Report: Kansas community college teams pelted with racial taunts in 'most racist town in America'

Jason Owens
The Labette basketball teams were reportedly met with racist taunts in Harrison, Arkansas. (<a href="" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Labette Athletics" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Labette Athletics</a>)
The Labette basketball teams were reportedly met with racist taunts in Harrison, Arkansas. (Labette Athletics)

The Labette Community College men’s and women’s basketball teams from Parsons, Kansas were greeted with monkey calls and crow caws in a road matchup at North Arkansas College in Harrison, Arkansas on Wednesday, the Parsons Sun reports.

Fans at North Arkansas made monkey noises directed at Labette players from both teams while they were on offense and mimicked crow caws while players were on the free throw line, according to the report.

Both of the Labette basketball teams are made up of predominantly black players.

The Sun reached out to North Arkansas for comment. School president Randy Esters and athletic director Bobby Howard both declined. The school pointed The Sun to public relations representative Micki Somers.

“We definitely don’t condone any kind of conduct that includes any kind of insults or slurs, especially any that would target any kind of ethnicity,” Somers told the Sun. “If there’s something that happened, any kind of allegations, we will investigate that. We want everyone to feel comfortable at our games.”

The Sun witnessed video of the incident, but did not publish it because the source of the video wished to remained anonymous, sports editor Sean Frye told Yahoo Sports. Frye said the source was concerned that making the video public would reveal who shot it, something the source feared.

Harrison has a tumultuous history of racial tension with the UK’s Daily Mirror profiling the town as the most racist town in America in a November 2016 report shortly after the election of President Donald Trump, who received 76 percent of the Harrison vote, the report states.

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The Daily Mirror report cites a billboard that greets visitors driving into town promoting White Pride Radio and another with the slogan: “Diversity” is a code word for white genocide.

The Southern Poverty Law Center credits Harrison as the national home of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, a modern incarnation of the Klan founded in 1975 by noted bigot David Duke.

Thomas Robb, a leader of the KKK and avid Trump supporter, is suspected of financing some of the racists billboards throughout Harrison, according to The Daily Mirror report.

Slate credits Harrison as a long-time breeding ground for the alt-right movement best known for the violent skirmishes in Charlottesville, Va. that left a woman dead last fall. Robb maintains a compound outside of Harrison.

Despite the town’s reputation, Somers told The Sun that North Arkansas is a welcoming community that supports diversity.

“The college has a diversity statement of inclusion,” Somers said. “We’re an open-door college … part of the college’s mission is to increase diversity. We actively do things to recruit people to Harrison.”

Harrison and North Arkansas have a long way to go if there’s any truth to Somers’ claim.