If you think racism doesn't exist in central New York, you'd be wrong.

Jakeila Phillips, a black woman in Utica experiences racism and prejudice all the time. "People never believe me because we live in Utica," she shared on Facebook with a video of a man she caught on camera, shouting racial slurs.

Barry Wardell is heard yelling "black lives don't matter" out a car window, telling her "blacks should be slave." and to "give me back my grandparent property that might have been your ancestors."

Facebook has taken the video down for "going against community standards on hate speech." It's still available to watch on Twitter.

Wardell has since been fired and banned from Hamilton College.

Utica police are looking into the incident to see if any crimes have been committed. "Regardless of the criminality of it we were disgusted and horrified by the words used," the department shared on Facebook. "It is one of the most ignorant things anyone has ever said and is not indicative of the citizens here and the city we are all proud of."

If anyone has information regarding this incident you're asked to contact the Utica Police Department at 315-223-3464.

This isn't the first time Wardell has spewed such hate. New Hartford police investigated a similar, less volatile incident that took place a short time later. "We were called by a civilian who witnessed it in the town," investigator Allen says. "We addressed it and there are no criminal charges, but we are keeping an eye on the situation."

I'm disgusted by this ignorant behavior. But more importantly, I'm impressed with Phillips' restraint and how she handled being verbally abused while simply driving her car down Genesee Street in Utica. "I have literally been experiencing actions like this since the 3rd grade," said Phillips. "I’m well equipped at handling situations like these."

I'm not sure how many others would react to a situation like this with so much grace and class. Way to take the high road!

Teach your kids to be kind to one another, no matter the color of someone's skin and to treat people how they would like to be treated. Help them grow up to be respectful adults and show them this type of uncivilized attitude is not acceptable. Maybe, one day, this world will be a better place.

Enter your number to get our free mobile app


"