An interracial couple was evicted from an RV park solely because of skin color, leaving the pair—who say they had never faced discrimination before—in shock, the Clarion-Ledger reports.
“Me and my husband, not ever in 10 years have we experienced any problem,” Erica Flores Dunahoo, who is Hispanic and Native American, told the new site. “Nobody’s given us dirty looks. This is our first time.” Dunahoo’s husband, who is a National Guardsman, is black.
Gene Baker, the owner of an RV park in Tupelo, Miss., said that he only asked the couple to leave because “the neighbors were giving me such a problem.”
The incident has prompted an NAACP investigation.
“Racial discrimination should be a thing of the past in Mississippi, considering our long history,” Mississippi NAACP Derrick Johnson said.
The incident reportedly occurred in February when Dunahoo, 40, and her 37-year-old husband, Stanley Hoskins, were looking to rent an RV space. “We were trying to save money to get our life on track,” she said. The couple have two children.
When she arrived at the RV park Feb. 28, she gave Baker a $275 check for rent for the month.
“He was real nice,” she said. “He invited me to church and gave me a hug. I bragged on him to my family.”
However, the next day Dunahoo got a phone call from Baker, who said, “Hey, you didn’t tell me you was married to no black man.”
When Dunahoo responded that she didn’t realize it was a problem, she said that Baker responded, “‘Oh, it’s a big problem with the members of my church, my community and my mother-in-law,’” she said. “‘They don’t allow that black-and-white shacking.’”
When Dunahoo pointed out that Hoskins was her husband and they weren’t “shacking,” she says that Baker said, “Oh, it’s the same thing.”
“You don’t talk like you wouldn’t be with no black man. If you would had come across like you were with a black man, we wouldn’t have this problem right now," Baker reportedly continued, according to Dunahoo.
“My husband ain’t no thug. He’s a good man. My husband has served his country for 13 years. He’s a sergeant in the National Guard,” Dunahoo responded.
Hoskins, the news site notes, called the situation “ludicrous.”
Dunahoo said she prayed and prayed for Baker to change his mind, but he never did. Baker instead returned the $275 the couple had paid, and they relocated to another RV park where the rent is higher, at $325 per month.
Dunahoo later turned to the NAACP, concerned that Baker was being allowed to turn away interracial couples.
“I just want it to be where everybody is treating everybody equally,” she said.
When asked if he had a problem with mixed-race couples, Baker said, “Oh, no,” and clarified that his church lets interracial couples attend. However, Dunahoo said he told her that although they could attend the church, they would not be “allowed to be members.”
But to Baker, if the neighbors have a problem, “the best thing you can do is what the neighbors want to do.”
Read more at the Clarion-Ledger.