SC Congresswoman Apologizes for Labeling Servicemen Racist

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By NTD Newsroom
December 24, 2019US News
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SC Congresswoman Apologizes for Labeling Servicemen Racist
South Carolina state Representative Mandy Powers Norrell from a file photo (Wikipedia/MandyPN44/[CC BY-SA 3.0 (ept.ms/2Bw5evC)])

A South Carolina Democratic Congresswoman apologized to Army and Navy personnel after it was established that their flashing the OK sign during a football game was not a racist hand-sign.

South Carolina Congresswoman Mandy Powers Norrell spoke out on Twitter on Dec. 14 after she saw several West Point cadets and Naval Academy midshipmen making the OK sign during the airing of a Navy-Army football game.

“Three separate candidates making the white power symbol on television,” Powers Norrell said on Twitter. “Wonder what the culture is like for the cadet in the front. There’s no excuse and he and other minorities there shouldn’t have to deal with such a cruel and disrespectful environment.”

After posting her comment on Twitter, Powers Norrell received criticism by many who labeled her accusations as “smearing” and “disrespectful.”

US West Point cadet school
A view of the United States Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., on May 2, 2019. (Seth Wenig/AP Photo)

The OK sign is formed by making the thumb and forefinger touch in a circle and the other fingers are outstretched. Liberal activist groups recently claimed it could be interpreted as a white power symbol.

An internal investigation by the U.S. Military Academy at West Point concluded in a statement issued on Dec. 20 that there was no racism involved. The servicemen instead were playing a child’s circle game or a “Sophomoric game,” CBS reported.

This led Powers Norrell to post an apology on Twitter on Monday night, with a copy of the letter sent to Lt. Gen. Darryl A. Williams of the U.S. Military Academy and Vice Adm. Sean Buck of the U.S. Naval Academy. She also said she wrote a personal letter to each of the conscripts that she had lashed out.

“I hope they can learn from this moment—as I have—that words, gestures and symbols matter, and that they may mean different things to different people,” Powers Norrell, daughter of a U.S. Navy sailor wrote. “Also, I want to take this opportunity to earnestly apologize to your institutions for some of the words I used in publicly describing the environment surrounding the incident as potentially ‘cruel and disrespectful’ to minority members of the service,” she wrote in the post.

Powers Norrell said she and her 17-year-old daughter were heavily harassed in the aftermath of the Twitter comment. She apologized “not because of threats and harassment from Twitter trolls, but because it’s the right thing to do.”

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