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20 August 2008

Do they have any blacks in Idaho?

"Do they have any blacks in Idaho? They don’t have many." [Source: Atlanta Journal Constitution, "Comment leads to call for superintendent’s ouster", August 20, 2008]

Those are the words of Gwinnett County Schools Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks' made during a presentation concerning the disproportionate discipline of minority students in the metro Atlanta county. After James Taylor, executive director of the department of academic support, pointed out that minority students are disproportionately disciplined in schools across the nation except for Idaho, Wilbanks asked his "Do they have any blacks in Idaho?" question and now there are some who are asking for the Gwinnett schools superintendent to resign.

As usual, the NAACP has an opinion on this manufactured controversy.

"This type of rhetoric not only dishonors Gwinnett County Public Schools, but casts a cloud on the abilities of Superintendent Wilbanks and the school board members to lead the school system effectively," J.P. Portalatin, president of the Gwinnett branch NAACP, said in a statement.

First, I'd highly encourage Gwinnett's NAACP president to research the definition of the word "rhetoric."

And secondly, to answer J. Alvin Wilbanks question, according to the 2000 Census, Idaho had a total population of 1,293,953. Of the 1.29 million Idahoans, 5,456 or 0.4% are black.