North Carolina school board candidate fired over racial slur

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JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (AP) — A man who won a North Carolina school board primary has been fired from his job and asked to withdraw from the race because of a slur about black people that he posted on social media.

Eric Whitfield is one of four Republicans on the November ballot for the Onslow County Board of Education race. Whitfield posted the racially offensive comment last week on Facebook, using a controversial term referring to African Americans, news outlets reported.

Whitfield made the comment on a post from Al Burgess, who is the former head of the local NAACP and a member of the Jacksonville Planning Advisory Board. Burgess’ post was discussing the nomination of Mark Robinson, who won the Republican nomination for North Carolina’s lieutenant governor. Burgess and Robinson are both African American.

Burgess said he isn’t sure why Whitfield took exception to his comments on Robinson.

The post doesn’t appear to be on Burgess’ page anymore. Whitfield’s page has been taken down but a screenshot of the comment has been circulating since Thursday. He was an instructor at the Jacksonville Christian Academy but the private school confirmed his employment was terminated.

Two sitting board members, Jeff Hudson and Bill Lanier, have asked Whitfield to withdraw from the race.

Onslow County Republican Party Chairwoman Lee Barrows said Whitfield’s remarks do not represent the party.

Whitfield said he would comment on the matter on March 10, which is also when the Onslow County Board of Education will have a regular meeting.

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