Broome County grapples with the roots of a racist massacre

“A notion I heard a lot when I was campaigning for office is that all ‘these people’ come from New York City to Binghamton,” said Aviva Friedman, a Democratic Binghamton councilwoman who often clashed with the former mayor. . “You know, code term for, ‘Oh, these poor people of color, black people.’ They’re not talking about SUNY students.”

Periodically, there have been incidents in the area and surrounding regions that have hinted at ugly racial attitudes among some young people in particular.

In 2018, spray-painted swastikas were found on the walls of Binghamton High School. Last winter, a black teacher at Windsor High School, a short drive from Conklin, complained after students from the largely white community dressed in racist costumes for a “Gangster Night” at a basketball game. school. And in Oneonta, a rural community between Binghamton and Albany, two students were filmed firing a gun at a photo of Martin Luther King Jr. while yelling racial slurs.

Still, people who do not identify as white and who attended classes with Mr. Gendron at Susquehanna Valley High School rejected the idea that their community was biased.

“Nobody else thinks like him around here. We are not a racist people,” said McClain, 19, Casado’s girlfriend, who said she has known Gendron since sixth grade.

After the shooting, he read most of the 180-page document that Gendron posted online, but only parts of it, he said, because he couldn’t digest it all at once.

“I never thought he could think like that, let alone act on it,” she said. “It’s a shame for his community, because we don’t think like that.”

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