m.