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Racist graffiti shock Meadow Pointe resident

WESLEY CHAPEL — Wanda Wright was getting ready for church Sunday morning when her 18-year-old son said he saw some racist graffiti that were really going to upset her.

"I said, 'Just don't tell me they said anything about the president,' " Wright, 48, recalled.

They did.

Early Sunday, vandals spray-painted racial slurs on the entrance sign of the Rensselaer village in the Meadow Pointe community. They also tagged a truck and several other properties in the area, according to the Pasco County Sheriff's Office.

The graffiti ranged from drawings of male anatomy to racial slurs and expletives against President Barack Obama. The Sheriff's Office is investigating.

For Wright, an African-American, the black and red spray-painted words were "a rude awakening."

"I have never really experienced racism firsthand," she said Monday. "This was as close as I have come to it."

Wright, a Realtor and mortgage broker, moved into Meadow Pointe from Clearwater about a year-and-a-half ago. Before that, she lived in Largo and Palm Harbor.

"There was a much smaller percentage of African-Americans," Wright said, comparing her old hometowns to Meadow Pointe.

"I have a 5-year-old daughter; I wanted her to be in a community where she felt very accepted."

And until this weekend, Wright thought she had found that community.

Now, she's wondering about the children with whom her son attends high school and whether she needs to watch her daughter more closely when she plays outside.

"It just makes me a little more apprehensive and a little more leery," Wright said.

Glenn Johnston, chairman of the area's community development district, said the vandals were most likely "just kids expressing their dissatisfaction with the community."

He did not think the graffiti were racial. If Republican nominee John McCain had won the election, Johnston said, the spray-painted words would have insulted him.

"They're just trying to stir up things," he said of the vandals.

By Monday afternoon, Johnston said most of the graffiti had been painted over or pressure-washed away.

Helen Anne Travis can be reached at htravis@sptimes.com or (813) 435-7312.

Racist graffiti shock Meadow Pointe resident 04/20/09 [Last modified: Monday, April 20, 2009 9:14pm]
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