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Gay slur prompts call for sensitivity training in Lancaster

August 01, 2013|By Ari Bloomekatz

The mayor of Lancaster said this week that sensitivity training is needed after a city commisioner made public comments that the mayor said were offensive to Jews and homosexuals.

Mayor R. Rex Parris said that Stan Muhammad of the city's Neighborhood Vitalization Commission made the statements at a July 20 rally and that "it was not a city event, he was not representing the city" when he said them.

A video posted to YouTube of Muhammad's comments show the commissioner speaking into a hand-held microphone at a lectern using a derogatory word for homosexuals.

"We all need social awareness don't we? Especially ... the young people that's following behind faggots in this industry. Straight up," Muhammad said during the speech, according to the video.

Muhammad then, according to the video, goes on to say: "This is why when you listen to rap music, what do you hear? Degrading of black women. Because they are being paid by the synagogue of Satan to keep our people deaf, dumb and blind.”

"Obviously he should not have used synagogue, because I think it offended the Jewish community," Parris said.

Parris said he was "disgusted" by the video, but also said he's not going to put forth a motion to remove Muhammad, partly because the offense is not on par with bribery or other forms of dishonesty. 

"I want to be clear about this. None of us on the City Council, especially me, have indicated in any way that we approve of this," Parris said. "But I don't think we gain anything by taking the easy way out ... off with his head, bury it under the carpet."

Parris said Muhammad's statements are an opportunity for learning and that he is "going to require some sensitivity [training] so we stop this problem from occurring."

Muhammad said in a telephone interview that he has no intention of resigning his post and that "there was no ill intent on my part to offend anyone."

He said he was trying to focus his speech on the degradation of young people and women in the music and entertainment industries.


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