Who needs the KKK?

2/23/2023, 6 p.m.
Step aside, white supremacists.

Step aside, white supremacists.

When it comes to demeaning Black people, some members of the community seem more than willing to do the job.

One example is the “N” word, which so many have embraced. Who else happily takes a deeply insulting name and applies it as a term of friendship and closeness within the group?

Terrible that has happened, but even worse when the Talented Tenth starts pitching in.

We learned that was happening Saturday when the Virginia State Trojans came to Virginia Union University for another hard-fought basketball contest at Barco-Stevens Hall.

At halftime, Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares was invited to speak. He opened his remarks by saying, “It’s great to be at the ‘Iron Jungle’...”

Asked about the remark, a spokeswoman, Victoria LaCivita, said Mr. Miyares used the term because his friend, VUU President Hakim Lucas, told him that was the nickname students and faculty use and urged him to use it.

VUU later sent out a statement, approved by VUU’s athletic director, Joe Taylor, confirming the information.


King Salim Khalfani, a VUU alumnus and former Virginia NAACP executive director, was at the game and said he was floored and upset that Mr. Miyares would use that name in speaking to a packed crowd of 2,500 people attending the game.

To Mr. Khalfani, the use of that term immediately conjured up images of hairy primates. And he was more shocked when he was told that the president of the university was spreading that nickname as if it were OK and carried no implications.

Mr. Khalfani said he has four decades of ties to the school and had never heard anyone use that nickname, particularly not a top elected official.

“It’s just unacceptable,” he said.

E. Martin “Marty” Jewell, at former member of Richmond’s City Council, also was shocked.

“Hell no,” Mr. Jewell responded when asked if he had ever heard anyone use that nickname. “As a 51-year alumnus – never.”

Apparently, it’s becoming more acceptable. A Black Baltimore club is planning a “Welcome to the Jungle” event featuring exotic dancers as an entertainment attraction during the upcoming CIAA Conference basketball tournament. And one historically Black school, Edward Waters University, has “Welcome to the Jungle” painted on its gym floor.

We don’t know about you, but this seems unimaginable to anyone who has been involved in Black America’s and HBCUs’ ongoing struggle for dignity and respect.

Who says it’s alright to drop the fight and give up? Who says we’ll never win and simply should embrace the slanders as our own?

Certainly not The Richmond Free Press.